I hear it all the time. Have fun, just be safe. I hear it from my mother, my sister and my friends. They say it because they are smart people. I would tell them not to worry, but it would be an act of futility. I know my mother means it on more than one level. She wants me to be smart and be aware of my surroundings. But, she also means, guard your heart. She's sure that, even though I am dating multiple people, I am bound to get hurt. Most everyone else just means carry a knife, pack some mace and keep your phone close. I do all of these things and more.
I meet men in person, through friends and on-line. If I meet someone in person, then I generally get a feel for them pretty quickly. When I agree to meet someone that I have originally met on the internet, I generally do midday dates. Lunch dates are good. Coffee is always golden. It's pretty safe, public and perfect for midday. (I do also approve the midday beer. Just don't get drunk, you need to be in full control when meeting someone new.) When I can, I bring a friend. Safety in numbers, and if I'm bored out of my mind, she can fake a bout of narcolepsy and we can jet.
If I do choose to go on an evening date, I don't agree to meet ol' dude by the bright blue lights under I-45 downtown. He might try to kill me. I meet him somewhere public and well lit. And I bring some pepper spray or mace. I put it on an outside pocket of my bag and feel it out a few times, make sure I can get to it if I need it.
I always do a video chat confirmation first. This is a pretty good way to make sure that the 6'2" Palestinian martial artist that just moved down from NY that I thought I was meeting doesn't turn out to be the 5'6" old white dude from New Caney with a pair of handcuffs and deepfreeze in the back of his van. (Whatever. It could happen and my hypothetical Palestinian guy is random, but he's really hot and I guarantee if you met him, you'd let him get it.)
Remember, always be safe. No good time is worth your life, safety or health. A normal guy will always agree to meet you out in a safe place. If he won't, he's probably got a basket and some lotion in his basement waiting on you.
Always remember, "It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again." - I know, it's creepy. Be smart and be safe ladies and gents.