At some point, everyone looks for the perfect relationship, and that usually doesn't happen without dating. Putting your best foot forward and meeting new people who are also, presumably, on their best behavior can be fun. To keep it emotionally safe, you need to set some boundaries.
Communicate your expectations. Communication is an excellent tool for setting boundaries. By making your expectations clear up front, you can avoid conflict later. On your first date, discuss what you're looking for in a relationship.
Prepare before a date. Before leaving the house, remind yourself of your limits. When you're clear about your boundaries, it will be harder for someone to challenge them. If you aren't sure what you want, figure it out before you go out.
Control your body language. Once you set your boundaries with a date, don't let your body language send mixed messages. Relationships develop best through honest communication. Think about what you're doing and be sure it matches what you're saying.
Say no. When dating, your boundaries will be challenged regularly. It's human nature to test our limits. Remember, saying no is always an option. If your date doesn't respect your boundaries, walk away. That's not the relationship for you.
Remember that the boundaries you set are your own. Periodically reevaluate your boundaries based on the current situation. If you feel it's time to move a relationship forward, set new boundaries that you can be comfortable with. Make sure to communicate your new boundaries to your date.