One thing we can all agree on right now is that a global pandemic is not a whole lot of fun. It’s really changed the way we live our day-to-day lives and might stay this way for a while yet.
Thanks to modern technology, that doesn’t mean your dating life has to come to a complete halt. Like so many other parts of our lives right now, you just need to adapt to these new conditions.
Virtual dating might not be something you ever saw yourself doing, but it can be fun if it’s done right. Like most things in dating, it’ll take some practice. So I’m about to give you seven easy tips to make the learning curve easier.
Remember, we’re all dealing with the same restrictions
A big part of the problem we’re all facing is the isolation itself. When we have such restricted contact with the outside world, it can feel like these problems are specific to us.
Every one of us is dealing with these same restrictions and frustrations. Believe it or not, that’s actually pushing even more people to the dating apps than pre-COVID. Tinder saw the busiest day of swiping ever in March 2020 and that’s just one of the countless dating apps and websites out there.
Don’t feel awkward about suggesting some kind of virtual date — it’s about your only option for the time being!
Try a few different dating apps to find out what fits for you
There really isn’t a safer way to meet people during a pandemic than using an online dating app or site. Fortunately, there are also hundreds of options to choose from that can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
The first thing you need to decide is if you’re looking for a long-term relationship or something more casual. There are a few sites out there that have done a good job ranking what works and what doesn’t. If you’re just looking for something without a big commitment, check out Beyond Age’s favorite hookup apps. If you want something longer term you best bet is to try out a few of the biggest sites like eHarmony or Match.
Check out a couple and see which you like the most and work for you. They are all pretty easy to set up and it doesn’t take much commitment to use them.
Be as selective with virtual dates as you would with regular ones
Having your date over video chat takes less effort than heading downtown to meet up. That might tempt you to be more blasé about your choices and set up dates with people you wouldn’t normally. If you want more info you can also check out our in-depth guide to online dating.
The trouble with that is you inevitably end up putting in less effort. Rather than being excited for each date, you’re just going through the motions which means you aren’t putting your best foot forward. Chat through the dating app for a while, escalate to text and if you’re feeling it, then set up a date.
Alcohol still helps take the edge off
For most of us, a regular first date will involve a drink or two. It’s a great social lubricant that makes that first encounter a little easier on the nerves.
There’s no reason you can’t still do the same thing over a virtual date. If you’re feeling fancy enough, you can even plan some cocktails for the two of you to make while you chat. Experiment and have some fun with it!
Of course, if you don’t drink, that’s also fine. Coffee or some creative snacks will offer an alcohol-free buffer for the two of you as well.
Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Snapchat all let you interact face-to-face
Even dating apps now have video chat built in directly. Personally, I’m not a fan of that option simply because I want to escalate beyond the apps long before we “meet.”
Figure out a video chat platform that works for the two of you and set up a time. There are so many visual cues that are critical to the dating world. Being able to see what each other looks like, their style and body language all make a huge difference.
I’d suggest sticking with something you can do from a laptop rather than your phone. Mostly because of the angles and lighting. More on that next.
That said, if you don’t have access to one, a smartphone or tablet will get the job done. If you’ve ever spent any time speed dating, it isn’t that different.
Put some effort into your setup
Your personal grooming and appearance are just as important on a virtual date as they are in person. How you set yourself up for a video chat is just an extension of that.
There’s no sense in prepping to look your best, only to angle your webcam to look straight up your nose in a dark room!
There are countless guides on how to look your best on webcam. It’s worth your time checking those out and getting your setup right. No need to go buy special lighting or a new mic but at least have the basics down!
Schedule your virtual dates so you both have something to look forward to
The anticipation is all part of the dating experience and that shouldn’t change when you take things online.
Set a time and date that works for the two of you so you have time to prepare yourselves. It gives you both time to come up with some fun ideas for the date so you get the most out of it. In case you get stuck, Ok Cupid has a list of virtual date ideas to help you out.
Doing it this way makes sure your dates go smoothly. Far better than an impromptu date and the potential awkwardness as you try to figure out what to do on the fly.
If things go well, finds things you can do together
As things progress, you’ll need to get more and more creative with your virtual date ideas. A great option at this point is to start working on something together. Find some fun recipes and have a bake-off, cook dinner together or watch a movie.
Personally, I enjoy the laid back option of starting a new series together on Netflix. You can watch together and chat using something like Discord or even just coordinate hitting play at the same time.
This shared activity is a low-effort, entertaining way to spend time together without taking any COVID risks. Some days there will be minimal talking, others you’ll barely watch the show as you naturally chat back and forth.
Alternatively, research suggests couples who exercise together are typically happier. Look for some workouts to do together or even make up your own!
Virtual dating isn’t quite as good as the real deal. But for now, it’s our best option. Don’t let this pandemic force your dating life to come to a complete halt too.
Have fun with the whole thing and enjoy the healthy distraction. Lockdown won’t last forever and you just never know who you’ll “meet” before this is over.