As the reality of staying home is setting in, the main question on many singles’ minds is: “how can I still date?” There’s been a lot of news stories about how to have a virtual date.
This is especially nerve-wracking if you’ve just started dating someone. Unable to see each other face-to-face, you’re probably worried that the connection will fizzle out. Not to worry! There is a silver living in the coronavirus cloud.
Whether you’re in a new or existing relationship, there are ways to stay emotionally connected while at a distance. One of the best options is virtual dating.
For those of you new to the virtual dating scene and want to know how to have a virtual date, it’s actually quite easy.
1. Set a Time – As with any date, schedule a time that works for both of you.
2. Choose a Platform – Most apps have a video chat feature, but if you matched on an app that doesn’t provide one, find a platform you both can use.
If you’re worried about safety and don’t want to give out your number of email, there are free video chat apps you can download. And it isn’t technically challenging. My 90 year old mother uses the Facetime app to communicate with our family!
3. Keep Your Charger Nearby – This one seems obvious, but it’s important. Make sure your phone is fully charged, and keep your charger on hand just in case you need to use it later. Nothing kills the mood like a dying phone. Set yourself up for success!
To Make the Most of Your Virtual Date – Some Guidelines:
- Dress to impress
You’re stuck at home. Chances are you’re rockin’ the sweatshirt and sweatpants look every day. But this is still a date, and you need to dress the part.
So guys no workout shirts.
Makeup tip for the ladies: Less is more. Studies show men prefer the natural look.
“All of the participants assumed men would like the models with more makeup on than the women would, but that turned out to be untrue,” Time reports. “Men and women both preferred the images of the models wearing 40% less makeup than they initially put on.”
- Pick a location where you won’t be disturbed
When it comes to how to have a virtual date, this is one of the most important things to keep in mind.
Choose a quiet place in your house and limit your distractions. Also, be mindful of your background. Having a sink of dirty dishes behind you or a messy room with clutter everywhere isn’t a great look.
This may seem obvious, but make sure the room lighting is flattering. In other words, no fluorescents. Bright lights can be a bit jarring. But going to the other extreme (really dark) is just as bad. Hey, who’s there? Internal dialogue: What is this person trying to hide?
The bottom line: find a healthy middle ground.
- Put your best face forward (literally)
When it comes to looking good on camera, there are a few things to take into consideration. Photographers have a ton of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to capturing flattering angles and knowing how to bring out the beauty in their subjects.
Cathryn Hartt, founder of Hartt & Soul Acting Studio, explains the importance of paying attention to your chin. When your chin is too high it makes you appear snobby and when it’s too low you look creepy, she explains. Slightly down is the winner. In fact, in film it’s the pose most often used by the leading man and woman.
“Everyone looks great with the chin slightly down and your head turned about three-quarters to the side. This angle is great for anything from flirty, innocent, and shy, to mean and mischievous. It’s good for almost anything. It is also a great way to end most spokesperson commercial auditions,” Hartt says.
Body language is such a major part of communication, so why not give yourself the upper hand?
- Don’t feel obligated to talk for hours
This depends on how well you know the person on the other end. And how well the virtual date is going. If this is someone you’ve never met, there’s no need to chat for a long period of time. However, if you’ve talked before, use your best judgement. Just don’t feel pressured or guilty when you want to wrap it up.
For your first virtual date, keep it casual. Depending on the time of day, you can do a virtual coffee date or happy hour. You will each have a drink.
Bonus Tip: If you want to take some of the pressure off, let the other person know you have plans after. This is so you can avoid awkwardly leaving the conversation and if isn’t going well, you have an exit strategy.
5. Virtual Date Ideas
Now, let’s imagine your first date has gone well and you want to do something besides just talk . These virtual date ideas will help you stay close even while at a distance:
- Digital game night
This is a great option whether you’ve never met the person or newly dating. Having an activity takes the pressure off. Since you will have the game to keep you occupied, you won’t feel forced to drag out a conversation if there isn’t a connection.
- Go to a museum or watch an opera on livestream
When it comes to how to have a virtual date, the most important thing to remember is to keep it fun and creative. Imagine the entertaining stories you’ll have down the line about meeting your boyfriend or girlfriend during quarantine.
- Make a meal together
Cooking together is a favorite dating pastime for many of us. Set up a video chat (ideally with a laptop so you have a bigger screen). Decide on what meal you want to make ahead of time, buy the ingredients and pick a time when you can both cook and eat it together.
If you’re new to cooking, choose something that won’t be too overwhelming. Take a look at these 60 easy date night dinners.
Also, keep in mind this date is more time-consuming compared to some of the other ones on this list. If you’re still getting to know each other, save this for date 5 or 6.
- Watch a movie
Thanks to on-demand streaming, you can have a movie night in the comfort of your own home. Try Netflix Party so you can open a chat window while the movie is playing.
Unsure what to choose? Science says horror is the best choice on a date because it makes you more attractive to the opposite sex. Bring on some Stephen King!
- Give a Tour of Your Home
Once you know the other person and feel you comfortable to showing your place – have fun. With these apps you can give a home tour. Or show off one of your prized or funny possessions. Do they like pets? Introduce them to yours! Of course, don’t spend the entire time holding or talking about your pet.
- Bonus Idea
Imagine together you’ve won the lottery. Surf online together to decide your dream vacation. Talk about what charities you would donate and why.
While social distancing and Stay at Home Orders- certainly doesn’t make things easy, it doesn’t mean your love life is doomed. You can still meet and get to know people through technology.
Of course, being apart is challenging, but where there’s a will there’s a way. When you can’t physically see the other person, it forces you to connect on a different level.
It’s also a great lesson in communication. Research shows that while couples in a “normal” relationship tend to have more daily interactions. This is compared to couples in a long-distance relationship. The conversations between the long-distance couples are more meaningful.
“Indeed, our culture, emphasizes being together physically and frequent face-to-face contact for close relationships, but long-distance relationships clearly stand against all these values,” lead researcher Crystal Jiang explains. “The long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts do pay back.”
To succeed, the relationship needs to be more than physical. If you don’t have a strong emotional connection, things will fall apart quickly. In other words, when you virtual date there are no shortcuts. No making up by hooking up. If you argue, you’re forced to talk it out.
If you’re just starting to virtual date, you won’t have the added stress of, “what are his intentions?” If he’s talking to you, he wants to get to know you. There’s no ulterior motive of getting in your pants (at least not for the foreseeable future).
When dating circumstances aren’t ideal, it just means we have to be a bit more creative. Thanks to technology, if you want to have a virtual date, we have a wide variety of options.
Virtual dating can be a fun way to get to know someone – if you choose to see it that way. Stuck at home. Try something new.