With that said, there are tricks of the trade for virtual dates and ways to avoid any mishaps, awkward silences, and boring conversations. Here are some of the most effective ways to break the ice on your virtual first date.
1. Do prep work before
Like most things you do in life, preparation is key, and the same goes for virtual dating during the pandemic. Laying the groundwork for the time you’re going to spend with them is good for a couple of reasons.
A first step you should take is looking into your date’s social media profiles. If you’re able to find their Facebook, Instagram, etc., these are great initial insights into their lifestyle, hobbies, interests, and potential topics of conversation. Going this route needs to be done carefully though, so that you don’t make any awkward first impressions online that people might perceive as creepy or odd.
Next, take a look at your own online presence and make sure it’s the personal image you want them to see as well. This should be an accurate reflection of yourself and should be free of any personal information too to keep you safe.
Finally, it’s essential you treat it as if you were going on a real date. Yes, this means showering, dressing to impress, and freshening your breath. As the adage and research go, “look good, feel good” and this holds true even while remote. Take your time, plan ahead, and look your best.
2. Build up the excitement
Excitement is good and if virtual dating is new to you, it can be like stepping into a new part of your love life and taking a risk. And whether you met on a dating site, mobile app, or even quickly out in public, it’s a common (and smart) idea to set the tone for the date by doing something beforehand to show your enthusiasm (without going overboard).
It’s no secret, planning a memorable first date can be nerve-racking. Despite the initial butterflies, it is also something to look forward to all week. It leads to a bubbling of emotions, excitement and may even be an overall stress-reliever from daily life. Chances are your new love interest feels the same way. If you feel like this, try doing something effortless yet impactful to show your partner you’re looking forward to the upcoming date. Everyone has had a busy week once in a while and sometimes it can be difficult to make time to do everything on your list. Maybe you can’t make it to the store, are caught up with work, or whatever the case may be, life can get tough.
People are getting creative and more tech-savvy despite the lack of in-person connection. Many daters are turning to on-demand delivery apps and other online technology to simplify their day-to-day lives and their blooming relationships.
Want to really show your date just how excited you are for your virtual night with them? Start by proving how keen your listening skills are by sending them a bottle of their favorite wine they’ve been raving about lately. Or maybe they have a sweet tooth and love snacking instead? After all, chocolate and candy are the way to anyone’s heart! Using an app delivery service, like goPuff, allows you to get alcohol or snacks delivered to their home ahead of the big date.
3. Be aware of surroundings
Similar to FaceTiming your parents or calling into a corporate Zoom call for work, being aware of your surroundings for your virtual date is huge. Start with deciding on which tablet you want to video call on, either your phone or computer, and decide where you want to sit. Places like your dining room table and kitchen island are great and casual that can set a good vibe rather than slouching on your couch or setting up in your bedroom.
Once you decide on your device it’s time to create the ultimate setup. Make sure your camera is eye-level and the angle is flattering. You don’t want to show too much or too little so make sure you’re even-keeled with the camera so it doesn’t look disjointed. Next, work on your lighting. Avoid windows of bright light behind you that can disturb the color balance and make your face looks like it’s washing away. The same goes for indoor light too. Lamps, overhead lights, and even LEDs are all great to spice up your background, but make sure it’s not too light or too dark.
4. Lay off coronavirus talk
Undoubtedly, the conversation is going to be the most important element of a virtual date. Since there is no physical context of actually being together and experiencing each other’s presence, the success will more than likely rely on the conversation. With that said, this should be the building blocks of learning about each other and forming the foundation of a relationship. Try jumping right into topics that matter and avoid the elephant in the room: coronavirus.
It’s easy to fall down this hole of conversation, especially during the early few minutes of the date, but it should be your objective to steer the talk away from that and focus on what matters: learning more about the person on the other side. For many people, coronavirus talk can be draining mentally and emotionally to speak about, so it’s best to avoid at all costs.
5. Move into conversation starters/games
Now that you’ve got the minimal coronavirus and small talk out of the way, it’s time to focus on the main bulk of the date and that’s the actual conversation and things you can do on a date. This is where your research, curiosity, and personality come into play! Ask about hobbies, interests, out of the box scenarios, things about their life, and more. Remember, this is NOT the place to ask about previous relationships, hard-hitting love life questions, and anything in between. If you’re running low on creativity, check out this fantastic list of icebreaker questions that can get the conversation moving a little more fluidly.
Chatting can certainly be overwhelming, but if you’re really looking to up the ante, try planning an activity for you and your date to try in order to spice things up a little bit. Playing games, having a wine tasting over Zoom, or bonding over your favorite Netflix show can certainly take the edge off. If you have an idea of their personality before the actual date, it can make choosing something to do together a little easier. Here are some ideas to get you thinking!
6. Decompress afterward
Just like you went on a date IRL, you should still consider rewarding yourself after completing your virtual date at home. It takes quite a bit of courage to open yourself up to a stranger online (especially during the midst of a pandemic), so you should seriously take some time after to recuperate and focus on yourself.
What would you do after going on a “normal” date? Come home and watch a movie? Call your family or friends to chat about how it went? Do a self-care face mask? Whatever is your cup of tea for relaxation shouldn’t halt just because your date took place over a videocam. This will also give you some time to reflect on the date itself. You may even start to plan your next encounter. Taking this time is crucial to the dating process, don’t forget about yourself!
As you start prepping for your virtual date, be sure to keep all of these elements in mind. Whether it’s your first ever one or you’ve mastered the art of a Zoom date, it’s important to remember that each date will be unique in how to prepare and execute. Every person is different, every experience will vary, and there’s no one size fits all formula. In the end, it all comes down to preparation, authenticity, and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Check these three boxes and you’ll be sure to have a very successful first virtual date.