Feel like your love life is buffering while in lockdown?
Admittedly, things have been harder for us on the dating scene since the coronavirus pandemic forced us all into lockdown. Just like the rest of you, we’ve had to turn to online and virtual dating in our quest for a satisfying love life. Whether we’re trying to find a new partner, keep things exciting with an existing partner, or just as an excuse to put on makeup and a bra again – it’s all going to have to be online.
As virtual dating is relatively new and uncharted territory, it can be hard to adapt to this new way of connecting and building relationships. So, to help you out in this new, unfamiliar world of online dating during COVID, we’ve gathered the biggest and brightest dating experts on the scene to provide all the Dating Smartzrs out there with some practical and creative online dating tips and virtual dating ideas. Make sure you also check out the infographic at the end of the post!
Dr. Wendy Walsh
Three things to do to increase your chances of finding a real-world connection in a virtual world:
Make your profile as honest as possible. Don’t use filters on your photos and be honest about what kind of commitment level you’re looking for. Remember, the goal isn’t to find 100 people who like your marketing brochure. It is to find one person who’s interested in the real you.
Reduce your own vulnerability to “Paradox of Choice.” Paradox of choice is a proven psychological principle that says that the more choice a person has, the less likely they are to make a choice, and if they do make a choice, the less likely they are to value that choice. Dating apps hack your brain by using paradox of choice to keep you glued to the app instead of getting off the app quickly with a solid relationship. To fight this impulse, I recommend focussing on one potential partner at a time, rather than filling your box with a bunch of text-mates.
Move to voice and FaceTime quickly. The faster you move off the app, the better you will be able to truly assess the suitability of your mate. Listen to their voice, pay attention to body language and vocal tone, get them to give you a video tour of their home. Hey, you may simply make a new friend or business contact. Respect whoever you meet.
Evan Marc Katz
In Finding the One Online I outline a system for connecting and screening prospects online called 2/2/2 – 2 emails back and forth on the dating site, 2 emails back and forth on Gmail and 2 phone calls to ensure a connection before meeting in person.
Don’t worry about the numbers. It could be 5-3-1.
The point is to differentiate yourself online and see what kind of effort the other person makes once you leave the dating site. Move to a date in less than a week. Not too fast, not too slow.
Bonus: this entire process is designed to avoid texting – the single worst way to get to know someone if you want to make a real connection.
Dating in quarantine is the new frontier. It’s rendered any previous script of course of action we might follow pretty obsolete. What’s exciting about that is it opens up a space for creativity in how people are connecting right now. Embrace it! No one else knows how to date in a pandemic either. There’s no wrong way to go about it as long as everyone feels safe and respected.
Have fun, have a sense of humor, find new ways to connect. Go to online events and message people on zoom. One of my clients posted a satirical Facebook ad looking for a quarantine wife, and another is finding a connection with someone they met on Twitter. Everyone is home and wanting to connect.
This is a great time to treat dating as a training ground. Going on a virtual date is a lot lower stakes than getting ready and getting in the car. You can set up a handful of 30-minute conversations and it’s a great opportunity to get more comfortable dating and being more proactive, flirting, honing your dating skills while doing it in a low-stakes way with a shared common ground.
Build comfort and confidence in dating.
Keep in mind that dating is not dead. People will always want to connect. We’re just experiencing a shift in how we’re honoring that need. Find encouragement in the fact that a lot of people with the distractions of everyday life dissolving are realizing how much they want a relationship and a real connection. This time has really put into perspective for people that they can approach a connection in a more open and honest way off the bat. It’s a really exciting time to date. Get out there, get creative, really enjoy the art of conversation and emotional connection. Recognize that many people are in the same boat!
It’s important to treat your virtual date like you were preparing for an in-person date.
If you were going on a real date, you would take the time to “dress to impress,” arrive on time and make an effort to make a great 1st impression.
Although you might be sheltering in place, you must treat your virtual date like a real one.
It might feel a bit awkward to be dating someone in front of a computer screen, and you’ll get used to it.
Be sure you’re fully dressed and not dating with your pyjama bottoms down or just your underwear.
DON’T put up a profile with unflattering pictures. So I invite you to dig deep and ask yourself: Are you getting a “click” with your dating photo? Although there are so many other components that are important when it comes to attraction, people are not going to GET to know you if you are not putting yourself out there in a way that grabs someone’s attention. Remember you are only as good as your worst picture. You may look attractive in five pictures, but if the sixth picture is unattractive or you look vastly different from the rest, then you may lose your visitor at the last second. Avoid putting up pictures of you in unflattering and drab clothes, group shots of friends or poor quality with bad lighting.
DO make sure you have great pictures. Do your research and see which pictures are getting the most hits and explore what you need to do in the other photos to increase your visibility. Your dating image should be sexy, approachable and eye-catching. Also, look at how many you are putting in your profile and the quality of each photo. If you need better ones and are stuck at home, pick a photo day for yourself. Pick out 3-5 looks of your best dating outfits, fix your hair and put makeup on if you are a woman. Take some selfies or have a family member take full-length shots of you. Remember you are not changing who you are, you are marketing yourself so that someone GETS to know who you are.
These days, no one has a perfect hair day, and the modern day courtship is progressing with a new set of guidelines, and one of them is advancing to a virtual date if you have chemistry in your chat exchanges.
I recommend swapping digits and moving from chat to a 15-20 phone call to avoid the marathon phone dates. If the phone date feels good, suggest a video date on Zoom, FaceTime, or an in-app feature, so you can see their reaction as the conversation develops.
Preparation for your video date is essential, which is why I created the “Dress Rehearsal” so I can critique your lighting, outfit, and approve positive and upbeat questions to help create a bond. If you’d normally prepare for a job interview for your dream position, you should do the same when you’re looking for love. It’s time to get out of your sweats, and wear the same outfit you’d wear for an in-person date at your favorite restaurant.
If you’re going on a follow-up virtual date, it’s time to get creative and think out of the box to find something fun to do. I have one client who went on a virtual tour of swimming with the sharks, because that’s what his date said she’d be interested in doing in real life.
If you are virtual video dating then setting the mood is important.
It’s not a friendly chat or a business call – so you need to make an effort!
Zoom is a great video dating tool and you can change the background to something interesting.
Upload a stock photo of a bar, coffee shop or a restaurant and it will instantly make your date so much more fun.
Play some music to suit the scene and make sure you both have a matching drink.
Part of the magic is pretending you are together in a real venue so don’t be afraid to do something completely different each time.
Create an environment to showcase your best self. Even though you may be missing the opportunity to meet in person, there is something very intimate and special about virtual dating because it gives your date a view into your home life and environment. Your date can learn a lot about you and your personality through evaluating your living space. While you should be authentic and real in terms of how you show up for your virtual date, it’s also essential to be mindful of your space. Be aware of aspects of your home, including cleanliness, amount of clutter, and anything that could be a turn off. Remember you are making a first impression even though you aren’t in person.
Prioritize building an emotional connection. If you are used to meeting potential matches out and about or through in-person dating experiences, you may have previously focused on looks, physical attraction, and chemistry. Yes, these things are still important, but virtual dating is a different process that can lead to an amazing emotional connection prior to a physical one. You can achieve this by being open, genuine, and honest while sharing at an appropriate pace and keeping up with consistent communication. You can build an emotional bond and increase trust by dating with integrity and using attentive listening skills.
Give preference to video.
A smile and inflection of voice is important, so take full advantage of web cam technology compared to texting or a phone call.
The good thing about virtual dating is they have no idea if you’ve spent the whole day in the same clothes, but that shouldn’t stop you from looking presentable.
Dating is still a competition and making an effective and well prepared first impression will win you points.
Make sure you are comfortable with a camera (caress the lenses) look into the lenses with soft eyes ( bug eyes are a NO NO). Practice. Make sure you are looking directly at the camera and position yourself where someone sees you looking at them. Your head should be at the top of the lenses.
Check you lighting. That will enhance your features. If you have a small lamp place that light in front of you and behind the lenses. Test the camera and move light around. You want the light to bounce off your face. Lighting is everything.
Make sure your surrounding looks neat.
Wear bright colors. Dress as if you were going on your first meet and greet. (tux and gown not necessary).
Take advantage of this time. This is great time to meet people. You are in the comfort of your home or wherever you set up your virtual date. When you are in a relaxed situation you can shine. Plus, you are not spending any money. You can share what you made for dinner, talk about a movie or show you both watch. You can both watch the same show at the same time from the comfort of your home and then pause and talk about the show. Get creative until you both can safely meet.
Virtual dating also weeds out the scammers, and cheaters online. If someone is not comfortable moving from online to a video date that is a red flag. You can build up an emotional relationship with someone at this time without meeting them in person.
Sarah Louise Ryan
Chat consistently rather than continuously. I’m often asked when dating virtually, especially in lockdown, how can the conversation be kept fluid, free-flowing and full of spark in between dates.
I would suggest that chatting consistently rather than continuously ensures you are able to have more deep and meaningful connections with your romantic potential. The air of mystery and unknown in the early days with someone new is what drives us to know more about them, so strike a balance.
Get creative with your dates – think about having a virtual happy hour together, a video picnic or maybe even cooking at the same time if you feel comfortable.
Make it fun, engaging and see it as an opportunity to get to know someone better with the distractions of the ‘theatre’ that a restaurant or bar provides.
Listen to Your Gut.
Listen to your intuition – if you get either a really good or a really bad feeling about someone you are talking to online act accordingly.
Either delete them or arrange a video call. Our intuition is very powerful, it’s there to guide and protect us.
Listening to it can lead us to a great love.