After COVID hit and forced us all indoors, online dating platforms had to move quickly. And move quickly they did. Only a couple of months into the pandemic, the first platforms began to launch video dating features, and it wasn’t long before many more followed suit.
Today, dating sites like Zoosk and Hinge offer different iterations of video dating, all with a bunch of fun features to keep your date chatting away long into the night.
What started as a curiosity during the pandemic has now become a mainstream method of dating. But, just like any other kind of date, there’re dos and don’ts to watch out for.
How to Be Successful at Video Dating
Plan ahead of time
Many dating platforms have a little icon somewhere in the messaging section that allows you to start video dating with any of your matches. However, you probably don’t want to do this. Few things are more bewildering to the smartphone-wielding single than an unexpected phone call coming through, let alone a video call. Unsolicited, it can feel a little like having your personal space invaded.
Instead, when you match with somebody and the conversation moves to talk of a first date, ask if they want to have a video date ahead of meeting in person. Arranging a specific time for it will give your date time to preen and prepare and they’ll feel far more comfortable. Speaking of preening…
Look your best
While working from home, most of us have, at some point, sat in meetings with our laptop cameras switched off to avoid the team realizing we’re sprawled on the sofa in slippers and a dressing gown. 2020 was a weird time, so this is fair enough. What’s not fair enough, however, is showing up to your digital date looking like you’ve been dragged through a hedge.
Even if you’re only visible from the chest up, put in the same amount of effort as you would for an in-person date. Aside from the obvious plus point of appearing more outwardly attractive, you’ll also naturally exude more confidence and charisma if you’re feeling good about the way you look.
Do a video dating game or activity together
There are tons of fun things you can do while video dating. Old parlor games like charades and two truths and a lie never go out of style and can help lift the atmosphere and get the giggles going.
Alternatively, try a virtual city tour and take your date to some of the world’s most popular cities, right from the safety and comfort of your couch! With platforms like Zoosk Great Dates, you’ll be escorted by a local guide as you explore the ancient architecture of Athens, the exotic culture of Kyoto, or the stunning vineyards of Naples. This type of interactive experience is a great way to break the ice, spark conversation, and get to know each other!
Whatever game or activity you choose, try to pick something that’ll let you show off your personality and sense of fun. This will help you to feel more relaxed and push back those first date nerves!
Find a spot you won’t be disturbed
This of course depends on where you live. If you live alone, setting up your laptop and doing your video dating from the sofa is perfectly fine. If you live with family, friends, or flatmates, however, this solution isn’t ideal. It’s hard to be alluring and mysterious with a conveyor belt of flatmates stumbling into the frame and browsing the contents of the fridge.
Either find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed or reach some arrangement whereby your cohabitors are forbidden from entering the communal areas for the duration. Organize this beforehand so that you’re not worrying about it during your date.
Be aware of everything that may be on camera
This is a top video dating tip. It might sound rudimentary, but you only need to search for “Zoom disasters” on YouTube to view endless clips of people absent-mindedly leaving fluorescent sex toys on their bedside tables during job interviews.
Before you begin video dating, have a tidy up of anything that’s going to potentially be on camera, and cram any personal items far out of sight. In a drawer, that is.
Go steady on the drinking
Drinking at home feels different from drinking in a bar. In a bar, you have multiple people who can act as a reference point for your own state of inebriation. If the bartenders are shaking their heads at you with a look of mild disappointment, you know you’ve had one too many. At home, though, there’s no such reference point, and it’s easy to overdo it.
If you’re going to be consuming alcohol on your date, it’s important to remember that video dating follows the same rules as in-person dating. That is, don’t get wasted and make a fool of yourself. Slow it down, and drink water!
Mentally prepare a few conversation starters
Dating outdoors or in a bar differs from video dating in that you have a lot of external stimuli to observe and chat about. When you’re both sitting on camera though, that shared environment is absent and so you need to compensate.
Ahead of the date, think of a few questions you’d like to ask, should the conversation go quiet at any point. The best questions for first dates are open-ended. Think less “what’s your job title?” and more “what’s your idea of a perfect day?” These kinds of questions will help you to get to know one another.
Make sure your internet is stable
Because you won’t get very far if your date’s face consists of eight pixels and their voice sounds like Darth Vader yelling through a fan!
And that’s a wrap of the most important do’s and don’ts of video dating today. The pandemic has changed the way we date and as a convenient and stress-free way to get to know someone in the early days, video dating is here to stay. The most important thing to remember is just to have fun and enjoy it. If the chemistry is there, you’ll know and be ready to take the next step.