BPT — Whatever your dating life was like before the pandemic, it’s most likely changed due to the circumstances at hand. Thankfully, many online-dating platforms are rising to the occasion, providing secure and safe ways for people to connect. In turn, singles everywhere are getting creative, figuring out how to learn more about each other before meeting in person.
For example, Bumble, the women-first dating and networking app, offers its community the opportunity to video chat or voice call potential dates. Even as pandemic lockdowns first began nationwide, video calls on the platform increased nearly 70% from mid-March to early May.
Here are some tips for mastering the art of virtual dating and navigating in-person dating first steps.
1. Switch up your means of communication
Doing one video call after another is exhausting. Break up how you regularly interact with potential dates. Suggest a voice call one day, video chat another day, or stick to texting during the week. You can also spare your thumbs the trouble and leave an audio message, which is available on various messaging services and platforms.
2. Don’t treat virtual dates like job interviews
While it’s common to ask questions about your date’s life, there are ways you can interact without making it seem like a job interview. If there’s ever been a time to get creative with date ideas, it’s now.
Hop on a video chat, throw on your chef’s hat, cook the same meal from home, and compare the results for some friendly competition. Feeling lazy? Order takeout from the same restaurant.
You can also offer a virtual tour of your place and ask to see theirs – or for less pressure, have them show you their view out the window, or ask them to introduce you to their dog or cat.
3. Set time limits
If you have several hours on your hands, trying to fill the void with conversation can be daunting – and awkward. Instead, set expectations and boundaries by saying, “I only have a half-hour to chat today” (with no excuse required). Once the time is up, you can politely excuse yourself.
Not only does this give you an escape hatch if things aren’t going well, but it also gives you a break – and a chance to mull things over before you divulge every secret you’ve had since sixth grade if things are going great!
4. Have “the COVID talk”