Andrea is a dating consultant who gives people advice on relationships and couple stuff. She's also a fan of traveling the world.
The Pandemic Changed Our Dating Habits
In a world struggling with COVID, it isn’t always easy to meet up for a date. People are more inclined to have dates online first. The pandemic changed the way people find love. In some ways, it can be safer to meet online, so there is a silver lining.
Gas prices are high, lockdowns happen, and sometimes it’s just more convenient to talk to someone you just met on Zoom rather than at a cute downtown bistro.
Become a Video Chat Pro
Most people are figuring out how to do Zoom chats on the fly. We weren’t taught in college or the likes how to properly do Internet dates.
It’s hard to make a stellar first impression online, plus making sure that first meeting turns into a second or third date.
Here are some important notes to consider when it comes to digital dates:
- Make sure the person is who they say they are. Get a feel for them online and see if you really would want to meet them in person.
- This is a safer way to meet someone. If things go bad, it’s easy to end the chat and never have to reconnect.
- You can get a feel for the person’s energy and how it makes you feel. You can get a real sense of whether you have common interests and/or life goals.
- Consider it a prelude to an in-person date. It’s almost like an interview.
Video Chat Dating Tips
Most people chat back and forth with someone they like through messages. This casual texting style might be a better approach for many. For one, It allows you to create a friendly connection, flirt a little here and there, and build up to something more serious like an hour-long video chat.
Here are my top suggestions for first dates on video chats and texting:
- When it comes to texting, match the amount of writing the other person sends. When it comes to video chats, match the volume the other person has. If they like to write long novels, then you should probably write back long novels. You want to get on the same wavelength as them.
- If the person you’re chatting with is concise then keep things concise. Don’t disrupt the mood.
- Stay positive. Don’t complain, whine, or get aggressive. People don’t like that, especially when they first meet you. Find ways to naturally put a positive spin on experiences.
- Never go on about how you’re a nice guy. The other person you’re talking to will be the judge of that.
- Try not to focus on your insecurities and awkwardness too much. You don’t need to remind them every 30 seconds that you have a giant zit.
- If you’re funny, use it to your advantage.
- Read the room. Mirror the person a little. If they don’t really talk about inappropriate things then you probably shouldn’t either.
- Look for positive words and positive body language (smiling, nodding their head, laughing).
The one big fat chunky word you need to guide you through dating is: charisma.
What is charisma? The Oxford dictionary defines it as “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.” Charisma is a style of leadership. It shows that you have values and can connect to people’s emotions. When dating, you want a high charisma score and a lot of that has to do with manners, observing others, listening, and having a rich vocabulary.
At the end of the day, charisma is king.
Zoom Call Basics
If you’ve hit a point where you and another person would like to have a Zoom date, then the best thing you can do is to prepare for it. Also, congrats!
You may want to ask a few questions before the date to make sure you and the other person are on the same page.
Here is a short checklist for what to do before, during, and after a Zoom date:
- Schedule a time that’s convenient for both of you. It’s smarter to have a video chat date at a time that would fall at a normal date time. Consider evenings and weekends.
- Wear something nice, but don’t go overboard. Unless otherwise stated, dress like you would for an in-person coffee date.
- Have the chat in an area of your home where you can focus. I don’t recommend taking the chat in a bathroom or bedroom, at least not facing the bed — that will come off creepy.
- Your background matters. Go somewhere clean. Bookshelves are a good idea or something that can help generate a conversation topic.
- Go through the normal rituals you would for a date. Take a shower, plan an outfit, eat a snack, be on time, and go to the bathroom before the date.
- Be focused. The other person wants your undivided attention. If you have kids, have someone babysit them like you would if it was an in-person date.
- Pets are okay in calls. They can help break the ice. It’s also good to know if someone is a dog or cat person, or if they’re allergic to or hate pets. But don’t make the call entirely about your pet.
- When you schedule the date make sure you have plenty of time for it. It’s hard to really know when a date will end or what makes it successful. Maybe you get lost in a three-hour conversation. Maybe things end in five minutes.
- Keep your manners. Say hello, how was your day, and make sure you have a polite goodbye. If things seem like they really went well and you can really tell — then suggest at the end when you might be able to chat again. Be careful though, some people might find that pushy. It’s likely better to text between video chats and use texting to schedule dates.
Elevate Your Zoom Date
There are things you can do to make the Zoom call a little more special and memorable in the right way. Instead of coming in without any topics or plans, try the following:
- If you’re cool with it, have dinner together over Zoom. A little bit of wine might relax the nerves. Get cute and bring in a candle and some other magical touches. Joke that you’re paying — or maybe do. Eat ice cream too. Maybe buy a portrait of the famous scene from Lady and the Tramp — the spaghetti scene, and have it in your background. Remember, you’re still trying to set the mood and make it memorable and fun. Little touches like this can help you stand out. Or make you seem weird!
- I can’t say this enough — look nice. People who do well in Zoom dates have something attractive about them, whether a goofy energy, really nice eyes, or out-of-this-world piano skills.
- If you come off stable and normal, this will be a major plus.
- Buy a Ring light. It will make you look better and more professional. It sucks, but better computers, better lighting, and a nicer look can help you stand out. When you feel better about the way you look, you tend to project a better version of yourself.
- Write down things you want to talk about. You can pull from your notebook of ideas and say that you came prepared with topics that might be fun. You can skip whatever your date doesn’t like. Good topics: Pets, favorite TV shows, books, bands, thoughts on ghosts, favorite seasons, favorite months — you’re basically looking for something to break the ice and for things you both have in common. Keep in mind dates should feel organic, so don’t force things or try to control the flow of the date.
- I don’t think it’s a great idea to launch into conversations about politics or religion on a first date. Though these things are important, they can make you look a bit intense, if it comes up naturally, cool. But you don’t want to come off that you’re a zealot or judgmental.
- Don’t ask too personal of questions!!! Maintain healthy boundaries. They probably don’t want to spill their guts about their deepest darkest secrets.
- Treat the person with respect even if you don’t care for the date. You need to have manners and charisma, don’t just blow them off. It’s okay to say up front you don’t think you’re a good match for each other, but you wouldn’t mind continuing to chat, be friends, or stay in touch.
- Keep your eyes on your computer. Don’t try to multitask during a date.
- Don’t ask a lot of personal finance questions. It can make you look pretentious or like a gold digger.
- Don’t try to intimidate your date. Keep things cool, calm, and collected.
Pro Tips for Video Chats
Keep in mind technology isn’t perfect. It’s a good idea to communicate a backup plan for when/if Zoom fails.
You should use a chat with password protection. There shouldn’t be random people popping into your chat.
Don’t fret about technology too much. Discuss the glitches and move on quickly.
Acing the Date
I know I’ve already given you a checklist about the date, but I want to go into how you can ace it. Continue reading to make sure you have an excellent date.
Before the Date
- Clean up the space where you plan to video chat.
- Have an outfit picked out and make sure it is clean.
- Put on deodorant. You don’t want sweaty pits.
- Check your nose for any stray hairs.
- Send a text or email that you look forward to the date.
- Discuss ahead of time what you would like to do in the video chat and try to make it informal and conversational and not too serious.
- Limit and reduce distractions.
- Make arrangements with a babysitter.
- Feed the pets so they’re less likely to make a demanding appearance.
- Go to the bathroom. Avoid trying to run away from your video chat to go to the bathroom.
- Check your video quality and lighting.
- I suggest a date in the kitchen with food. It’s closer to what a real date would be like.
- Buy some flowers. Put them in your shot.
- You could send flowers to your date but only if you were previously given their address and not in some stalker way. Avoid doing creepy stalker-like things. Don’t come off as obsessed and desperate. Those are bad qualities.
- Have wine ready. Have your favorite drink ready. Have a classy or noteworthy mug.
- Have a notebook with conversation starters. You can say, “I wrote down some conversation starters just in case I got nervous and didn’t know what to say.”
- Create the right space. Get rid of anything you wouldn’t ordinarily find on a regular date. Get rid of anything inappropriate.
- Take caffeine if you need energy and skip the wine. Do grape juice instead if you still want to have a fancy glass. Alcohol can loosen you up, but it can also make you sloppy.
During the Date
- Smile. Listen. Respond. Give back energy.
- Be polite. Don’t make negative remarks. Again, for the love of God, be charismatic.
- Compliment them. Make it genuine.
- Have some stories or anecdotes you would like to share. Don’t make the other person the only talker.
- Play a game together. You should probably set this up before the date and ask if they would like to do that beforehand.
- If you have dance skills, show them off briefly, but otherwise don’t. This is better with music.
- Play a song if you are good at an instrument, yes to piano and guitar. But don’t make the song a love song, and especially don’t make it a serenade. Keep it short too. You may have the instrument in your background to pitch to this. It’s best to have the instrument in the background and if they suggest you play a song, do it then.
- You could put on your table some items that are related to your hobbies, so you could talk about those things.
- Are you a really good cook? Then put extra work into your food so you can show it off.
- If you vibe on something, keep talking about it.
- If you need a break to go to the bathroom or something, say hey — I need a five-minute break.
- If you have to leave because of an emergency, make sure you apologize. Send them a text later updating them on the situation if need be. Try to reschedule if you felt it really cut things short.
- If they ask a question, answer it to the best of your ability.
- Don’t make fun of them.
- Use common sense.
- Don’t give out any personal info just yet. Some people do these video chats as a way to scam others. I know, it’s terrible. Don’t answer things like who was your first kiss. That’s a common security question.
After the Zoom Date
- Send a nice text or email to say you enjoyed the date and you hope they had a good time too. Wait for them to respond before you say anything else.
- Get back to your life.
- If you two start texting again and the like, then schedule another date. Get back to the drawing board and think about what you can do for the next video chat if you can’t meet in person.
First Date Questions and Conversation Starters
Don’t rapid-fire question your date. I’ve listed some questions to help you find momentum for your date. You probably shouldn’t ask all of them.
- Did you play an instrument in high school?
- If you could travel to any country in the world for a vacation where would it be?
- What’s your favorite holiday?
- Have you ever seen a ghost? (This one is John Mulaney approved.)
- What are things that make you laugh?
- Did you have a secret crush on a celebrity growing up?
- What was your favorite subject in high school/college?
- What is your favorite outside location: forest, ocean, mountain, or desert?
- Do you have a favorite sports team?
- If you could go back to school what is something you would learn?
- If you could learn another language what would it be?
- If you were a baby animal with a superpower what would you be?
- What are some of your favorite foods?
- Favorite drinks?
- If you were stuck on a desert island and only had three movies to watch for the rest of your life what would you pick?
- Do you know any songs or speeches by heart?
- What’s something that happened in your life that brought you joy?
- Do you like to dance?
- If you could have one superpower what would it be?
- If you could host a dinner with five famous people from the past who would you pick?
- If you were stuck on a train what would help you keep your sanity?
- Do you have any jokes?
- Do you have any good dad jokes?
- Would you rather live on the Moon or Mars?
- If you could create a podcast, what would it be about?
- Do you have a favorite board game?
- If you could own any animal and not get hurt, and it wouldn’t put a dent in your finances, what would it be? (The answer is a panda.)
- Favorite dessert?
- Would you rather take a multiple choice test or write an essay?
- What are 5 states you would like to visit?
- Do you have a favorite comedian?
- Would you rather go to something outside like the Grand Canyon or something fancy like a ballet or symphony?
- Do you like gifts more or compliments?
- Would you rather hang out with a werewolf or a vampire?
- Do you have favorite people you watch on YouTube?
- What is your favorite flower? Do you like flowers?
- What is the perfect meal?
- Favorite president?
- Do you have a favorite historical period?
- What’s one of the strangest things you’ve learned recently?
- What is something you would like to accomplish in your lifetime?
- Do you prefer coffee or beer?
- Have you ever taken a trip overseas?
- What is your perfect day?
- Chocolate or fruity candy?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Andrea Lawrence