Guide to Virtual Dating During Quarantine
8 tips to create excitement and deepen meaningful connections virtually.
Social distancing in our tech-driven world has us developing new forms of courtship at an unprecedented level.
Now more than ever, individuals are turning to online dating platforms and digital communications to cultivate relationships.
According to Statista.com, there were 30.4 million Americans using Internet dating services in 2019, and it is expected to increase to 35.4 million by 2024.
If you’re one of those millions of people looking for love on the Internet, this means the odds are in your favor! And if you are not already then now is a great time to start.
I’ve collected some tips that will help you create intimacy and connection while maintaining social distancing rules.
The idea of virtual dating during a pandemic may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. We have the tools and technology to succeed!
Turns out our faster digital connections are actually leading to slower, more intimate relationships.
Research shows that digital communication enhances intimacy and the frequency of self-disclosure.
According to a 2013 study, video chat applications such as Skype, Hangouts, and Facetime help people bond more easily. Over time, people achieve the same level of connectedness as in-person communication.
I can relate this to my own personal experience with dating during lockdown. The limitations and restrictions inspired my partner and I to get creative, and we both feel it has led us to this unique and strong bond we share.
Tip #1: Set expectations
To get started, I encourage you to ask yourself a few questions before Internet dating:
- “What are my motives for virtual dating?”
- “Am I looking for a serious relationship or something more casual?”
- “Am I seeking a traditional lifestyle or an alternative and less conventional one?”
Asking yourself these simple questions in the beginning will make everything from creating your profile to actually communicating to your match easier.
Tip #2: Choose the right platforms
There are a plethora of online dating platform(s) available, so where to begin? First and foremost, take time to explore what’s out there and consider which options match your wants and expectations.
You might be surprised at the variety of online dating platforms and social websites available. From FetLife to PleazeMe to Quarantine Together and the ones you most likely heard of: Tinder, OkCupid, etc. Personally, I recommend signing up with several dating platforms to increase your chances in connecting with those who are highly compatible to you.
Tip #3: Don’t be overwhelmed, start small if needed
If you think virtual dating is too time consuming or you simply don’t have the time, energy, or patience to apply yourself on dating platforms, remember: These feelings are completely valid and you certainly don’t want to overwhelm yourself.
If you feel apprehensive about the process, start small. Create one account and go from there. You might just find what you’re looking for without having to try too many apps or websites.
Just keep in mind that there are several routes to take and that’s a positive thing. The more options, the better! As long as you stay open and receptive to them.
Tip #4 — Be honest
Transparency is key throughout all dating experiences, especially when it’s over the Internet.
According to a 2020 study, authentic living manifests as individuals’ present nonverbal cues (e.g., photographs of themselves) that match their language.
What this means is that you want your profile photos and overall messaging to be congruent with one another. If you’re posting photos of yourself partying in clubs, but you’re writing that you want a homebody, it isn’t going to make sense.
People can sense dishonesty even in subtle ways, but will appreciate direct honesty. If you want to build trust with others and not waste your time, get really clear with yourself first.
Be true to yourself when creating your dating profile and while having those initial exchanges. Those first few messages can be very telling on whether or not you and another person will be compatible. How can you tell?
- Are they specific when mentioning your profile?
- Do they recognize something unique in your bio or photos?
- Are they engaging with you in an authentic way or are they asking mundane questions and sending copied and pasted lines?
Notice your own unconscious tendencies in dialogue. Do you find an urge to exaggerate, or perhaps tell people what you think they’d like to hear? Are you putting up walls or helping keep the conversation going? This level of authentic integrity gives you a better chance at finding the right partner(s).
Tip #5 — Profile photos
Depending on the site, the best profile picture should show your face and also they should know who you are. No group shots for the first picture. You also want versatility in your photos.
Show yourself and what you like to do. A picture of you doing what you love shows a lot about you. A picture with a friend or two, shows that you're social. A full body shot shows that you're confident in your skin.
Tip #6 — Stay active
Try to stay active and engaged on each account you create to be successful. Invest yourself into each profile to actually cultivate authentic interactions with others.
You will want to make time for virtual dating. There is a lot of competition so if you match or get a message, don’t hesitate. You don’t want to be too quick either, responding back right away can come off as over anxious or even desperate.
However you don’t want to have your potential partner waiting days and allow another suitor to take over.
I would also say don’t be scared to update your profile if you aren’t getting a lot of action. Some of the platforms allow for smart photo sorting, where they will test to ensure the best order of your photos so use it.
If the platform does not have this feature you should stay vigilant and be willing to alter your profile picture if it is not working after a few days.
Tip #7 — If you’re vibing, don’t wait… virtual date!
Virtually dating is fascinating because the physical component is removed from the equation, to a certain extent. Once you’ve reached a level of connectedness with another person or others, suggest setting up a virtual date! Take time in looking your best so you feel confident and comfortable in the initial video call. Treat it like a real face to face, in-person date.
Getting to know each other without the physical component is actually a great thing. You are able to get a feel for their sense of humor, see if you like their general energy, their looks, mannerisms, and how they express themselves.
Virtual dating is a great recipe to a meaningful connection and relationship. Invest more into the deep questions and long conversations. This gives us a moment to reflect on how we really want to approach dating.
True intimacy and deep, meaningful connections can evolve in virtual dating because we are forced to put a hold on the physical and connect on an intellectual emotional level. So set up a video call.
Tip #8 — Ready for the next level? Engage in remote intimacy
Remote intimacy doesn’t have to mean just cyber sex. At this stage you should start finding ways to bond that isn’t just a conversation.
You can cook the same meals together, watch movies at the same time with your favorite video chat still on, or even use DoorDash to surprise them with a dessert. Another example of this is, my partner and I before we met would always play games online together.
From battleship to virtual pictionary, you can get creative with raising the stakes and making your partner do something of your choosing when they lose. Or even create an IOU for when you are in person to further build anticipation.
Be smart, safe, and have fun. Don’t forget — your experience is unique
Don’t let other people’s opinions or experiences shape your outlook on virtual dating. The problem with holding preconceived notions is that it will prevent you from forming strong bonds and connections with others. Virtual dating works best with an open mind.
The lesson to take away from this pandemic is to slow down and remember we are all interconnected. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation.
We’re really fortunate to live in an era of vast means of communication like FaceTime and Zoom, so let’s maximize this opportunity. Let’s use this experience as a springboard for personal growth and an opportunity to really think about how we want to live our lives.
Armed with these easy tips you will be well on your way to establishing a deep connection with your next partner(s). Good luck Virtual Daters. 👋
Image sources: Markus Winkler