Virtual dating dos and don’ts – according to app experts

Here are tips from the top on how to have a successful love life during lockdown

We may be in the comfort of our own homes, but we can feel so out of our comfort zones when it comes to virtual dating.

In keeping with the current times, today dating app Hinge has launched its new ‘Date from Home’ feature, where users can share when they’re ready for a digital date.

What does this mean, exactly? Well, while exchanging messages with another person, the ‘Date from Home’ menu will appear at the bottom of the conversation. If both parties select that they are ready for a virtual date, Hinge will notify both users directly in the conversation.

The new feature is designed to help smooth out that sometimes awkward and vulnerable transition from messaging to meeting digitally for the first time, because outwardly proposing a digital meet and facing rejection is no fun for anyone.

After agreeing to ‘Date from Home’ with your Hinge date, use FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts to set it up. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 70 per cent of Hinge users have expressed that they’d be open to a virtual date. Well, with government orders to close all pubs, bars and restaurants, there isn’t a lot of choice on where to meet for the first time now.

That said, virtual dating is undeniably a great way to get to know each other and meet for the first time. And Justin McLeod, CEO and Founder at Hinge, tells Marie Claire, ‘Technology is helping us bridge the gap between the isolation we’re experiencing and the connection we’re craving.

‘Video and phone calls are currently a safe way to date someone you’re interested in, and I believe digital dates, as a precursor to meeting in person, will be a trend that stays with us beyond the current climate.’

Now, what you came for: the top virtual dating from tips from the experts…

Dos:

  1. Get ready for the date as you would in real life. It puts you in the right mindset, and if you look the part, you feel the part.
  2. Position your laptop or phone near lighting, where your date can clearly see your face and in a setting that allows you to relax.
  3. Have a meaningful conversation. If you’re not sure what to chat about, try asking each other Hinge prompts as icebreakers. Start the conversation with something genuine, as you normally would.
  4. Get creative with your activities. You can create a shared playlist ahead of the date and each add some songs to it for background music during your date.  There are also so many games you can play virtually, such as Heads Up or House Party. Ultimately you want to leave the date with a better understanding of each other’s personality.
  5. Schedule your next date. If the date was a success, be intentional by finding another date and time you both want to chat again.
  6. Help Hinge learn your type after your digital date. Fill out the ‘We Met’ in-app survey where we ask each person privately if a) they had a video or phone date with the person and b) if they’re the type of person they’d like to get to know better. Simples.

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t message back and forth forever. Asking someone on a virtual date for the first time can be scary, but you should get to know who they are beyond the keyboard. It’s the only way to determine your true compatibility.
  2. Don’t be the only one with your camera off. If you and your date agree to a video chat, ensure that your camera is on and working. You want to get to know each other on an even playing field.
  3. Don’t ghost your matches (as if you even need to be told this).
  4. If you aren’t feeling a connection after a date, politely let me know.  It’s an honest, thoughtful move that the person you’re talking to will appreciate.

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