With social distancing measures in place, dating during the coronavirus era may seem like an impossible task. Whether you’re trying to find your soul mate or just seeking a way to stay in touch, know that this is not entirely the case. To put things a different way, perhaps we should start referring to the restrictions as “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing.” If there’s anything we need right now, it’s to stay in social contact, even though we’re locked inside our own homes.
Surprisingly, the “new normal” has inspired many people to upgrade their relationships to a virtual state. In fact, dating apps have seen a major surge in users, including people who swore to never go anywhere near them. Of course, you have the choice to patiently wait things out until you can have a proper dinner date, but since we don’t know how long these lockdowns will last, it wouldn’t hurt to adapt to the circumstances and give virtual dating a shot.
The Benefits of Virtual Dating
Because of Tinder and similar apps, we’ve gotten used to super fast speed dating. We get seconds to make or form an impression and we tend to jump into bed (literally or figuratively) far too soon. The benefit of the current situation and virtual dating is that it forces us to take things slow.
For many, building an emotional connection is far more important than building a physical one. Since we can’t meet in person right now, we have more time to get to know one another, which makes for more meaningful relationships in the long run. This is even true if you’ve already been dating someone; it’s like taking a step back and hitting the reset button, in a good way.
Another benefit is that you’ll likely be more comfortable dating at a distance. For one, you won’t feel pressured to participate in any activity you don’t want to. You also won’t have to worry about who’s picking up the check, and you don’t have to call your friend to rescue you from a date-gone-wrong.
Virtual Dating 101
If you’re ready to take things to the next level, here are a few tips that can help you be a master of the virtual date.
Polish up Your Profile
If you’re new to online dating, take your time to build a proper image—without lying about who you are as a person or what you look like, of course. And if you’re actively dating, now is the time to use social media to serve as your version of an autobiography. That means sharing more photos, more jokes, and, most importantly, positive thoughts.
When communicating with someone new, texts can only go so far and they don’t really provide much insight into what kind of a person you are. Although phone calls are better, even they won’t do you justice. It is always better to schedule a “date” via video if possible.
Choose a platform both of you are comfortable with. And if you haven’t used one before, spend a few minutes learning how to use it before you dial into your first virtual date.
While there are plenty of jokes about video conference calls, you should take a video “date” seriously. That means dressing up—and fully. You don’t want an awkward moment where you accidentally get up and they see you not wearing pants. Showing your best self will also boost your confidence, which we all might be lacking right now. So if it makes you feel better to wear heels, by all means, wear heels!
Don’t Break the Rules
If you’re living in a location where strict social distancing measures are in place (AKA, you can’t meet anyone at all), it’s highly recommended that you follow the rules. There’s a reason why they are implemented and it’s better not to risk it. Anyone who tries to pressure you to do otherwise is probably a questionable character.
Not to mention, even if you do meet up, things might be a bit awkward. People are now subconsciously judging each other on their hygiene and social distancing practices. And how would you feel if when you came up to a person, they jump six feet away? That’s not going to make for a great first impression at all.
…but Approach with Caution, if You Must
However, if you’ve been dating this person long beforehand, and there are no legal limitations to prevent you from seeing each other, simply exercise caution. That means being ultra-exclusive. By that, we don’t mean monogamous vs. polyamorous relationships—we mean that both of you have been practicing strict social distancing as well. You wouldn’t want to put your or your partner’s life in danger.
The same applies if you’ve met someone new and there are no restrictions that stop you from seeing each other in person. But know that this can be difficult. Since you can’t meet at a restaurant or bar and going to one another’s houses is a bit risky, why not go for a walk in the park?
Or better yet, wait until the lockdowns are lifted. That way, you’ll both have something to look forward to. And in the meantime, use the time wisely to build up the foundation of your relationship. Knowing that you can survive this means you will be better able to conquer other challenges you may face in the future together.