If you thought that social distancing measures had dampened our desire to date, then you'd be wrong.
Forty-four percent of singles on dating app Badoo have revealed that online dating is more important to them right now. The majority say this is because finding a partner has never felt more important and, in a bid to find a match, 61% revealed that their dating behaviour has changed during lockdown, with half of these users suggesting they are now less concerned with looks, prioritising personality over physical attraction.
Though this shift away from beauty ideals is positive, there's no denying that working our whether you have chemistry with someone over Zoom is harder.
Plus, when it comes to virtual dating versus dating in real life, all sorts of questions come to mind. Is it possible to make a connection with someone you’re not physically with? Will it be strange having a screen between you?
Badoo's dating expert and love coach, Persia Lawson, explains why digital dates can initially be so nerve-wracking:
'Without being surrounded by other people or stimulus, virtual dating can feel more intimate as all the focus is on the two people, which can in fact cultivate a deeper connection. In effect, virtual dating heightens the senses, and allows you to really listen to what one another is saying. However, in the same way, it can also feel more exposing and vulnerable.'
'Instant chemistry may be somewhat limited, as you’re not able to take physical cues of connection and intimacy when you’re unable to touch one another. But on the plus side, that connection builds over a period of time. We know from Badoo’s user data that matches are engaging in longer conversations, so with this added gift of time, you have more of a chance to see whether you’re actually compatible before taking the relationship further'.
With that in mind, we asked Lawson to give us her top tips on how to make sure our virtual dating life is successful.
8 ways to make virtual dating a success
Set the boundaries of the date before getting on - is this a 30-minute coffee or a two-hour dinner with drinks? Approach your first date as a short, sweet and sober experience, so you can get an accurate idea of whether there’s real chemistry.
Make the effort to show up to the date as you would on an IRL date, this might be a slightly more relaxed version as you’re at home, but always bring your honest, most upfront version of yourself.
Be present and engaged. Put your phone away and listen to what the other person is saying, ensuring to ask interesting questions. There’s no harm in keeping a list of questions handy in case there’s a lull in the conversation.
To cultivate a deeper connection, you could take it in turns to finish the sentence “this is what you need to know about me to really know me…”, sharing something funny and trivial, or much deeper, depending on the atmosphere.
Notice whether conversation is flowing organically and whether it feels easy to be open and honest with this person. Honest connections are key so it’s important to not force it.
Ideally, use a laptop, use full screen, turn off all notifications and make sure you have good Wi-Fi connection!
Think about the camera angle, lighting and backdrop - as with dating IRL, setting and ambience can have a significant impact on how relaxed you feel. Why not try some light music in the background too?
If you’re into them, flirt! Give compliments, enjoy the banter and remember that laughter is a great way to make connections.
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