Living alone and single during a pandemic stirs up feelings toward that status. Social distancing and sheltering in place have been a struggle for many, especially for singles living alone. We have all had to turn to video connections, including for dating. Video is one of the many pivots for the so-called “online dating” world that has finally lived up to its name. The League, Bubble, Badoo, and others now have some form of video chat.
After more than a decade matching, coaching, and supporting singles, I’m convinced that real online dating, i.e., virtual video dating is here to stay.
Even though we live in an era of endless swipes and unending online messages, which has gone up exponentially since the COVID-19, there is still a paradox of choice. “The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less is a 2004 book by American psychologist Barry Schwartz. In the book, Schwartz argues that eliminating consumer choices can significantly reduce anxiety for shoppers.” It is part of the reason singles do better when they work with a professional matchmaker because we limit their choices to meet only qualified candidates.
That said, even the pros have had to turn to video introduction of their clients. At first, we thought this was a deficit, but after much observation and discussion amongst our community, we are all beginning to believe that virtual is here to stay, especially for the first few dates.
Here are some of the reasons from the superficial to the profound benefits that will ensure video dates never go away:
- Weed out the fakes: 10% or more of the online profiles are fakes trying to scam you of your money, sex, or worse. So, if a person is unwilling to meet you on video, that will be a new filtering process for who you do not want to date.
- First Dates: The most obvious benefit of virtual dating is you get to see what a person looks like since we know that 80% of the profiles online have outdated photos.
- Time is money: Our time on earth is precious, why waste it driving or commuting to meet someone if you can stay home and have more time to spruce up to get ready for your video call.
- Save on gas: Even though gas is cheap these days, it’s great to save money, particularly for anyone who suffered a job loss.
- Weed out the duds: Just because you are on a video date does not mean you can’t make them fun? Some guys are getting highly creative and sending bottles of wine with accompanying recipes to cook together. There are many fresh ideas for virtual dates.
- The world is your oyster. Many companies have recognized the benefit of remote workers. If you are lucky enough to work from home, you can open your radius to meet someone anywhere in the world. Long-distance relationships can be challenging, but what if you can meet your soulmate?
- Expanded communications. We have lost so much with emails and text messaging. Being able to see and hear someone’s genuine emotions and body language can go a long way. We love texting for logistics but not for expressing feelings–though thank goodness for emojis.
- Get to know someone deeply: Video dates can be an excellent way to build romantic relationships. Spending time with someone without physical proximity can give space for getting to know someone on a deeper level, particularly if you ask the right questions.
- Safety is first. Often you can tell just by speaking with someone that makes your skin crawl, that you do not want to meet your prospect. But there are times that creeps can get through your screening process though you are likely to recognize a creep when you see him on video.
The key to great video dates is to make an effort to look your best, ensure you have a clean and visually pleasing background, use proper lighting, preferably the light in front of you, and ask the right questions.