Virtual Dating Guide: 7 Tips to Avoid an Awkward First Date on Zoom or FaceTime

If free dating apps, ghosting, and double-text angst weren’t enough to deal with, 2020 obliterated the possibility of in-person first dates. Now, you get to take all your Zoom anxiety into the realm of relationships. It’s an actual nightmare. But you don’t have to put your love life on hold just because we’re living in the year of “wtf.” It just means developing a new skill set. To ensure you make a good impression, we have a couple of first date tips to follow.

There are a lot of positive things about virtual dating. One, you don’t have to worry about that awkward moment in a bar looking for someone that resembles their profile picture. For another, you’re on your home turf. You can order whatever food you want, drink whatever you want, and not worry about the other person judging you. It couldn’t matter less if your breath smells–you’re all alone. But not for long! We’re giving you seven tips for crushing your next virtual first date.

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  • Hold Onto Your Humanity

This first date tip sounds dramatic, but it’s a sincere plea to single people out there. Technology, texting, and keeping things virtual can minimize the humanity of the people we encounter, and our own. Remember, you’re a person who is interacting with other people. Let them know if you are or aren’t interested. Yes, ghosting is easier, but this year, in particular, should inspire us all to be the best version of ourselves even in the little moments.

Virtual Date Tips
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  • Make an Effort

This is tough, but worth it. If you made it through lockdown still wearing pants with buttons, shoes, or bras, then you have an unbelievable constitution. For the rest of us, work clothes, date clothes, perfume/cologne, maybe even pants themselves are a distant memory. Break out your old style for your virtual dates. It’ll make it feel like a special occasion, and you still want to put your best foot forward, even if it’s just virtually.

Virtual Date Tips
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  • Get Your Tech Settled

Getting something stuck in your teeth during a date is embarrassing, but you know what’s worse? If your Zoom freezes while you’re laughing and your date is staring at your awkward frozen face. You don’t want your neighbor’s stolen wifi to be the reason you missed out on true love. Connecting virtually is that much harder if your conversation breaks up every few minutes. A tip to avoid an embarrassing situation is to conduct your first date in an area with Wi-Fi. It’s easy and affordable to sign up for an Internet package with a local provider. If you can’t afford to Wi-Fi, you should consider hosting your first date at a coffee shop, library, or bar.

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Virtual Date Tips
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  • Plan an Actual Date

Please, please don’t just send someone a Zoom link without a plan. You’ll end up sitting in so many awkward silences, and neither of you deserves that. Bumble put together a cringe-worthy list of virtual date activities, but honestly, most of dating is pretty corny. We say, skip the Tik-Tok dance-off, but cooking together, ordering from the same restaurant, or meeting each other’s pets sound fun. Whatever you do, take it from our friends at Cupid’s Light, and be earnest, honest, smile sincerely, and put in a little effort.

Virtual Date Tips
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  • Practice Makes Perfect

Unless you Zoom your soul mate on the first try, this is a new skill, and it’s going to take some time to be authentic in a new way. If you’re working remotely, you may default into your professional self as soon as you see the green light illuminate. Your wit may not come across as well virtually as in person. A piece of advice that we give to individuals with minimal virtual dating skills is to be yourself. Don’t beat yourself up after first dates that are duds; just learn from the experience and persevere.

Virtual Date Tips
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  • Do a Little Staging

Zoom anxiety is a real thing. We all tend to stare at the little box showing our own stupid faces, but it’s a bad habit. No one goes on second dates with people who can’t make eye contact, so as hard as it is, focus on the other person. But also, do yourself a favor with your virtual date setup. Invest in flattering lighting, distance yourself from the camera, and set it at eye level. Your laptop camera isn’t the highest quality, so if you’re virtual for everything, it might be worth investing in an actual webcam.

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Virtual Date Tips
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  • Be Safe

Not to bum everyone out, but not every person you meet and date (virtually or otherwise) is the delightful geode of beauty and sincerity that you are. Some people are nefarious. And as a beautiful geode, you have to harden your exterior to them. Some things to look out for:

  • – People who screenshot your virtual date and whatever might take place on that date.
  • – Scammers that ask for personal information, like your full name, phone number, or address. All of which they can use to steal your identity.
  • – If someone sends you phishing links. Good links: crazy Reddit stories, YouTube videos of unexpected animal friends, cute webcomics. Bad links: payment info requests, changing banking info, weird urls.

An easy tip that can be used to prevent an awkward first date is checking peoples social media presence. While it’s understandable to be off Facebook, someone with no online presence is suspicious.

Remember, you’re under no obligation to continue a virtual date if you’re not comfortable.

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