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Our style of communication and social interaction was thrown for one gigantic loop over the past year, to say the least. We’re all more cautious to go out, so we’ve been losing some of our social muscles. Like all muscles, social muscles need to be used to stay sharp, and if you’re only talking to your cat, you’re not getting the workout you normally do.
What I hear most from my dating coaching clients is that it is harder than ever to get to an actual in-person date. There are a lot of understandable reasons for this at the moment. When they finally do arrange an in-person date, my clients feel like they’ve lost some of the ease they used to have dating in person.
In order to foster chemistry, singles have to try even harder than before right off the bat. Here are my expert tips for getting communication and flirting going early and sustaining it.
Almost every single person is on a dating app these days, whether it’s because of lockdown or just general online behavior. There are a lot of bored people out there flooding the apps. So how do you stand out from the millions of others out there?
It can be a daunting task. You don’t want to appear overeager, yet you don’t want an opportunity to pass you by.
While there are so many ways to show interest on dating apps (i.e. likes and virtual roses), eventually you’ll need to use your words. On each side of the messaging spectrum, we have “sup” or “hi” vs. “Wow! You are so beautiful, and I am really glad we connected because we seem to have a lot in common. You and I should meet up and check out that new park on the west side of town…”
Somewhere in between is the ideal length for your first message. If you’re on Tinder or Bumble, it’s going to be on the shorter side. If you’re on Match or OkCupid, a few sentences will work.
You want to establish a quick bond over some shared interest. Remember, we all want to be loved for our personality, so shy away from comments about a potential match’s physical appearance. Obviously, you think they’re hot. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have messaged them. But you don’t need to keep talking about it.
Read their profile and check out any of their social accounts if they connected them. This is work-related, but I was looking to connect with this woman on LinkedIn. I had read through her entire work history, and I found that she worked on Noetic Sciences, which is something I am interested in as well. So I contacted her about a work project and immediately had something I was excited to talk to her about. This can work the same way in online dating.
Let’s say you’ve caught the interest of a woman on a dating site or dating app, and you’ve moved the conversation from messaging on the platform to texting. Huzzah!
First, let me caution you, as an avid texter myself, to be wary of texting too much. This is especially true in these times. It can be easy and comforting to lay on the couch and have a furious texting session for an hour or two. The problem with texting is that it’s difficult, even with all the fun emojis, to convey tone and emotion.
Don’t use texting to get into deep conversations. Save those for when you can hear each other on the phone or see each other in person. Instead, use texting as a way of eliciting emotion. For example, text something like “Hey! I saw a dog today while on my way to work and remembered that pic of you and your dog. I can’t wait to meet her.”
Send observations, quips, funny pics, etc. What you don’t want to do is to force her to answer by asking a question (or lots of questions). “How was your day?” makes her either have to respond to the question or ignore it, either of which could harbor resentment. Instead, say something like “Hope your day was great!” You get the same sentiment across, but you’re not asking or requiring an answer.
Don’t let me scare you, though. Texting has lots of benefits and can be so much fun. For example, you could tell your text pal a story using only emojis. Personally, I love one-liner jokes. I’ll just send the first line of a joke to someone completely out of the blue like “What did the fish say when it ran into a concrete wall?” Then I will disappear. Because you know she can’t not find out, she’ll send something like “… sigh… OK what did the fish say when it ran into a concrete wall?” I’ll text back “Dam.” And she’ll be like “Goddamn you :).”
I know pre-COVID people weren’t talking on the phone as much as they used to, which is fine. Technologies change. But now that we’ve been stuck at home for months and can’t go out to bars and restaurants, talking on the phone is starting to look pretty good. People seem to be hungrier than ever for conversations and human connection.
It’s important to move your romantic conversations from texting to talking on the phone as quickly as possible. You want to keep the escalation, if you will, and keep adding to the chemistry. Once you can talk on the phone and hear each other, you’ve set the stage for even more emotion to find you.
If you’ve made it to the phone stage, you need to consider this a date. Don’t call when you are tired or hungover. Don’t be slumped on the couch grunting monosyllabically. Again, you’ve escalated to be able to hear each other’s voices, so make it count.
People can hear a smile in your voice or whether you’re sitting, standing, or distracted by watching TV or playing video games. Give the conversation the attention it deserves. Splash some water on your face, have a cup of coffee or a beer, find a well-lit place without too many distractions, and have a nice chat.
I think we all have some memories of deep-into-the-night metaphysical conversations with our first love. These conversations allowed our emotions to come out. We allowed ourselves to be vulnerable, and we were able to admit we didn’t know things.
I’m definitely not saying you should be jumping into deep conversations right out of the gate. What I am saying is that you want to ask questions that allow those types of emotions to come back. Ask about old friends or fun things your date used to do. It makes them happy thinking of those memories and, in turn, makes them happy to think of you.
A year ago, giving you advice about how to communicate with a date on Zoom would have made no sense. Yet here we are.
I had been coaching clients virtually for a while, as many of them are out of state or international, so I had a bit of an advantage. But, for most people, learning how to show their best selves over a video conferencing app is a whole new skill to develop. A lot of people look at it as a disadvantage or “make the most out of it” situation, but you can create advantages that were never possible before.
If you’re on video, this is a date. Even my most wealthy clients are meeting dates first over Zoom. Take a shower, do your hair, dress up, brush your teeth, and put on cologne. Not only does this get you into the dating mindset, but it also definitely shows your date that you care. Women pick up on all those little things.
Also don’t have your video date where you work. As the great poet James T. Buffet said, “Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes.” When you get out of your work space, you get out of your work headspace as well. Find a good background, buy a good lamp, and invest in a decent webcam. All these little additions will make the video date feel special and help create chemistry.
You can actually do more on Zoom than you’d be able to on a regular date. What you have, my friend, is a one-man blackbox theater. There are obvious things you can do, like change your background, but that’s just the beginning. You can have music. You can show off a secret talent. You can have jokes at the ready. You can send her links to cool websites or stories.
If you don’t want to go all out like that, just place some things around you that have meaning to you. For example, a book, a record, or a photo. When your date asks you about the objects, you can tell them the story. That’s how you two will truly get to know each other.
It’s still possible to find love in these times of social distancing. It may just take a little bit longer than usual. That means it’s up to you to up your game to find your person. This year isn’t exactly what we hoped it would be, but you’ve got to make the most of the time you’ve got.
Keep trying to increase the chemistry, improve on the tech you’re using, and ask more emotionally driven questions so when it’s finally safe to go out, your date will be so excited that she will want to rip your mask off!