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We’re in an unprecedented time, aren’t we? Right now, I am quarantined with a newborn, a toddler, and my wife, and we are all learning some new skills, improving our communication styles, and discovering Tiger-themed TV shows (Joe Exotic vs. Daniel Tiger).
In these strange times, how people date is also completely changing. For millions of people, digital dating has replaced IRL dating. Thus, the video/virtual date seems to be one of the only options for singles to get to know each other.
Here are some ways to add interest and fun into your budding Zoom romances!
Constantly staring at a small screen can get old quick. You may want to try and add as much ambiance as possible in your online interaction, a medium that sometimes may not lend itself to that.
It’s a matter of visualizing how IRL dates would be if we weren’t dealing with a pandemic. Say, for example, if you were to go out to a restaurant or lounge, each would naturally have some sort of theme: Greek, barbecue, etc. Do the same thing with your date virtually.
So if you choose a Mediterranean theme, for instance, both of you can order or make a dish from that area of the world. Then, when you’re each sitting in front of your computer screens sharing a virtual meal, you can talk about the places you’ve been and the things you want to see in that particular part of the world.
Having a theme brings just enough spice into a virtual encounter that can make each date different.
You can literally come up with any number of ways to make your next online date exciting. Maybe you two can have an early Halloween celebration and dress in costumes. Or have an ’80s night. Or take a virtual tour of a museum. The possibilities are endless!
I’m a maximalist. I love collecting things and picking up souvenirs. Each thing reminds me of a specific time and place. You could learn all about me from observing all of the art and books that are in my house. They tell the story of who I am.
Next time you are having a virtual date, each of you agree to bring something to the call that is valuable to you. Tell your date the story of how it came into your possession. You get to relive some of your best memories and learn what is valuable to the other person.
As I mentioned in the first section of this article, you can also incorporate themes as part of your dating preparations. Bring something to the date that you still have from high school. Show off your trophies/awards/diploma. Do you have a photo album to share? Think about what items in your house mean the most to you.
What this also does is give you two a point of focus for the conversation. Since the answers to the standard questions “How was your day?” have become so predictable, you need to bring something else to the conversation to keep it fresh and interesting.
And, if you tell your date about something you’re proud of, you are more likely to become excited and energetic — the best of you! Likewise, it allows you to see the best in your date.
Your living space and immediate area also present a lot of visual topics to discuss. You can start by showing your online date around your space.
I hope I don’t have to say this, but clean up as if he or she were coming over for real. While we all understand that we’re spending all day at home, we don’t want people to see our dirty laundry flung about and crusty dishes in the sink — just like we wouldn’t want to see the other person’s messy space either.
Use mementos decorating your personal space to share memories from the different trips you have made or your favorite places and activities you still have on your bucket list. These stories are gateways into your life, and then you can let the conversation go where it will.
Depending on where you live, your outdoor space may be big or small. But, even if it’s only one block or you share what you can see by standing in your driveway, there are some interesting things to see and point out outside.
Listen, we’re so lacking in stimuli that we are taking the time to notice and appreciate the smaller things in life. Talk about the weather. Talk about the plants and trees nearby. Talk about the stores, restaurants, and other sites in your area and the experiences you had when you visited them in the past.
Be creative. This is the time that we can delve a little more into the minutiae of our everyday lives.
When I was in my 20s in Hoboken, New Jersey, every other bar had a pool table. That and darts were practically Olympic sports for me. I used to love to shoot pool with my dates. I enjoyed the competitiveness and the camaraderie, and it invited teasing and complimenting.
What I’m getting at is that you can find ways to try to recreate some of these activities, even if to a much smaller degree. There are tons of pool apps and other games to play with each other. Next time you talk, play a game at the same time. Or search for a bowling app or basically any game that has ever existed.
One of the pluses of participating in an activity like this is that it allows you to talk about the activity at hand, so you don’t necessarily have to flail for conversation the whole time. You’ll learn lots about that person, and it gives all sorts of opportunities for jokes and laughter.
You also don’t need to only do bar games. There’s an infinite world of computer/console/mobile games out there, and we’ll all probably have lots of free time in the future. Why not start a mission together on one of the many games out there? Working and collaborating together to overcome problems helps build a psychological bond and develops trust between two people. And, let’s be honest, we could all use a little more fun in our lives right now.
As I said before, we’re in unprecedented times, doing unprecedented things. To be able to write this article, I had to give my toddler way more screen time than I would have previously. We’re all sorta making things up as we go along. The same goes for virtual dating.
I’d love to learn what you are all doing out there, how you’re staying connected, and what tips and tricks you may have to teach me about our new reality. Feel free to contact me!
Until then, be safe, be sane, stay home, and keep trying to meet people because we all need each other now more than ever.