Leave it to a pandemic to swing us into a new ‘normal.’ Every facet of our day-to-day lives has been touched by new ways of doing things over the last year and a half, and dating is no exception. As singles across the globe entered various stages of lockdowns and social distancing, many of them took to the Internet to continue their search for a romantic match. Of course, Internet dating is nothing new, but the pandemic brought a surge of video dating as a stop-gap when people couldn’t mingle in person.
After nearly two years of this surge, we’re not seeing it dissipate, indicating video dating could stick around as our new normal. If that sparks a little anxiety for you, you’re not alone.
Traditional dating is daunting enough, add to it a whole new system of dating, rules, etiquette, and inclusion of technology, and it’s a recipe for jitters. As with traditional dating, video dating is going to take some practice to get comfortable with it. Here are 8 tips to boost your confidence around video dating.
Be Mindful of Body Language
Without the in-person social cues, video dating requires a bit more intention. Be mindful of your body language – are you leaning back from the screen? Slumped over like you’re not interested? Even though we’re not in person, our body language can be very telling.
Whether we like it or not, dating is about making a good impression, and our backgrounds in our videos will leave an impression on our date. What’s behind you when you’re in front of your camera? Is it a messy bedroom? Stained walls? Drab decor? Plan out, and even create, a special space for your video date. You don’t have to go over the top, but be mindful about how your background is representing you as a person.
Check Your Tech
You don’t want to be caught off guard by a camera that doesn’t work, or a mic that screeches with feedback into your date’s ear. Take some time before your date to check your tech. Make sure your wifi signal is good, your camera works, and your mic volume is set at a reasonable level and that you won’t have feedback on the mic.
Try to find a quiet, distraction-free space for your video date. The bustling coffee shop down the street might be great in person, but on a video date could have too many distractions. Put away things that will distract you as well, and don’t be afraid to hire a babysitter (or even a dog sitter) so you can give your full attention to your date.
Boundaries and Privacy
It can be a little strange hosting a video call in your personal space, especially if you don’t know the person. Remember that boundaries and privacy are important for a successful video date. Protect your privacy by ensuring you’re comfortable sharing anything that is within your camera’s view. Think photographs, calendars, medication bottles, or anything else you might not want to share with a stranger. Also be mindful that your date is also inviting someone into their personal space and do your best to respect their privacy.
Courtesy and Manners
Though video dating is different than traditional dating, courtesy and manners are still required. Video meetings can feel informal, but you want to be sure you treat the date as the scheduled priority. Be on time, be respectful, and try not to talk over your date. If it’s a meal date, the same etiquette from traditional dates applies here. Aim for the same manners and courtesy as you would during a traditional date and you’ll come across as the charming, kind person you are.
Eye contact on video dates can be tricky. In the wild – that is, when humans are face-to-face, too much eye contact can seem threatening. But on video, lack of eye contact can seem like you’re not paying attention. If you’re not sure where your balance is, take cues from your date and mimic their level of eye contact.
Be sure to let your date know you’re actively engaged in the conversation with various listening cues. You can use short, one-word responses to show you’re listening, or you can even lean in a bit to show interest. The ways you show interest in person are likely to work on video as well, just be sure that your cues are visible/audible for your date.
If you have entered the world of video dating, you are among the brave pioneers of modern-day dating. With a few adjustments to ensure your best self is captured on video, you’ll be well on your way to finding that romantic connection.
Of course, if dating, in general, is a struggle for you, or you just can’t seem to dive into modern approaches to dating, a relationship coach may be able to help. Don’t be afraid to reach out – you don’t have to navigate the fear alone.