First Dates Online? Yes, and here’s how.

online date

I LOVE in-person introductions. AND if you’re sincerely seeking relationship, I say do NOT put your dating life on hold while you’re shut in at home.  Instead, build that Black Book, folks. There’s never been a better time to connect with people, as in many ways, we’re more accessible now than we typically are, with lots more open space on our calendars. Take advantage by creating magical first dates, by Zoom, I say.

Schedule your date. Yes, a Zoom date is a date. Schedule it, just as you would an in-person date. I like Zoom for an online date, as we can still keep a level of anonymity with Zoom. Typically, with the first dates I orchestrate for my matchmaking clients, I don’t share last names or email addresses, and I like that Zoom matches my comfort level regarding info-sharing. Choose a start time and an end time. I suggest blocking an hour, which gives you time to really dig in with each other.

What is a date? A date is defined as: “a social or romantic appointment or engagement.” In my mind, a date is when two people meet up (one way or another) for the purpose of exploring possibilities together, especially romantic possibilities.

Meeting over Zoom – YES, it’s a date, as long as each of you treats it as such.

Yes, dress for the date. Yes, shower, brush those teeth, groom that beard, blow out the locks, play with your make-up, dress nicely – doing so REALLY shows that you care, even more than it typically does. This is your ONE chance to make a favorable first impression.

Your environment. That laptop or iPad / iPhone of yours? Position yourself with a bit of thought. Soft, pleasing light on your beautiful face, and a backdrop that serves to shed a positive light on who you are.

Converse. Challenge yourself to have meaningful conversations with those you’re connecting with. Suggestions: Avoid talking about the Coronavirus. If you address it, do it in a 15 – 30 second byte, as you should anything that’s negative or a downer. Challenge yourself to engage in an under-the-surface, meaningful level, which is a good idea for early dates in general.

Guide the conversation back to something uplifting or inspirational. If your date is falling into a dark tunnel (lengthy stories about the past, about current woes or concern over the future) be the savior – Acknowledge the woe / the challenge – Listen and really GET it — and then, when you sense that your date feels “heard” spin the conversation into brighter territory. Be the hero and save the date.

Cheat Sheet. Choose a few of these questions / topics, and print or write them up so you can grab one anytime there’s a lull in conversation.

Guilty Pleasures: While cooped up, what’s getting you through? What are you indulging in that you normally wouldn’t allow yourself?

Your day today: What’s your daily routine look like at the moment?

Who do you miss? Who are you concerned about? Don’t dwell on this, practice brevity, but asking this question shows that you care about what /who this person cares about.

How have your priorities changed? What are you noticing as being more important to you today than before all of this happened?

Goals, dreams, aspirations? Once we’re able to leave our homes again, what are you excited to do?

What have you been eating these days? What’s in your fridge? What’s your new favorite go-to dish for dinner at your place? What do you miss? What’s your new innovative culinary creation?

Who’s been cracking you up? What are you doing for yuks and giggles? Share with me your three go-to TV shows or all-time favorite movies or Netflix recommendations.

How to end the date: It’s good to schedule a time slot for the date, which can be 30 minutes, 45 or 60 minutes. Make that clear in advance, so your date knows that you’re carving out this time to explore together. And wrap things up at the scheduled time. Leave your date wanting more…

If it’s a personal introduction that I’ve planned for the two of you, there’s less pressure, as I’ll always get post-date feedback from you both, which will help each of you determine if there’s enough “glue” to merit another date, via video, phone or in person.

Thank your date for showing up, for sharing time and energy with you. If it feels right to you, go ahead and ask if she / he would like to connect again. When in doubt, if you’re intrigued, offer up a comment along the lines of “I’m glad we had this chance to connect in this fun, creative way. Shall we do this again?” And then schedule the second video date.

Follow up. Text or email to say Thank You, especially if you’d like to connect again in the future. And set that date. Same advice as always. When in doubt, have that second date, have that third date, which is very often where I see the magic starting to take hold.

It’s your love life. Be bold, be generous, be courageous, and make love happen wherever you are, in all kinds of creative, contributive ways.  And report back – I love hearing about how connections are being made in today’s world, which is even wilder than it usually is!

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