Reading time 20 minutes

Dating is complicated even under ordinary circumstances. With millions of people around the world sheltering in place or social distancing due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it’s even harder to find intimate connections. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to have a virtual meetup with a potential partner thanks to platforms like FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, and Google Duo. If you’ve found a special person but can’t have dinner with them face to face, ask them out on a video chat date! If you plan some fun activities beforehand and take a little time to adjust your mindset and expectations, you can have a great first date even while you’re both stuck at home.


[Edit]Building Confidence before Your Date

  1. Chat with them over text before your video date. Before you “meet” your potential date, take a little time to get to know them. Exchange emails, texts, or instant messages to help you get a sense of whether you’re a good match. This will help your first face-to-face conversation feel less awkward.[1]

    Tip: Choose a video chat platform that works for both of you. Decide ahead of time with your date which chat app you’ll use so that you can both install it if necessary. Keep in mind that Facetime will only work on Apple devices, so you might want to choose an option like Skype or Google Duo if your date doesn’t have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. You can also easily do a video call over Facebook Messenger.

    • Talking to your date over text first can also help you get ideas for a good first video chat. For example, if they tell you that they love Star Trek, you could suggest a Picard watch party!
  2. Remind yourself that you’ll be in the comfort of your own home. If you’re feeling the first date jitters or are afraid that a video date will be awkward, try to put yourself at ease by remembering that there are actually a lot of advantages to video dating! For example, keep in mind that:[2]
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    • You don’t have to worry about who’s paying for dinner.
    • There’s no need to be concerned about how you’ll get home afterward.
    • There are fewer safety concerns (although it’s still a good idea to be careful of what you share online).
    • If things get super awkward or uncomfortable, you can always just hit “End Call”!
  3. Plan what you’d like to do together before you call. If you go into your date with a game plan, it will likely feel less awkward. Chat with your date about their expectations and suggest a couple of ideas. And of course, set a time you can both agree on so you don’t catch them by surprise when you call![3]
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    • In addition to being courteous to your date and helping you feel less nervous, making a specific plan can give you something positive to look forward to when you’re stuck at home and feeling stressed or bored.
    • Make sure to get your date’s input about what you’ll do during your virtual meeting, whether it’s sharing a drink, watching a movie, or eating a meal.
    • You can also set a time limit to help prevent things from dragging on and getting awkward. For instance, you could agree to hang out online from 5 pm to 6 pm. You can always cut it short or even agree to hang out longer if you’re both into it.
  4. Dress up like you would for an in-person date. You don’t have to dress to the nines, but making a little bit of an effort can boost your confidence and put you in the right mindset. Put on a nice top, style your hair, and put on a little makeup if you’d normally wear it. You could even spritz on your favorite perfume or cologne if it helps you get into the first date zone![4]
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    • Resist the urge to skip the pants. You never know when you might have to stand up to get something, and it’s probably best not to traumatize your date with your favorite pair of stay-at-home undies right off the bat.
  5. Set up flattering lighting and camera angles. One advantage of video dating is that you get to show yourself in your best light, literally! Turn on your webcam or the front-facing camera on your phone or tablet and fiddle around to find the most flattering angle. Pick a well-lit place to set up, or dim your lights if you want to create a more romantic atmosphere.[5]
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    • For example, avoid positioning your camera so that it’s pointing up at you from below. Otherwise, your date will get an eyeful of your nostrils. Position your camera at eye level and look at the camera while you speak so that you appear to be making eye contact with your date.[6]
    • If you want, you can test your camera by making a quick video call to a friend and asking them how you look before your date.
  6. Clean up any part of your living space that will be in the camera frame. Video dating will allow your partner to get a little glimpse into your home, so create a good first impression by tidying it up. Pick up any clutter that’s lying around and sweep or vacuum away obvious crumbs, dirt, or pet hair. You can also make the date more romantic by lighting some candles and having low lighting.[7]
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    • You could even put some interesting décor or objects in the background. Choose something that shows off your personality or that might make an interesting conversation starter, like a favorite poster or a musical instrument.[8]

[Edit]Finding Fun Date Ideas

  1. Plan to co-watch a movie for a low-key first date. Even if you can’t snuggle on the couch watching Netflix or sit in a movie theater together, you and your date can still share a movie-watching experience! Open up your favorite streaming service and watch something at the same time while you chat, whether it’s a rom-com, a TV episode, or a cool documentary.[9]
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    • You can use apps or extensions like Kast, Netflix Party, or Metastream to make it easier to watch together. That way, you don’t have to worry about making sure you both hit play at the same time.[10]
    • You could also both tune in to a concert or other live entertainment event online.
  2. Play a game online together for a more interactive experience. Meeting in a virtual world can be a fun alternative to hanging out in person! Whether it’s an MMORPG or a low-key game like Words with Friends, try setting up a relaxing gaming session with your new date.[11]
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    • You can either have a video chat window open on another device or use an app like Bunch or Houseparty so you can see each other while you play.
  3. Have a karaoke party if you enjoy singing. If you and your date both like to sing, make it a virtual karaoke date.[12] Put together a special YouTube playlist or tune in to a website like Karaoke.Camp where you can sing along with other people who are stuck at home.[13]
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    • If one or both of you plays a musical instrument, you could also turn it into a virtual jam session. For example, you could play the guitar while your date sings or rocks out on the drums.
    • If you don’t like to sing, try having an online dance party, instead.[14]
    • Try looking for fun online meetups, happy hours, or hangouts the two of you can join to try a fun, social date.[15]
  4. Meet each other’s pets if you’re both animal lovers. If your cat likes to photobomb you during video conferences, turn it to your advantage by inviting Mittens to crash your date. If your date is like most people, they’ll be happy to fuss over a cute critter while also getting to know a cool new human. If you both have pets, you can bond over your furry, feathery, or scaly companions together!
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    • Talking about pets is a great way to break the ice on a first date, so you could even start off the call with your pal already sitting in your lap or on your shoulder.[16]
  5. Work on a creative project together to embrace your artistic side. Turn on an episode of The Joy of Painting, open a bottle of wine, and try to paint along with Bob Ross together. Or, you could both try out a new recipe and then share a virtual meal together. Even if your project is a total disaster, you can both share a laugh over your mutual “nailed it” moment.[17]
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    • If there’s something you’re especially good at, you could even walk your date through an online tutorial. Then, have them teach you a cool skill that they know.
  6. Order food delivery for each other for a classic dinner date. Just because you can’t treat your date in person doesn’t mean you can’t buy them dinner! If they’re comfortable with sharing their address, you can have a GrubHub order sent directly to them. Otherwise, just offer to Venmo them the cost of the meal.[18]

    Tip: Don’t feel restricted to just sending food. You could also arrange to have flowers or even a nice bottle of wine sent over to your date.

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    • You could also try preparing your meal together if you both like to cook.[19]
    • Once you each get your food, you can enjoy a virtual dinner date together. You can even light candles and put out some nice table settings to create the mood of a romantic restaurant!
  7. Take a virtual walk together if you can go outside. Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance you can still go outside even if you’re sheltering in place.[20] If your reception is good enough, you could combine your virtual date with a little fresh air. Plan to walk to your favorite outdoor locations and show each other the scenery over your phone or tablet camera.
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    • If your virtual walk goes well enough, you could even plan to meet up for an in-person outdoor date! If there are still social distancing orders in place, you’ll just have to stay at least 6 feet (1.8 m) apart during your walk.[21]

[Edit]Helping the Date Go Smoothly

  1. Ask your date lots of questions to get to know them. Showing a real interest in your date is important for a successful first date, whether you’re meeting in person or online. Keep the conversation going and let them know you care by asking open-ended questions about who they are, what’s important to them, and what they like to do.[22]
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    • For example, you might ask things like, “What do you like to do for fun?” or “What’s your favorite place in the world?”

      Tip: If you’re doing a virtual date because the coronavirus has you stuck at home, don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Acknowledge the situation and talk about how they’re feeling if they want to talk about it. For example, you could ask, “So, what are you doing to pass the time in quarantine?” or “What do you look forward to doing when this is all over?”[23]

  2. Give them your full attention while you’re chatting. You may be sitting on your couch at home, but you’re still on a date! Don’t get distracted by social media or whatever is on TV just because your date isn’t actually sitting across from you. If you’re chatting over your computer or tablet, don’t keep glancing at your phone while you talk.[24]
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    • If you choose to watch something together, be ready to chat with your date while you watch. Consider choosing something you’ve both seen a few times so you won’t be absolutely riveted to the screen during your date.[25]
  3. Look for common ground to talk about if things get quiet. Awkward silences are totally normal on any first date, but they can kill the mood fast. If you and your date end up sitting there uncomfortably with nothing to say, try to quickly come up with something that the two of you might have in common to talk about. For instance, you could mention a shared interest or ask about a mutual friend.[26]
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    • Try saying something like, “So, you went to State U., right? Do you know Charles Biffen?”
    • If you can’t think of anything that the two of you might have in common, you could look for something in your date’s environment to talk about. For example, “That’s a really cool poster back there, could you tell me about it?”
  4. Avoid talking about hot button topics. Few things can sour a first date faster than getting into a heated argument. Keep the conversation light and fun for now, and stay away from really upsetting or controversial subjects unless you already know your date feels the same way as you.[27]
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    • For instance, you might want to steer clear of topics like politics or religion until you have a bit of a better sense of what your date is like.
  5. Be careful about getting intimate too quickly. While there’s nothing wrong with getting a little cyber action if you’re both into it, jumping straight into anything sexual could scare off your date or send the wrong message. There’s also a chance you could put yourself at risk by showing or sharing too much with someone you don’t know.[28] Trust your judgment and talk to your date beforehand about what they’re comfortable with.
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    • For example, don’t ask your date to show off any part of their body unless you’ve already discussed it ahead of time and you know they’re okay with it.[29]
    • There’s also a chance the other person could get screenshots or even record videos of your chat and share them without your permission, so make sure you trust them before showing or doing anything you wouldn’t want other people to see.
  6. Wrap up your call politely if you’re not feeling it. One advantage of a virtual date is that you don’t need to stick it out or come up with an elaborate escape plan if things go south.[30] If you’re uncomfortable with how your date is going or just not enjoying yourself, say something like, “This has been fun and I’m glad we had a chance to chat, but I just don’t feel like it’s working out. I’m going to sign off.”
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    • If your date is being really inappropriate or rude, you can also simply hang up the call.


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  • If you’re really nervous, try writing down a few questions or conversation starters before your date. You don’t want it to feel like an interview, but having some ideas of what to talk about can help prevent awkward silences and make it easier to break the ice.


  • Be respectful to your date. Unless you’ve already discussed it ahead of time and know your date is cool with it, don’t do or say anything that you wouldn’t if you were in public.
  • Don’t have your virtual date from the bed, since it can make things feel awkward or send the wrong sort of message about your expectations.[31]


  14. [v161398_b01]. 1 May 2020.
  15. [v161398_b01]. 1 May 2020.
  19. [v161398_b01]. 1 May 2020.

[Edit]Quick Summary

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To have a good video chat first date, dress up the same as you would for an in-person date to boost your confidence. Take a moment to find flattering lighting and camera angles before your date so you look your best. You should also plan something for you and your date to do, like watch the same movie together, order food delivery for each of you, introduce your pets to each other, or go on a virtual walk. If you run out of conversation topics, just ask your date open-ended questions, like what they like to do for fun or what places they’ve traveled to. For more fun video chat ideas and other tips, keep reading!


  1. The material is five-plus. But there is a minus! I have an internet speed of 56kb/sec. The page took about 40 seconds to load.

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