7 Sure-fire Ways to Assess Romantic Compatibility over Zoom
Pro tips for video dating
In the age of COVID-19 and social distancing, video dating has become a boon for singles. But just because Zoom dates seem low-stakes doesn’t mean you should take them lightly.
You’ll want to carefully evaluate whether or not your love interest is going to be a good match, but when all you have is video you need to approach things a little differently. If you’re dating during coronavirus, these tips are for you.
But before we dive into the nitty-gritty, some quick comedy relief. Because even in the age of coronavirus, dating should be fun. Social distancing sucks but hey, at least we’re not dating during the 80s!
Bringing things back to the present moment… online dating users are notorious for embellishing their profiles. Research shows that when “sex is on the brain” people lie readily – and more effectively – than in any other situation.
The same motivations that lead people to be dishonest in dating profiles can influence how they present themselves in a virtual romance. It can be extra hard to accurately assess someone over a video chat, and you’re more vulnerable than ever to having someone deceptive waste your time–or worse.
Today I’m going to share with you exactly how to make sure that does not happen. Dating during coronavirus is hard enough and you don’t want to invest weeks or even months getting to know someone only to find out that your virtual BAE doesn’t live up to your expectations.
How to have a successful video date
Here are seven tips for your Zoom or FaceTime dates to ensure that you make a good impression while effectively vetting your love interest for compatibility. Do this to ensure your sweetie is everything you’re hoping for when social distancing ends and you finally get to meet them in real life.
1. Set the stage
Sharing your home with a stranger right out of the gate is intimate and you should not underestimate it. If you don’t feel comfortable, consider a location outside, like your backyard or a park. If you’re not at home, be prepared to explain why, otherwise your date could think you’re hiding something.
If at home, pick a location where you look your best. If you happen to have your webcam already set up in your baller home office, or have a backdrop with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, congratulations, you’ve got it easy. But if you’re like the rest of us you’re likely to end up in your living room. Scan your surroundings and make sure the food delivery container from last night’s dinner isn’t still on the coffee table!
2. Make sure there’s good lighting
Make a point of ensuring that both you and your date have good lighting, and perspective, in front of the camera. Just like with the deceptive selfies you see on dating apps, on video dates people can artificially enhance their appearance. Likewise, make sure the person is facing the camera head on.
Having your first video date during daylight hours will significantly increase the likelihood that the lighting will be good.
3. Beware of video retouching on Zoom
Speaking of enhancing your appearance over video chat, watch out for people who use “touch up my appearance“ on Zoom, as it smooths your complexion and can even make you look younger. That might be a good idea for work or chatting with friends, but it has no place on video dates. If you have any doubts about your date’s appearance, try to also have a video chat on another platform where touchups are not available (which is most other platforms).
4. DON’T use virtual backgrounds
I absolutely love virtual backgrounds and use them every day at work. However, they are not appropriate for a video date because they can conceal the environment a person is in, which is bad for building trust. If someone has a Zoom virtual background on when they meet you, make sure they turn it off at some point during the date.
5. Ask lots of questions
Ask questions based on information in their dating profile, to double check that the information is consistent. If it’s not, this could be a red flag, so drill down to find out more. Just make sure you don’t come off like you’re interviewing or interrogating them, of course.
If you have any concerns at all about whether or not your date is being honest with you, ask the same questions in a different way, later on, and make sure they give you the same answer. Liars are notorious for giving different answers to the same question, because they can’t keep track of it all.
6. Get a full body view
Let’s be real: body type matters. Conduct your video dates in different contexts, including interactive activities that will give you full body views (bonus: video chat strip poker). If you’re never able to get a look below the neck, that could be a red flag.
7. Lead by example
Lastly, make sure that you are also representing yourself as accurately as possible on your Zoom date, as well. The more transparent you are, the more likely your date is to be transparent with you. The last thing you need is to get dissed when you finally meet your love interest in real life because you don’t live up to their expectations.
In addition to the precautions outlined above, all the usual advice for how to make a good impression on the first date applies. For example, conversation skills matter even more on video dates, since you have less contextual information to go on.
The best way to be a good conversationalist is to get skilled at listening and asking open-ended questions. See How to Strike up First Date Conversations that Make Sparks Fly.