Top tips for a virtual date

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Last night I found myself reading the ‘Blind Date’ feature from the weekend Guardian magazine. Truth be told, I was reading a PICTURE of it – I got my brother-in-law to send me a photograph because it’s the only bit of the whole paper I really enjoy and I’m too tight to spend over £3 just for that.

The idea behind it is simple – two people go on a blind date and at the end then answer questions about each other, separately, and give each other a mark out of ten. The questions are short and sweet – ‘would you introduce them to your friends? Good table manners?’ – that sort of thing.

At the moment of course the couples are having to have their blind dates virtually, and honestly, I feel for them. Zoom is hard at the best of times, but when you also have to rely on it for eye contact, body language, flirting… well, it must be practically impossible.

The couple this week however didn’t seem to be suffering as a result. Their online blind date lasted an incredible four and a half hours – more than most in person first dates I’ve ever been on – and I was decidedly impressed. Daters take note – whether you’re swiping right, using the personals or keeping it local with a spot of Kent dating, having to conduct your liaison online shouldn’t hold you back.

If you do find yourself hosting a virtual date, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Do consider your lighting

Just like you’d get dressed up for a real life date, you want to show off your virtual self in its very best light – quite literally. It’s going to be hard to be alluring if you’re sat in the dark, or if you’re opposite a window and your face is bright white, so choose your spot carefully. Ditto your background – a nicely curated bookshelf is far more attractive than a background pile of washing up.

Plan food and drink in advance

Are you going to eat together? If so, make a plan, otherwise one of you will end up munching away on a pizza while the other just has to listen through the microphone. The one thing I found very strange about the Guardian blind date was that the guy got a takeaway and the girl didn’t eat at all. She said takeaways didn’t deliver near her, but you’d make a sandwich at least surely?

Think ahead to conversation topics

An awkward silence in a date is never fun, but online it’s way more pronounced as you can’t pretend to be looking at your surroundings or other people. It might seem a bit forced, but having a think beforehand about some conversation prompts or questions could help to avoid this and keep the conversation flowing smoothly.

Have an exit plan

I have a friend who will say from the off that she has another call in an hour, just to keep things nice and easy to wrap up, and this isn’t a terrible idea, especially if it’s the first time you’ve spoken to someone and you’re not sure how it’s going to go. Manage expectations, stay polite, and most importantly, have fun!


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