Virtual dates are a relatively new concept in the grand scheme of dating and romance, but they sure have come in handy over the past year or so due to the pandemic. Some dating apps have a built-in video chat feature, where other times you will have to establish a video chat platform to meet on when you ask someone out on a virtual date or accept an invitation to one.
Dating can be nerve-wracking – especially when you add the potential for internet connectivity issues and other technology-related concerns to the mix – but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing how to start a conversation and keep it going can help ease your nerves and make your virtual date a great one.
Why Go On A Virtual Date?
Going on a virtual date isn’t beneficial solely due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s also an excellent safety measure to take. Before meeting up face-to-face, having a date or hangout via video chat is a perfect way to make sure that this person is who they say they are and gauge your comfort level before meeting up in real life. If you feel “off” in any way during a virtual date, you’re a lot less likely to feel trapped or powerless than you would at an uncomfortable date in real life, and you’ll know that it’s not a match before you risk meeting up and entering an awkward, or even dangerous, situation. With that said, communication skills can make or break a date, and if you are interested in the person, you’ll want to know how to keep the conversation going.
Tips To Keep The Conversation Going
If you want to start a great conversation and keep it going during a virtual date, here are some tips:
1. Think of Conversation Starters Beforehand.
Thinking of a few potential conversation topics before your date can help you prevent awkward bouts of silence. Especially if it’s a first or second date, this is a great practice. If there’s a particular topic you want to bring up with the person, assuming it’s appropriate, keep that in mind. If you’re not sure what to talk about, classic conversation starters such as, “Do you have a bucket list? What would be on it if you did?” or topics that most people can relate to, such as current trends, music, television, or movies, and so on, are all possible options.
2. Ask Open-ended Questions.
An open-ended question requires more elaboration than a simple yes or no. This is great not only for starting but continuing conversations. Of course, you can ask a yes or no question if you want, but an open-ended question gives someone the space to talk freely and will help you learn more about them. It’s also important to pay attention to how often this person asks you questions. Getting to know each other is a two-way street!
3. Review Their Profile Before the Date Starts.
If this is a first date with someone you met on a dating app, it’s smart to review a person’s profile before your date. Get a refresher on the basics of who they are both so that you don’t forget anything they already talked about on their profile and so that you can show that you paid attention by bringing something on their profile up during the date. For example, if their profile says that they love to travel, you might say, “I noticed that your profile said you like to travel. What are some of your favorite places you’ve ever traveled to?” If you did not meet on an app or have predominantly spoken outside of an app, you can also think back to text or phone conversations you’ve had. This shows that you care about getting to know them, which is key if you want to make a good impression.
4. Use Active Listening Skills.
Active listening skills are important not just during a date, but in all of your connections in life, including work relationships, friendships, and more. Using active listening skills is simply a way to show that you care about what the other person says, which, again, is essential if you want to make a good impression. Although everyone shows that they’re listening in different ways, a couple of active listening skills you might choose to implement include but aren’t limited to summarizing (I.E., “You said that you’ve played guitar for ten years, right? What got you started?”) and nodding or using other nonverbal cues.
5. Plan Ahead
To make sure that your virtual date has a smooth start, decide on the platform you’ll use together beforehand, and test your connection before the date starts. When you’re on your virtual date, plan to sit in a distraction-free area where the other person can hear you, and you can hear them. Mishaps happen, but generally speaking, the conversation will flow the best if you can hear and see each other!
There are various things that can make dating tough or intimidating, and they aren’t limited to the potential difficulties that come with online or virtual dating. You may be struggling with pain or trauma from past relationships, anxiety or nervousness, self-esteem, or something else. If that’s true for you, counseling can help. That said, counseling is not just for those who are struggling with dating and relationships. It can also help with many other concerns, including but not limited to mental health conditions, parenting, marriage preparation, stress, grief, difficulties with sleep, and so much more. If you decide to try online counseling, use a platform with licensed providers. One example of a platform that ensures the licensure of all affiliated mental health providers is MyTherapist. Whether you reach out to someone in person or online, don’t be afraid to ask for support. You deserve to have healthy, happy relationships filled with fulfilling conversations, and counseling can help.