How to Have a Great First Digital Date

woman talking to somebody online

You met someone thanks to online dating and you’re ready for your first date with them. That’s exciting, but you’re also going on a first date in the middle of a world pandemic, which could put a damper on things.

Thanks to modern technology, your first date could take place over video chat. While it seems like video calls are the perfect solution for digital dates, you could run into some challenges. For instance, we’re discovering that Zoom calls and Face Time dates can leave us more exhausted and lonely than ever before.

More than likely, you don’t want to be exhausted and lonely after your first date. So if you’re meeting someone for the first time on a video call, here are three things to keep in mind for a stellar first (digital!) date.

Grab your sticky notes

sticker notes

Going on a first date can leave you with butterflies in your stomach. But watching yourself go on a first date through the digital mirror of a video call can add another layer of stress that you didn’t expect.

Let’s say you’re talking with your date about your frustration about something that’s happened during recent shutdowns. More than likely, you’d grimace or frown when sharing your thoughts and feelings about current events. But when you see your own negative facial expression, that can actually leave you feeling more angry or frustrated. We’re going to take a bet that you don’t want to feel angry or frustrated on your first date.

However, even if you talk about subjects that bring you joy, looking at yourself having those joyful conversations can leave you mentally exhausted. During a video call, it’s tempting to let your eyes wander to your own image. Monitoring your reflection probably isn’t the way you want to spend a first date.

So how can you combat the extra stress of seeing your own facial expressions? If you’re meeting someone for the first time on a Zoom call or FaceTime date, grab a stick note. No, this isn’t for taking notes on the pros and cons of the date. Instead, it’s to cover up your face on the screen you’re looking at. This leaves you free to focus on the face of your first date and get to know them better. That is what a first date is all about after all, isn’t it?

You can still connect with your date with a video call, but you won’t be hypersensitive to your own facial expressions or the way your hair looks.

Remember that body language doesn’t translate well

video chat

On average, video calls include a 1.2 second delay in response. That doesn’t seem like too much time, but when it comes to reading the body language of your date, those 1.2 seconds matter.

When your body language and your words don’t line up like they would in an in-person first date, your date can be left with the impression that your not friendly or focused on the conversation with them.

More than likely, you don’t want your date to think you’re unfriendly, or leave them with the impression that you don’t want to be there. But you can have a better digital first date by being aware of your overall body language. How?

“Sit up straight, put both feet on the floor, then take a deep breath and exhale through your mouth to relax your neck and throat.” Carol Kinsey Goman, author of “The Nonverbal Advantage: Body Language at Work,” recommends.

When you sit up, you take up more space on your date’s screen. Your improved posture will help you breath better, which helps you project your voice. Plus, having good posture will also help you be more confident and present in the conversation, so everyone wins.

Make conscious connection choices

sending messages

If you’ve been on a work conference call all day, take a screen break before your first digital date. Get away from your computer or phone and recharge by going for a walk, grabbing something to eat, or taking a stretch break. Or, if you’re logging off a digital happy hour to call into your first date, it may be wise to schedule those two social events on different days.

Is the idea of yet another video call making you cringe? Remember, not all digital first dates have to involve a webcam. It’s good to be aware of your limitations and make conscious connection choices when it comes to dating during a shutdown.

So what are some digital first date alternatives?

You could always chat on a phone call without the camera. Then, you could put your date on speaker phone and sit down on the couch and relax while you get to know them.

If you and your date live a driving distance away, you could always arrange for a socially distant first date. Maybe it’s meeting on their driveway for takeout, or spending time in the park for a picnic.

Have you been on a digital date during everything Coronavirus related? Tell us how it went in the comments below!