Let’s get to the point from the get-go, shall we? It feels like it’s been forever since lockdown 1.0, but unfortunately the coast is not yet clear and quarantines of varying degrees are still in place, which after almost a year is taking a big toll on our dating lives.
While socially distanced dating is, of course, possible and easier than ever, it’s more of an art than a science, and presents some unique challenges and situations you may need guidance for –and that’s totally ok.
We’ve survived most of the unexpected turns the last few months have thrown at us, so why not tackle socially distanced dates? After all, with a little technology and these 10 tips, it may just lead to the best dates of your life. Seriously.
1. Embrace the masks and the awkward
Listen… we’re all on the same boat here, and it’s an unfamiliar boat where everyone wears masks, physical contact is either off the table or surrounded by a shroud of negative tests, and we’re not really sure how to proceed.
Rest assured that your date will probably be just as afraid of the awkwardness as you are, and make the bold choice to lean into it.
If you can only meet online, look for date ideas that would not be possible if you were meeting in person; if you’re lucky enough to see each other mask-to-mask, make sure it’s in a spot where you can speak loudly enough to hear at a distance and laugh about the silliness of it all.
We’ll get our typical dates back soon enough… make your quarantine or socially distanced dates unique and (dare we say it?) special in their own way.
2. Keep your standards high
Lockdowns and social restrictions can make for a dire dating scenario, but that’s no reason to lower your usual standards.
Treat the socially distanced sphere as you would the closer-together one: choose only dates you’d have if you were free to roam around, and don’t compromise on things that are usually important to you.
There’s little use in going out with someone you will not enjoy spending time with when other options are back on the table.
3. Watch out for red flags
Not getting to see each other as much doesn’t mean red flags are not there. In fact, in many ways it may be easier –and safer– to get a good look at your dates potentially alarming behavior.
If anything that you find troubling comes up, like being too sexually forward too quickly or too much mystery surrounding their lives, think about how it’d look in “real” life and how you’d react to it. If it gets the alarms going, say thanks and move on.
4. Don’t forget the fun!
We get it… dating sometimes feels like a test. But luckily it isn’t. Or at least you’re not the only one who’s being examined.
Remember dates, even when in the middle of a lockdown, are all about getting a sense for mutual interest, and if you or the other person decide it’s not a good fit, at least you got to have some fun!
So try to relax and make it all about getting to know each other.
5. Keep your boundaries in mind –and set new ones.
Just like your standards, your usual boundaries should travel with you to your socially distanced dates.
Dating (almost) completely virtually *and* during a pandemic presents a whole slew of challenges, from not getting carried away and getting too serious too soon, to not meeting in person if you don’t feel it’s safe to do so.
Ask yourself what your boundaries are before the date, and make sure to be clear about them.
6. Remember you’re a catch!
We’re going on 10 months of wearing pajamas for alarming stretches of time, and maybe going through some physical changes we didn’t anticipate.
But don’t let the lockdown slowdown lie to you: you’re a total babe and your date is very lucky.
If you need help reminding yourself of how glorious you are, there’s an app for that! Download Emjoy and listen to our guided sessions for self-love, which include tools for body acceptance and will soon have some killer tips to date with confidence.
7. Set distractions aside
Have you ever been working remotely and found it super hard to pay attention to a meeting because your phone is right next to you and you’re all alone in your home office so nobody will know if you just take a little look?
Did you miss an important part of the meeting? Were you called out on your distraction?
The same thing can happen if you’re on a virtual date, and it’s likely the other person will notice and be at least a little put off.
So close any tabs you find distracting, put your phone on vibrate and pay as much attention as you would if you were in a restaurant or a bar. You might be surprised how much of a difference a bit of presence can make.
8. Ask as many questions as you need
Asking questions is an essential part of dating. So much so it has been parodied in countless movies and comedy skits.
Surprisingly, while socially distanced dating might be awkward in a lot of ways, it does make it a bit less weird to ask some of the trickier questions, as it feels less forward than doing it face-to-face and maskless.
Take the opportunity to ensure the person you’re seeing is in line with your values, your political leanings, and even your philosophy about safety during pandemic times.
9. Create a casual set-up
Since either talking through a screen or wearing a mask and staying six feet apart can already make things a little awkward, make sure to plan for a date in a setting that’s as casual as you can make it.
This can go anywhere from a socially-distanced hike that allows you to talk safely, to ordering the same thing for takeout and having a virtual pajama party or playing a video game against each other –things that might have been a no-go in pre-covid times but may actually be a lot of fun and help create a sense of intimacy.
Make it as chill and as fun as possible, as getting to know the other person in a relaxed environment will make it easier to have deeper conversations and notice whether you have compatible senses of humor.
10. Pay extra attention to details
One of the unexpected losses in the pandemic was that of our smiles and closeness. Wearing masks and talking through screens just doesn’t feel the same as being mask-free or in person, and both circumstances make it hard to convey our feelings and emotions… and, as a consequence, to connect.
That’s where a little more attention to the details comes into play.
Make sure your body language does a lot of talking, and that it can be understood through whatever media you’re speaking through. Adjust your voice and your words so that they convey what your smile or your physical presence can’t, and pay attention to the small signs the other person is sending, too.
However the dates go, remember they’ll all end up bringing something positive: from a new friend to more great dates, or at least a learning experience!
If things don’t go your way, or even if they do, you can always enjoy spending time with yourself by listening to some audio erotica. And if they go well you might consider preparing for the potential next step of a socially-distanced relationship.
We’ve likely still have a few months left in the strangest of situations, but keep your head and your standards high, and make it an experience you can look back at with a smile on your (finally maskless!) face.