Now that we’re all at home doing the socially responsible thing by not going outside, Zoom is quickly becoming the way for people to stay in touch, whether it’s for work, school, or even hanging out with friends. So, it only makes sense that people are taking to Zoom and other video chatting apps to have ~virtual~ dates with dating app matches they can’t meet with in person.
Video vetting your matches means you don’t have to give up on the idea of dating during quarantine (you’re just doing it over the interwebz and not IRL), but it’s also kinda a good idea just in general that we should maybe consider even after our lives return to normal. Because, yeah, sometimes people seem cool over chat, but then you meet with them in person and as soon as you order your apps, they can’t STFU about how the female Ghostbusters was ‘totally unnecessary and stupid’ and you’re like, ‘Great, now I have to sit through this for another two hours.’
Here, eight people open up about why Zoom dating (or the phone, FaceTime, WhatsApp, or any video chatting service) makes dating better, and why most of them will continue to do it after the pandemic.
1 ‘Personally, I am loving the Zoom chats where I can be myself without worrying about people judging me for my appearance. No more taking hours to getting ready for a date when a cute beanie and comfy sweater will do the trick! It’s also handy if the date is going bad — not only have you saved time on getting ready, but the money wasted on commuting and polite drinks/food while waiting to find the best excuse to get yourself out of here is no longer an issue. It’s a great way to screen potential matches.’— Abigail, 25
‘I won’t waste my time meeting up with someone’
2 ‘I’ve been FaceTiming on “dates” since before the pandemic and will continue to do so after. It’s been much easier to find people who want to video now, since it’s really the only option you have to date. People beforehand didn’t really offer to call or FaceTime, but they also didn’t think it was weird when I suggested it. I consider myself an introverted extrovert, I don’t have trouble talking to people IRL or via a video date, but I like video-vetting because it ensures that we have chemistry. That way, I won’t waste my time meeting up with someone I wouldn’t be interested in after talking to them five minutes into a date.’ —Michelle*, 24
3 ‘As a major introvert and a lover of the internet, I am happy and comfortable to be using video platforms for now to meet people. Even after this pandemic ends, I’m still going to use Zoom to ease my introvert tendencies while still feeling connected. I prefer Zoom over FaceTime/WhatsApp as I don’t have to give out my phone number, so I can just share a link without having to fully commit to giving my personal info. I’m also more familiar with Zoom, than dating apps’ own video chat features.’—Peggy, 27
4 ‘I’m a big fan of the pre-date phone call, even before coronavirus, and will definitely continue to do so after this is over. I like the pre-date phone call because it gives you a chance to test out your date’s chemistry without having to get dressed up and going out. On an IRL date, I can normally tell within like, five minutes if I want to see the person again, which means I’ve potentially wasted my time and money on a date when I could’ve just gotten their vibe over the phone first. I’d much rather have a bad five-minute phone call than a bad two-hour long date.’—Jane*, 26
‘I also tend to attract avoidant people even on normal dates’
5 ‘I prefer Zoom dating over “normal dating”. I’m a full-time travel blogger and dating in-person as a traveller is always an L — the men who want to meet up ultimately turn out to be the avoidant ones who assume that because I’m leaving soon I’m not looking for anything longterm. I also tend to attract avoidant people even on normal dates (something about being a girl in her mid-20’s, I guess!) so I think the kind of man who is okay with a Zoom date is likelier to be more patient, secure, mature, and all-around has better chances of being a good guy.’—Gabby, 24
6 ‘I like Zoom dating because it allows you to get a feel for chemistry without having to commit to a full-on first date. It’s like digital foreplay in a way, because it saves you the trouble of knowing you might not even be able to sustain a connection with someone over dinner. There are also no physical expectations with Zoom or video dates — if someone were to want a lil something more explicit, then they’d have to communicate that. With Zoom dating, there are more clear boundaries and consent, whereas IRL, things can be a little bit more coercive. I use Zoom more for the first date, where I actually try to get ready with my appearance, and FaceTime (which I find personally more convenient) is like a comfy third-date call once you’re comfortable with the person. I’m def gonna Zoom screen dates after this is over. I mean, I love an awkward, funny, IRL first date, but I like the idea of Zoom as a vetting process.’—Lou, 26
‘We really hit it off — more so than I have with anyone in real life’
7 ‘I initially thought I would be more into IRL dating than using video-chatting, BUT I’ve been talking to someone I met on Hinge via FaceTime for the past two weeks, and it’s been good so far. We really hit it off — more so than I have with anyone in real life in probably over two years. It seems like communicating via phone and FaceTime before actually meeting has allowed us to find common ground and interests before anything physical takes place. But, we can still see each other through the screen, so we also know that the attraction is there. We have yet to meet in person, and are just texting and FaceTime until we can leave our houses. It feels old fashioned in a way, but I’m into it. ‘—Delaney, 24
8 ‘I’ve actually been using FaceTime or Snapchat video to screen dates before coronavirus, since about eight months ago. I had this one date where we did not click and I realised that you can’t tell someone’s mannerisms through messaging. From then on, I made it a standard to do at least one video call before meeting someone in person. People used to think it was weird, but now COVID-19 is making it normal to do video calls as your first date. I’m pretty glad the landscape is changing in that sense. I’d much rather have a first date in the comfort of my home. I could just hang up if I’m not feeling it instead of having to sit through a whole meal or chug my drink so a bad date can end faster. Plus, there’s nothing to pay for so the whole “I got it” with the bill doesn’t happen. Once users start realising video dating is way easier and stress-free, it will become the norm — or at least I hope it does!’—Victoria, 21
*Names have been changed.
Answers have been lightly edited for clarity.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan US
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