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Socially distant dating.

socially distant dating.

How to date online without meeting IRL.

You might not be able to meet someone at a bar these days or have a meet-cute in the corner of your favorite bookstore, but that doesn’t mean that your dating life has to slow down. When you’re single and looking for some company, a good swiping session can be a major help—but what comes after you match will have to look a little different these days. So, in this part two of our dating app guide, a follow up to United We Swipe, we’re helping you through it.

So several dating apps are figuring out ways to help. Hinge has launched a new feature that allows for both users in a conversation to indicate when they’re ready for a video call (so you don’t end up with any awkwardness when one person is all-in and the other isn’t). And Bumble has added an option that lets users indicate right in their profile if they’re game for a virtual video date. And there’s even a new app called Quarantine Together, which texts users reminders to wash their hands and socially distance, confirms a match everyday at 6 p.m., and then sets the pair up with a 20 minute text chat, and then a video. (Right now, there’s a waitlist to join). 

While a straightforward getting-to-know video chat is the perfect, under-complicated first date strategy for socially distant singles, keeping the spark alive with someone you can’t yet meet IRL is more of a challenge. These ideas will help you to develop your relationship from afar. 

Email your heart A bit more formal and lengthy than a text, emails might not have the most romantic reputation, but there is something charming about receiving a message that’s a little more thought out than a “what’s up?” Start the conversation with an article or video that you want to share and keep the thread going every couple of days. There’s no pressure to respond instantly, so you can take the time you need to think of the perfect response. Hey, if it worked for Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail, so who’s to say it won’t work for you? 

Love games If banter is your go-to mode of flirtation, it is time to reconsider the humble app, Words With Friends. A competition-based setting (with a built-in message section) is the perfect spot to playfully gloat and tease as you both aim for a triple word score. Since a game can take as long as you need it to, it’s an ideal vehicle for a slow burn kind of flirt. After all, the game is the subject of a Modern Love column

Mix CD swap Maybe you haven’t used this flirting technique since high school, but we could all use a good throwback these days. Ask your date if they’d be open to swapping playlists on Spotify or Apple Music, and you’ll not only get a peek into their taste, you’ll also get a lot more material to chat about over text or FaceTime (like how pop-punk deserves a revival this decade or why Dolly Parton is so universally beloved).

Take a Google Earth trip If you’ve been talking for a while, it might be time to take a trip to your favorite haunts—at least, digitally. Set up a Google hangout and you can show each other where you loved to hang out as a teen, where you most like to be on a Sunday morning, and where you took your favorite vacation. Come up with some prompts before you both take on the role of tour guide. 

Have a PowerPoint party Time for a little showing off. On Zoom or Google Hangouts, present a slideshow on a topic of your choice—and ask your date to do the same. Topics can range from that one historical event you oddly know a ton about, weird animal facts, or even a trivia game all about yourself. The funnier, the better—this isn’t your typical presentation.