First dates are always nerve-racking; but a first-date in this pandemic can make anyone more nervous than usual.
Other than the usual things that you worry about for a date, for a pandemic date you have to think about maintaining distance; hygiene and decide whether you want to have a virtual date or meet in person.
Pandemic date is definitely not an ideal date to meet someone for the first time. There is always the fear of contracting the coronavirus when you step outside your home and it is difficult to be flirty and fun on the date in these circumstances. So, it is okay to feel more anxious and nervous than as you would before a regular date, which was pre-pandemic.
You can have anxiety due to two reasons, the usual dating anxiety and anxiety caused by the pandemic and risks it carries when meeting a stranger.
If a pandemic date is making you anxious, there is no harm in waiting until you feel more comfortable. Dating should be fun and something that you are looking forward to with a positive mindset to boost your mental health too. This covid pandemic has had us confined in our homes and feeling down all the time. Meeting someone on a date adds to our mental health and makes us happy by looking forward to it; however, it goes without saying that you need to follow certain precautions for a pandemic date.
Some Simple Tips for a Successful Pandemic Date
Prepare and Pamper Yourself
The important thing to do is prepare yourself mentally and make sure you feel like yourself, where you feel confident and mentally ready. This can entail ordering new clothes for yourself to make yourself look good and also to try something new (if you are a girl). You can also try out different types of makeup techniques and experiment with your makeup and hairstyle for your pandemic date.
Decide on the Location of the Date
You have to decide whether you want to have a virtual date or meet them in person by weighing all the pros and cons. According to experts, it better that your first date in pandemic is a virtual date, as this will allow you to better connect on an emotional level and also follow safe covid practices while you decide if your next date is going to be in person. A virtual date will also help you relax if the idea of going out and meeting someone new is stressing you out.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; participating in activities that are completely virtual; especially if you are engaging with someone not from your household, helps in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
NOTE: Just because your first pandemic date is a virtual one, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot meet them in person as the condition improves.
It is extremely important to set boundaries for a pandemic date by making a list of do’s and don’ts that makes you comfortable and have it prepared to kindly share with your date and make them understand that these boundaries are for both of you and your date’s safety. It is also important to ask them about their boundaries; what they feel comfortable with etc.; as communication is the key for any relationship; more so when you are trying to date in pandemic.
Never ever let any type of pressure by anyone force you to do something you don’t want to do. If you are comfortable with virtual dates only, then do not let anyone force you to go for an in-person date. If your date is insisting on meeting in person and you don’t want to, then cut your losses and terminate the date.
If your date doesn’t respect your boundaries, then it is highly likely that he/she won’t do so in the in the long run too. So, better consider this as a red flag and take the next step after much thought and with caution.
What to Do For a Successful Virtual Date in This Pandemic?
Set Your Space; Be Tidy
You can make or convert a boring area or space to something special as if you actually are on an in-person date. The first thing is to keep your background, which would be viewed by your date, tidy and clutter free. Don’t let dirty dishes or an array of clothes on your bed peek through your camera.
Add sparkle to your virtual date area by placing flowers, soft lights and some music in the background to set a romantic date mood. Your virtual date should feel like you are having this date in person; it should give off that kind of vibes.
Get Rid Of All the Distractions
Whether it’s a virtual date or an in-person date, always be attentive and never, ever check your phone, as this will give your date the impression that you’re not into him/her and not to mention it is very rude. So, curb your temptation to check your phone constantly; instead focus on your date companion. If you own a pet, try to keep it in a separate room to avoid distraction.
Some Quiet Time Before and After Your Date
After getting ready for your virtual date, try to go for a walk to mentally prepare yourself for your date. After the date is over, go for a walk again, as this will help you unwind from your date and help with the transitioning from the high of your date to your normal living condition.
A Suitable Theme For Your Virtual Pandemic Date
Dates usually have theme where both the parties are sharing something they both enjoy. A shared activity can be a great icebreaker to start of your date, such as:
- Ordering the Same Type of Food: If both of you are living in the same vicinity, then order same food from the same restaurant. If this is not possible, order the same theme of the food, such as Thai food or Chinese.
- You can cook together….virtually: Find a recipe that is easy and both of you can enjoy; get the ingredients and make the dish together virtually at the same time. This will be such a refreshing experience where you both can connect on a deeper level and have fun too while talking to each other through the cooking process and getting to know each other better.
- A Virtual Escape Room Is Not A Bad Idea: A virtual room can be a lot of fun, just like live escape rooms. This will help you to communicate better and learning to work with each other better, not to mention the sense of accomplishment it gives.
- Virtual Tours for a Virtual Date: There are many places that offer virtual tours that you can join for fun. Make sure that the virtual tour that you are selecting is not a lecture; otherwise it will be pretty boring as you will listen to the lecture more than to your date.
When to Have an In-Person Pandemic Date?
After you have connected emotionally with someone and a solid basis for relationship has been laid, then if both of the people are COVID-free and follow all the covid protocols, then you can safely move to in-person dates.
Some Tips for a Successful IN-PERSON Pandemic Date
Always follow the CDC guidelines if you decide to meet in person for your date, which are:
- Practice physical distancing.
- Wear a mask.
- Meet in an outdoor setting.
- Always carry a pocket sanitizer with you.
- Avoiding or minimizing any physical contact.
Following these covid protocols can be awkward for a first date and not conducive to romance, but nevertheless they are necessary, as they are a sign for mutual consideration and respect for each other’s health in this pandemic. You can view this as a novel experience, which you can tell your grandchildren about decades down the road.
Physically Distant Dates That Are Great In Pandemic
- A Picnic Date: Choose a park or a beach that is not overcrowded and bring your own blanket and picnic basket. In this type of a date, you can easily maintain physical distance and wear masks. Space your blanket under the same tree with your own food and drinks. Separate blankets also give you a distanced boundary.
- Ice Skating: This is another fun activity to do for an in person date that involves physical distancing and wearing masks; however, make sure you set the date at a time when the crowd is less.
- Hiking or Trekking: Now this is another great pandemic date idea which can easily allow you to stay 6 feet apart while wearing masks without feeling awkward. It can also be romantic it the trail is very scenic.
Some Tips to Keep the Conversation Going For Your Pandemic Date
It is pretty normal to admit to your nervousness about your pandemic date, there is no need to feel shy or overwhelmed; instead share your feelings with your date. Honesty and communication are basis of a good relationship, and any appropriate self-disclosure about your anxiety is good icebreakers as the chances are, your date is feeling as nervous as you are!
- Be Attentive; Ask Questions: Be attentive towards your date, ask them thoughtful questions, about their careers, ambition, interests and hobbies. Asking about their travel goals is a great conversation starter; ironic though considering this covid pandemic. Ask about their well being and after their family members considering you all are going through a pandemic. People tend to light up when discussing about their favorite places and experiences that they have seen and felt. People love to share their bucket list of the places they have traveled and the places they want to travel to after the pandemic ends or after being vaccinated.
- Please don’t make your date Into a Job Interview: It’s good to be curious, attentive and ask questions, however, there should be a conversation where you both are engaging and equally contributing to it. So, when you ask a question, listen to their answer attentively and then add something of your own to the conversation. Both of you should open to each other. Encourage your date to ask you questions also. You should not be the only one firing one question after the other, as it would cause great awkwardness for your date.
- Always Listen Attentively: As mentioned before, pay attention to what your date is saying and ask some follow up questions regarding your conversation so they would know you were paying attention to them.
- Virtual Games for a Virtual Date: Some party games, such as Scattergories or Trivia, can be a good idea for your pandemic date. These games can be played virtually, too.
Signs You Are Having Successful Pandemic Date
If you don’t realize how fast the time has gone by then it is a great indication that you had a successful date where you both have enjoyed each other’s company and have made a good connection.
Other signs of a successful date are:
- You are respectful towards each other.
- The conversation flows easily and is not one sided.
- You have genuine feelings; that is, nothing feels fake or forced.
- Time just flies away.
- You are smiling and laughing throughout your date.
- You both enjoy each other’s company.
- You can’t wait to meet/see the other person and go on a second date.
Mind the body language also; as they are an important indication of how someone is into you. Some of the signs to look for are: laughing a lot, lots of eye contact and the desire to talk more or linger even when the date is officially over.
It is important to take into account how you feel after the date has ended. Do you feel like setting up the second date soon? Is that person in your thoughts? You feel like you want to know more about your date? The exciting feeling that you get when thinking about a potentially new partner?
Moving Forward with the Second Date
If you both have enjoyed your first date and want a second date, then let each other know how much you have enjoyed your first date and are looking forward to the second date before the first date ends. Set some plans for the second date and follow up on them to fix the date a few days later, as this time will give you the perspective to genuinely know that you want to go on a second date.
Don’t panic if your date doesn’t respond right away regarding your plans for a second date, as he/she could be busy with some family issues or work problems, more so in this pandemic and lockdowns.
It is perfectly alright to contact them again if you don’t hear from them; however, if they do not respond even after you reaching out, then it’s probably for the best to leave them alone, as it’s an indication they are not interested.
Specific Signs “Red Flags” that show your Pandemic Date was a Disaster
- Disrespectful behavior towards you.
- Judgmental attitudes for no reason.
- Dishonesty and selfishness from the start.
- Talking about themselves and not letting you talk.
- Completely ignorant towards your feelings.
- Racist or sexist behavior.
A good example of this would be when you are talking about something and the other person constantly interrupts and doesn’t pay attention to what you are saying. Likewise, if your date puts your interests or you down and questions them, then you can safely conclude that he/she is not a good match for you.
How you feel after your date, such as if you feel disgusted, disappointed; all indicate that your date was a disaster.
If you do not like the way you are feeling during your date, you can bring it up and let them know that their behavior or any particular conversation is making you uncomfortable. If you don’t want to follow with a second date, then it is better to end the date by saying that you don’t think this is going to work out or you both are not suited for each other. It is better to be clear rather than ghost people or lead them to think that there can be a second date. After all, honesty is the best policy.
Conclusion: Is Pandemic Date Worth It?
As mentioned before, dating is always nerve-wracking; more so if you are doing it during the pandemic. In the pre-pandemic dating scenario, things used to move fast, as many felt pressured to move quickly; however, this pandemic has given you the opportunity to taking things slowly and move at a pace which feels right. You can take this as a blessing in disguise and you will also have a fun story for your children or your grandchildren to narrate about your “novel” experience of a pandemic date.