How to Communicate, Connect and be Confident on a Zoom Date
Modern problems require modern solutions, or so the saying goes. It is human nature to want to connect and partner romantically, and this innate drive won’t be hampered by external circumstances. Thus the modern problem of being unable to meet potential new partners in person can be frustrating. The modern solution? Video dating – otherwise known as virtual dating. Video calling is the current mode of choice for meetings and events of all kinds… and the dating world is no different.
Zoom, Face Time, Skype and other platforms of their like have become the stomping ground for sociable creatures who have the determination to keep their most important interactions alive. Sounds great, right? Well, it is great that there are still ways to socialise outside of the usual venues, but the reality is that for many, video dating is unchartered territory. If you break into a cold sweat at the thought of trying to be your best self in such unfamiliar conditions, know that there are actually some silver linings to this method of dating.
Sure, communication will feel different, and right now you might not feel too confident about how you’ll come across. The following tips on dating over video calls will help you feel confident about your communication, and your connections may just flourish in unexpected ways.
Tips for connecting and communicating confidently on a Zoom date
One thing worth keeping in mind is that without all the usual accompanying stimuli, you and your date actually get each other’s full attention. OK, so that might feel like pressure… but it’s actually really helpful. You will notice so much more about each other (both ‘good’ and ‘bad’!), gain a clearer perspective and potentially save a lot of time.
Think about it: busy and noisy bar environments, choosing from menus, drinking cocktails, watching movies and so on… while these things add to the overall vibe, they can also cloud your perception and divert your attention. When was the last time you genuinely gave your full attention to your date, and vice versa? When verbal communication is the predominant method, you will soon see whether your minds and mentalities are a great match. If so, by the time you meet in person you’ll be off to a flying head start.
- Find ways to relax ahead of your date
The true you is the version that your best friends see. When you hang out with them, there are probably no qualms about saying it as you see it (or feel it). This relaxed and comfortable you, are whom your dates will want to be around too. It’s so much easier to be your authentic self on a Zoom date if you’re relaxed. So, for an hour beforehand, do what makes you happy. Grab a glass of wine (one, not ten, mind!), meditate, watch your favourite comedy show, or call your funniest friend for a chat. You’ll be date-ready in no time.
- Remember how amazing you are!
Feeling nervous about what your date will perceive? This will probably wear off somewhat after your first virtual date, but it’s hard to argue with nerves. This is another one your friends might be able to help with. Why not have a think about all the things they say they love about you? If you can’t come up with anything, ask them to jog your memory. They might love your quirky sense of humour, your giving nature, your sense of adventure or your mischievous streak… but whatever the qualities, your date will surely pick up on them soon enough.
- Set the scene
Your date may only have a limited viewpoint, but if you think you might do an impromptu virtual tour of your home, make sure it’s ready. If they came over in person you’d tidy the place up, so adopt the same attitude for video dates. Likewise, make sure you won’t be interrupted. Barking dogs, drunken housemates or untimely delivery drivers won’t do you any favours.
Don’t forget to check your equipment is in working order ahead of time, as poor connections of any kind are the last thing you need!
Finally, you might want to play some soft music and pour a glass of wine; think of it as a milder version of whatever you might do if your date was physically present.
- Be aware of your body language
There’s nothing like anxiety to hamper confidence, and this can’t help but come across via your body language. Once you’ve taken the above measures to relax your nerves, pay attention to your physical form and behaviour. Sit upright (good posture implies confidence), relax your shoulders, position yourself so you’re directly facing your date, and maintain eye contact as much as possible.
- Dress to impress
It may not be appropriate to don your favourite bar attire, but although you won’t want to overdo it, you will want to feel attractive.
It makes sense to put on a classy jumper or shirt, accessorise and make sure your hair (and make-up, for the ladies) are at their best. Even if your date knows beauty is only skin-deep, they’ll surely appreciate the effort.
6. Stay present
When your hopes are high and you’ve got ideas, it’s so easy to project onto the future. This compels you to analyse your date at high speed, conjuring mental images that do or don’t align with those ideals. In turn, this takes you out of the present moment and into fantasy land, and all the while you could be missing the kind of details that tell you who your date really is and how compatible you are. What’s more, if they’re perceptive, they may even notice this. You’re not going to figure them out on date one, so be patient and try not to judge too quickly.
- Do your homework
Without other distractions, you’ll need to be on top of your verbal game. If you think you might get tongue-tied, think about what you want to know about your date in advance. Check out their dating profile and write down some questions or memory joggers if need be, but be careful not to reel them off in a list! You won’t want your questions to sound contrived, but natural lines of inquiry indicate interest – and that’s attractive!
Although it might feel a little awkward when you’re first presented with an unfamiliar face on a screen, if you adopt the above habits for your video dates, you’ll soon get used to it and your confidence will grow. One of the best things about virtual dating is that your newfound communication skills will be transferable, and when the time comes for face-to-face dating, you’ll be more ready than ever.
Shar Fuller, Relationship Expert & Co-Founder at Mai Tai.