If you're single right now and interested in meeting new people, it's highly likely you've considered virtual dating. The good news is there are tons of dating apps that have video chat features, so you can still feel (a bit like) you're dating like you used to. If you're in a relationship or have been hooking up with someone then maybe those all-night phone chats be more like your vibe. Whatever your relationship status, here are some super fun and creative ideas for virtual online dates.
A recent Bumble survey of 5,000 of its users found the most popular virtual date was having a chat over a drink or coffee, with 64% saying this would be their ideal online date. The second most popular date involved playing a game together, followed by watching a film and then cooking or eating a meal together.
Virtual date ideas
1. Virtual happy hour
By now, you’ve probably hosted or joined some sort of online hangout with your friends or colleagues to toast the end of a long day (or week — it’s hard to keep track)! If you’re just getting to know a match for the first time, you might not want to hand out your phone number or email in order to FaceTime.
Fire up the Video Chat feature in the Bumble app and share a cocktail, beer, or iced tea. You can chat with the confidence that if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t given out any personal info.
2. Truth or dare
This can be as PG-13 as you want it to be! Truth: when did you last make your bed? Dare: show me the contents of your kitchen cupboard! Maybe your new match will surprise you with their pantry preparedness.
3. TikTok dance-off
These are anxious times, and we all need some comic relief, even at our own expense. Challenge your match to a TikTok dance-off. Decide which viral dance you’ll both learn, then reconvene in a video chat to show off... well, either your skills, or your willingness to self-deprecate.
4. Virtual house tour
There’s a reason we all loved MTV Cribs, and why clips from tours of celebrity homes go viral. We’re all voyeurs when it comes to the inside of other people’s bathroom cabinets and hallway cupboards. Since most of us are at home anyway, take this opportunity to give your match a virtual tour of your room, apartment, or garden, if you’re lucky enough to have one. Are you a trainer obsessive with an impressive collection of Air Max 90s? Or are you honestly just proud you took all those Amazon Prime boxes to the recycling bin?
5. Cook together
Decide on a dinner menu based on your food preferences, then follow a simple recipe together over video chat. You might discover your match is a burgeoning Nigella. Or, they may not know their coriander from their cayenne — and that’s OK! We need to prop up the struggling restaurant industry and local small businesses, so if cooking isn’t your or their bag…
6. Order in together
If you and your match are both in areas with options for delivery, why not order your respective favourite meals and dine in together via video chat? You’ll get to learn a little about their culinary tastes. It’ll also get you both thinking about your favourite spots to eat IRL, in hopes of having an in-person date one day.
7. Movie marathon
There are few better ways to start understanding someone’s personality than to get them talking about their favourite movies. Ask your match to pick their favourite actor, franchise, or genre, or suggest a few ideas of your own. If movies feel like a commitment, you could agree to start binge-watching a streaming TV series at the same time, or rewatch a comforting classic.
8. Q+A time
What better way to get to know your match than some probing questions? There are all sorts of games and platforms you can use to get to know each other, but a perennial fave is the Proust Questionnaire, once a parlour game popularised by the French writer but now better known as the 15 questions asked of big-name celebs in each issue of Vanity Fair. There's also the 36 questions to fall in love... If that feels a little too heavy for a first date, keep it light and upbeat with fun personality quizzes.
9. Games night
Are you a Scrabble whiz? Better at Trivial Pursuit? Challenge your match to an evening of digital games, and check in on their snack situ via video chat.
10. Enjoy culture together
Being sequestered at home doesn’t mean missing out on all the worlds of art and music have to offer. Institutions ranging from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Australia are offering digital tours and performances. If that’s not your kind of fun, New England Aquarium is offering virtual visits. If you can’t bond over baby sea lions, there might not be much hope for your romantic future...
11. Look to the stars
Do you know your star sign? Probably, but what about your rising sign or moon sign? Have you ever taken a look at your birth chart? Even if you’re not what one might call a believer in all things astrology and zodiac, you can learn a lot about your match just by reading each other’s horoscopes and gauging their reactions.
12. Make playlists
Think of this as the 2020 version of making your teenage crush a mixtape or burning them a CD. Create a playlist on Spotify and share it with your match; ask them to reciprocate. You’ll learn about their favourite genres, artists, and songs as well as keeping your at-home-workout playlist fresh.