In-person first dates may be slowly making a comeback, but that doesn’t mean that singletons are ready to give up the comfort of virtual first dates just yet.
After all, for those who were single and dating amid the pandemic, a new world of online dating emerged, complete with countless methods for meeting somewhat “face-to-face” through apps and features such as Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Houseparty and Google Meet.
While the tactic initially started as an alternative to the traditional “meet for drinks” first date when lockdown forced us all inside, online first dates are likely here to stay as they offer the comfort of home with the thrill of meeting someone new.
However, just because the date is taking place on your couch doesn’t mean you should settle for a Netflix and chill scenario, unless of course you want to, as there are countless ways to make these virtual dates interesting.
From a game night to a home-cooked meal, these are some of the most fun virtual first date ideas.
Play a game via Zoom
While card games are mostly out of the question, there are a lot of games that can be played using just a laptop or your phone.
Heads Up!, which would require both electronics, is one option, while individuals testing the waters can also play games such as trivia or Never Have I Ever.
In addition to keeping the date fun, a game-focused first date also means you’ll be able to gauge whether your potential partner is a sore loser or whether they admit defeat graciously.
Play 20 questions
Although it is in the game category, 20 Questions, where you ask one another 20 thoughtful questions, is the perfect way to find out more about one another without worrying about running out of things to say.
The best part is, for this activity, you can either come up with the questions on your own or rely on the countless lists available online.
If you miss the days of dressing up for a first date, rather than just wearing pandemic sweat outfits, you can partake in a cocktail-attire virtual wine-tasting.
For the activity to work, each person must purchase the same two or three bottles of wine, which you can then try together over FaceTime.
The idea can also work with other beverages, which is good news if your date is a whisky connoisseur, while you can also make it more casual by suggesting a craft beer tasting – at which point you may also decide to keep the sweats on after all.
Cook a meal together
For foodies who miss trying new restaurants with each first date, virtual dating offers the chance to cook together, yet apart.
This date idea involves some preparation, as each person has to gather the ingredients for the selected dish beforehand. However, it is worth it once your laptop is propped up in your kitchen as you dice vegetables together via Zoom.
While it is not necessary, you can also inject some competition into the date if you wish, with the goal to make the most restaurant-quality presentation at the end.
Try a virtual escape room
Escape rooms are perfect for learning about a person, as they allow you to see how they handle pressure and how quickly they can think on their feet.
And while in-person versions may offer the immersion aspect of the game, there are countless online escape rooms that give users the same fun experience.
The best part? There are free versions as well as ones you need to pay for.
Paint and sip
Over the last few years, paint and sip classes, where individuals attempt to recreate their own version of painting while drinking wine, have become immensely popular.
A virtual version of the concept means you won’t have the instructor, but it is easy to gather all the other things you’d need, such as paintbrushes, a canvas and some paint.
This date is good for those who are creative and prefer to do an activity-focused first date, as it means you won’t just spend the entire time staring at one another in your respective Zoom boxes.
Attend a virtual comedy show
If you love to laugh, or simply want to introduce your potential partner to your favourite comedian, virtual comedy shows offer the perfect opportunity.
To attend a show, you usually need to sign up ahead of time, with most requiring virtual attendees to purchase tickets.
Afterwards, you can set up your own Zoom to discuss your favourite bits.
Or, if you’re really feeling brave, you can try your hand at a stand-up comedy night hosted by yourselves, with each person taking their turn telling their best jokes.
Sign up for a workout class
For those who like to meet potential partners for a walk through the park together rather than a sit-down dinner, virtual workout classes are a good alternative, as they allow you to get active together while releasing endorphins.
You can complete the date with a cool-down stretch while you chat and sip on Gatorade.
Netflix and chill
While it isn’t the most creative of first dates, watching a favourite movie together via a feature such as Netflix Party, which enables synced video viewing and live chats, can be the perfect choice for a relaxing Friday night introduction.
To make the date more fun, purchase your favourite movie theatre snacks beforehand, or swap and buy your date’s favourites while they try yours.