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COVID Chronicles: Date Planning in 2021

It’s 2021 - loungewear is the new office-wear and pajamas are close behind. We're here to remind you that COVID dating is about good communication, pre-planning and a little creativity…

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First dates are exciting, but they’re also incredibly nerve wracking, especially with COVID-19 as a possible date-crasher. Many singles, Tawkify clients included, are turning to virtual dating methods, which we think have merit. That said, there’s such a thing as being too comfortable and some may find it tempting to take alternative dating formats less seriously than a typical IRL introduction.

We can see why – it’s 2021… loungewear is the new office-wear and pajamas are close behind.

We’re here to remind you that COVID dating is about good communication, pre-planning and a little creativity. No matter how you’re dating right now, every first date is an opportunity to make a great first impression and make a new connection – romantic or not.

And if it’s the latter, and you’re on a video date, you can politely excuse yourself with minimal awkwardness. Silver linings!

While the dating ‘rules of play’ are evolving before our eyes, some things remain steady – such as the importance of planning and first impressions. A great date in 2021 requires them both, just as great dates last year, and the year before did. It starts with…

#1: Making a plan for your video or socially distanced date as you would any date – but with a little extra. In 2019, you could meet in a park and walk over to your favorite bar for a cocktail if things were going well. Today, that bar may well be closed and not safe to occupy.

The obvious answer: bring the bar with you!

In other words, have beverages and/or activities on-hand should you and your date like to extend the experience. Think back to the days of yesteryear… you’d get dinner, see a movie, go for a walk, and things got quickly awkward if there wasn’t an activity to flow to next.

  • For coffee lovers: plan a virtual coffee date where you both brew or pick-up a cup of your favorite variety to sip while chatting.

  • Foodies: Cook and eat dinner together, or order from the same restaurant and talk about the fare.

  • Feeling brave?  Opt for a video dinner date game, such as by turning your date into an episode of Test Kitchen – throwing together dishes from scratch while taste-testing new wines. 

  • Traditionalists: Keep it simple with a viewing party to watch a movie or tv show. Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus are all doing watch parties and browser extensions like this one can also be leveraged to watch movies and shows simultaneously.

  • Mixologists: If spirits are a mutual interest, choose a cocktail to stir up together by ordering drink ingredients online

Whichever experience you choose to curate – plan ahead, order and/or prepare food, ingredients, wine, and spirits to arrive as close to the beginning of your date as possible so the transition to talking is smooth and the activity helps foster that ‘we’re in it together’ feeling. Equally essential, agree on the time you plan to spend – we recommend 45 minutes to 1 hour for a video date.

#2: Light & Time of Day

You’d be surprised how many people don’t think about when the sun goes down in their area from season-to-season – so if you’re planning to meet outdoors, just a little reminder to think about those little things like light and temperature. Perhaps you meet in the park at dusk…before you know it, your fingers are ice cold and you’re desperate for a blanket. We’ve been there and want to save you the chill!

If dating from home, good lighting is without question your very best friend.

Make sure light sources are in front of you or slightly off to the side. Check your angles before the date. Do you like your laptop lifted on a stack of books or level on the table? While natural light from a nearby window is best, you can also move lamps around so they’re just right. There are products such as the trending ring light that has many new fans. Whatever you do, position your lighting with care and do a quick trial run pre-date.

#3: It’s All In the Details: Hype music, check. Ring a good friend for a pump-up chat, check. Whatever you like to do before a date, still do it!

The method and manner of dating may be in-flux right now, but your rituals don’t have to be.

Ladies, (and gents who are inclined), your beauty and self-care routines should all be intact – we argue even expanded. There has never been a better time to take more time for you. It could be jogging, meditation, hair and face masks, makeup.

Someone, somewhere has everyone believing getting glam isn’t for 2021 – what’s that about? Go for a soft glam glow or a bold red lip. Youtube artists like Najla and Eman create step-by-step applications for those wanting to try new looks.

#4: Saying Goodbye: So, you planned meticulously, showed up to shine, and it all came through beautifully in the execution (we hope!). Now, the last little part remains – ending the date with as little awkwardness as possible. 

Transitions can be an uncomfortable pressure point for many people, and wrapping up a first date is no exception.

Hopefully, you and your date followed our advice in the planning stage to set a time expectation. If so, you’re sitting pretty, and can easily say something like: Time has flown, this has been fun, thanks so much for your time! Why 45 minutes to a hour? An hour won’t feel too long if your date isn’t a love match, but also gives you enough time to get to know each other and exhibit respect and kindness for your date.

There’s a balance to strike here – as protecting your emotional energy is so important, especially right now. We never recommend staying on a date that’s draining you. You can set boundaries while also being compassionate and clear. And if it goes well, you can always extend or schedule a 2nd date! 

Without the legacy of convention to guide us, it may feel lonely or chaotic. We get that and have felt both.

From here, we hope to remind our readers that the tools they need are already in abundance: knowing and taking care of oneself + having the right attitude, discipline, and foresight to foster better quality dating experiences despite the challenges we’ve been facing. You can do it! Your Heartalytics team will be here to help – stay tuned for a follow-up article in March from our matchmaking team.

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