THE POWER OF MEETING FACE TO FACE.
Last year saw a huge shift towards video dates thanks to software such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Zoom; even the dating apps jumped on bandwagon by introducing their own video features. Having gone on a few video dates myself during lockdown, I'd say they're certainly more effective by way of getting a sense of someone's personality and making sure you're not being catfished/kittenfished! You can also achieve a lot during an hour of video chat vs batting messages back and forth over the course of a week. There are plenty of creative ways to have a great video date, but there's no denying the power of meeting in-person.
"WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO ON A DATE WITH ME?"
Since UK indoor hospitality resumed from 17th May, not only have I thoroughly enjoyed the experiences again but have also come to realise just how much I value social interaction. It's been awesome getting together with my friends and family; catching up, laughing uncontrollably, seeing everyone dolled up, and taking photos together. Moments like these make me truly realise what life is all about. Likewise with dating, I have to say I've had a blast so far — probably more so than I did pre-covid. And I do think it's due to a slight change in mindset. After more than a year of living life behind closed doors, I said to myself that I would do my best to be more present, make a conscious effort to give others my absolute full attention, be (even more) open-minded, and appreciate the time together matter what (unless they were being a total d*ck of course).
Since returning to (somewhat) normality, I've had six in-person dates (that didn't involve coffee and a park walk) and guess what? I can't wait to have more! Beer gardens, gastro pubs, quirky restaurants, cocktail bars, wine bars... getting prettied up, plus the sunshine as an added bonus?! I'm all for it. I personally don't think you can beat building a real connection through face to face, especially in a setting that you both enjoy. There's something about sitting close together, having the eye contact, the chivalrous gestures of a guy holding the door or pulling the chair out for me, then being able to head elsewhere if the date was going really well. I mean... in essence, what I'm describing is an actual date!
IT'S A MATCH?
As mentioned, video dating is great too, particularly if you want to take things slow and be extra cautious from a safety perspective. However, one element that you don't get from video is the physical nature of romance which (according to Science) can actually help daters forge deeper connections (not strictly sexual encounters). On traditional dates, we actively gather details about someone when walking side by side, holding hands, observing their dress sense, looking into their eyes, when we hug them, when we kiss them. It's about the emotional, intellectual, and physical combined. These experiences send neural impulses between the brain and body, stimulating tiny chemical messengers that affect how we feel. When two people are a good match, hormones and neurotransmitters bring about the sensations we might describe as being on a natural high.
BUT IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE READY TO DATE YET
To those who are ready to step back into the real dating world, I say go for it, and really take in the moment. Tune into how you feel throughout the process, prioritise the people/things that make you happy, and relive all the wonderful experiences again. However, if you're someone suffering from FODA (Fear of Dating Again), it's likely you've felt fatigued from going in and out of lockdown so it's important to put focus on where you are mentally and physically. You might not be ready to put your heart on the line, and that's completely fine, you're certainly not alone either. If there's anything preventing you from wholeheartedly connecting with someone, give yourself permission to take your time. And if you eventually feel like easing yourself into dating again, video may be a good starting point as it's low-key, safe, and an efficient way to assess compatibility.