If you’re single and interested in meeting someone, it’s harder than ever these days. Still, if you’re determined to make a connection, you might consider a virtual or video dating app or service.
Dating apps have generally fared well in this age of Covid-19. Match Group, which owns a slew of dating websites including Tinder, Hinge and Match.com, recently filed a letter with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission noting that Tinder and Hinge were thriving. Messages between users went up 30% after the lockdowns began.
It’s easy to see why this is so. Obviously, you probably can’t meet anyone at a bar or social event. And with social distancing the new norm, a lot of these services are encouraging virtual dating. You can meet and get to know each other via your computer or an app on your phone. And then, eventually, you may want to meet in person.
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Laurie Berzack, a matchmaker and dating coach in Charlotte, North Carolina, and who runs Carolinas Matchmaker, is a fan of this way of meeting people. “Virtual dating makes it easy to stay on track with your love life without setting foot outside your house,” she says.
She has some tips for those who attempt virtual dating:
Take it seriously. “Do present your best self,” she advises. “Paying attention to your entire look (not just from the waist up) will give you the confidence to make the most out of your time together.”
Look behind you. She recommends finding the most flattering backdrop for your virtual date or video profile. “Hint,” she says. “It’s not your unmade bed.”
Don’t get caught off guard. “Practice with a friend to make sure you know how to use your video chat platform and you have reliable connectivity,” Berzack advises.
With that in mind, here are some dating apps you may want to try:
Price. Free, or you can pay $24.99 for extra features.
How it works. You look through profiles and swipe right if you might be interested in the person, and swipe left if you aren’t.
This is a dating site that is sometimes described as Tinder — for women. The women send the first message, and then if the guy doesn’t reply within 24 hours, he loses his chance to reply back.
The website has been on a tear lately, offering new features such as the ability to send audio notes to each other.
What can help you with virtual dating. Bumble has a video chat and voice calling feature, which debuted last year. Once you’re matched, a video icon and a phone icon will appear in the top right-hand corner of your conversation screen.
And if you talk, you can do so without exchanging phone numbers.
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Price. Free, or for additional features, you can pay $4.99 to $9.99 a month, depending how many months you want to purchase.
How it works. You set up a pretty comprehensive profile and post photos. You then look through the profiles that others have set up. It’s a pretty standard dating site, in that way. Every profile has a heart icon. If you want to tap it, you can send that particular member a “like.” Or you can tap the “X” icon, and you’ll be shown the next member’s profile.
What can help you with virtual dating. There is a new “Date from Home” feature. If you’re chatting with a match you’ve met on Hinge, the app will ask you if you’re ready to do a phone call or video chat.
Assuming you want to chat, you and the other person can set up a FaceTime, Skype or Zoom session — or just talk on the phone.
Price. Free, or you can pay for Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold, depending on what features you want. The price varies due to location and age (if you’re older, you pay more). At the high end, you might pay $29.99 a month.
How it works. You use your phone number or Facebook account to sign up, although your membership won’t be visible to other Facebook members. Once you put together a profile, you’ll be matched with other Tinder profiles in your area.
What can help you with virtual dating. Tinder has given everyone access to its Passport feature for free, so you can swipe profiles around the world. It’s a fun idea, of course. But if you make a connection with your soul mate, you may have to figure out how to actually meet each other in person one day.
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Price. It’s free to put a profile up and look, but nothing else. For one month, you’ll pay $35.99. If you want to pay for multiple months, you’ll start saving money and paying less per month, like $19.99 a month for a three-month standard plan and $17.99 a month for a six-month standard plan.
How it works. As with many dating sites, you set up a profile and browse other profiles.
What can help you with virtual dating. Match.com reported in its filing letter that it will be offering the ability to chat through video soon.
It also has a new service that will help you once you’re ready to go on a date in the real world: Date Check-In, which automatically sends messages to friends or family that you put on a list. You can alert three favorite people when you’ve set up a date, with information including the day, time, location and name of the person you’re meeting. Your date will also be notified that you’ve scheduled a Date Check-In. That doesn’t guarantee your date won’t turn out to be an oddball, but it should offer some motivation for people to stay on their best behavior.
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