Ms. Oud also notes the importance of proximity when dating. With video, there is no established distance. “If I gently want to come a bit close to touch you, maybe in real life you would just say, ‘Hey, go away,’” she said. “Or maybe you would accept it and like it. But that whole rapport and establishing what you prefer and what they prefer doesn’t take place on video.”
Another issue with video dating is unmet physical expectations. When Catalina Mejia, a 24-year-old bilingual journalist in Washington, met up with a guy she had been regularly communicating with on FaceTime for a month and half, she was shocked to find he was shorter than she had expected. “If it had been a different situation where I met him in person first, maybe his height wouldn’t have been an issue because I know what I’m getting into,” she said.
Although their conversations seemed to flow easily over FaceTime, speaking in person exuded an unexpected, awkward vibe. “At one point he was like, ‘I think we should take it to the next level,’” Ms. Mejia said. “And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ Then later he asked if he could grab my hand and I was like, are we in kindergarten? Like take the initiative, clearly I had been talking to you this long. I’m clearly interested to some degree.”
Ms. Mejia admits that she painted a picture of who she assumed the guy would be in person from their video interactions, something Ms. Oud describes as a natural response to meeting someone virtually. “We analyze everything, and we analyze a person from head to toe,” Ms. Oud said. “And then that gives you information and data that does something to you — that’s your filter. It could be that it is that you like this person, but the other way around, if you do not have all the information, you probably will make it up in a way.”
Whether chemistry can form over video depends solely on how closely both parties are making their virtual connection mimic an in-person connection. Ms. Oud suggests showing yourself fully by standing up and turning around for a clear view of how you look, even if it feels awkward. She also suggests not only listening and asking questions, but instead, creating more interaction. “Meet up as soon as possible when it’s safe, and if not, try to understand how you can get more information about this person, not just by talking face to face,” Ms. Oud said. “Maybe you want to see what they’re wearing or what books they have, but when it comes to body language and behavior, you need a lot more input than conversation.”