A checklist for meeting up with someone IRL
A few months ago, when people were calling Covid-19 the ‘Rona, single people thought they would avoid dating for a few months and then go back to normal. Then March happened. Then April. And now we’re in August, and nothing is different.
Now that it’s very clear America will never get the pandemic under control until there’s a vaccine, avoiding dating all together isn’t a practical option for those unwilling to wait out this nightmare. So, people are getting creative with video chats and socially distanced strolls.
Online dating could already feel like a full-time job prior to the Plague of 2020, and now, there’s a whole new set of rules that makes it even more stressful. Arguably, the newest stressor is deciding when to break quarantine and meet up with someone in real life. Gone are the days of being worried about having The Talk about exclusivity — now The Talk is deciding when you can see someone face-to-face. This new relationship milestone signifies that you trust the person and like the person enough to let them into your bubble. And it brings a whole new level of risk, beyond a broken heart.
To help you navigate these uncharted waters, here is a guide to deciding when to move forward from FaceTime.
Why find out that you don’t have chemistry with someone in person when you can determine that over the phone or video chat first, thereby eliminating the need to meet up? That isn’t something we used to do much, but now, we must — and it creates a pretty efficient process. No more wasting your Friday nights trying to get the bill quickly when you know you’re not into someone after the first five minutes of conversation.
Video chat is an effective way to connect with someone to determine if there’s potential, saving you the time and effort.
Can they hold a conversation? Do they make you laugh? Do you have similar interests? And given that the first conversation can be more polite and timid, you can’t always detect what you dislike about someone during a single call. Having a handful of conversations makes it obvious if there’s chemistry on a consistent basis before meeting up.
To make sure that you’re only meeting up with careful people who are taking the pandemic seriously, you have the right to ask your potential date whatever you need answers to ahead of time in order to feel comfortable meeting up. Your safety is at risk, and you shouldn’t be shy about setting boundaries and asking for what you need. Do you work from home? Who do you live with? Are your roommates taking the necessary precautions? How often do you see your friends and family? Do you only meet up with people who are careful? Do you social distance? How worried are you about catching Covid-19? These questions should be asked over the phone, so that you can hear someone’s tone and so that you’re able to ask follow-up questions.
I’ve spoken with guys who have told me that they aren’t concerned about contracting the virus because they’re “young and healthy,” and they would be just fine if they do. I haven’t met up with a single person who has expressed those beliefs because they don’t align with mine.
If you’re going on in-person dates, you may be interacting with asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19, or those who were recently exposed to the virus. Meeting in real life is a gamble. Make sure that your date wants exactly what you want — whether that’s a hookup or a relationship. And be clear whether you expect exclusivity and how they feel about that. What’s worse than getting ghosted by someone who gave you Covid? Not much, so reduce the risk of that happening. Make sure you and your date have the same outcome in mind, or find someone else to go on a date with.
Find out what your date likes to do for fun. Find out what they enjoy watching on streaming platforms. Find out how they entertained themselves during shelter in place. If things get serious, you’re going to want to be with someone who won’t give you a lecture when you want to watch more reality TV than documentaries, or vice versa. Being able to enjoy the same shows or movies together as a couple is ideal. Make sure you have some similar tastes, which will help build a strong foundation when developing a potentially lasting bond.
What kind of partner do you want? Are you seeking a stage 5 clinger, or do you prefer someone who wants to see you a couple times a week? Make sure to find out how often the person you’re meeting up with would like to see you if your first date goes well. I always find this out so I’m not surprised later. Some guys have told me: “If we’re dating, we have to see each other every single day.” If they say something like that, it’ll be our last convo — not for me. Make sure your date’s availability and desire syncs well with yours. And as mentioned, make sure to remember that your dates may be seeing other people. Ask them — and decide whether you’re okay with that.
If the time has come, and you’re planning to meet up with someone, there’s another important question you shouldn’t miss. Although this seems obvious, make sure to explicitly find out if your date wants to use social distancing on a first date and whether they want to be masked. Imagine if one person shows up decked out in protective gear while the other maskless person goes in for a hug. Many enjoy implementing social distancing on a first date outdoors — some popular choices have been a walk, the beach, a picnic, or outdoor dining.
If you’re both in it more for the physical contact instead of conversation — maybe do so in your date’s backyard? Just a friendly suggestion. The CDC recommends wearing a mask during sex if it’s not someone within your household. Some people may heed that advice, so determine if masks will be removed if you become intimate. Could be kinky?
In the end, there are no right choices — only ones you feel comfortable with.