Video dating started as a necessity during the pandemic, but it’s quickly become a norm. Most dating apps now include audio messages, video messages, or even video calls on their platforms. It not only makes sense but also saves a lot of time, says Zachary Zane, author of Boyslut: A Memoir and Manifesto and sex expert for Momentum Intimacy.
The benefits of virtual speed dating
“First, it’s seeing if the person does, in fact, look like their pictures because all too often, people do not,” he tells Lifehacker. “Second, people’s texting/messaging personalities can be extremely different from their IRL personalities. When you do a video date, you get a sense of how they act IRL.”
“You don’t have to get all dressed up, spend 30 minutes commuting each way, and spend a chunk of cash with video dating,” he adds. “That’s worth it if you like someone, but if you aren’t sure, it’s a lot of time and energy.”
And perhaps the biggest reason is seeing if there’s any chemistry. “I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten on a date and, within two minutes, realise I’m not interested,” Zane says. “With a video chat, you’re not wasting your time.”
Which brings us to speed dating. For those unfamiliar, speed dating is typically a matchmaking event that encourages singles to meet a large number of potential partners in a short period of time. Usually prospective matches spend a few minutes with multiple prospective dates to see if you “click” with any of them and would like to get to know them further before moving onto the next “candidate.”
Since both video dating and speed dating bode well for efficiency, it makes sense to combine them. Think of it this way: You get to go through your potential matches in record time without leaving the house — and without the extended back-and-forth texting.
“You can avoid a lot of mediocre and bad first dates,” Zane says. “And you’re less likely to get dating fatigue. If you have a quick 5-minute video date and it goes poorly, you don’t feel like you’ve gotten your hopes up or wasted your entire evening.”
Keep it short and sweet
Block out an evening where you have an hour of free time and schedule your matches for quick calls — between five to 15 minutes, which is enough time to figure out whether you click or not. For those who you don’t connect with, wrap up the call after about five minutes; if you’re digging someone, go for the full fifteen, but not beyond, as there will be plenty of time to get to know each other on a longer in-person date.
Keep the volume of dates short and sweet too. “Honestly, no more than four,” Zane advises. “Even though you may have the energy to do more, people start to blend into one another. You also become less excited because you’re asking and answering the same questions over and over again.”
Know what you’re looking for
Given the lack of time, it’s important to be intentional about what you’re looking for from your matches. Ideally, you’re looking for compatibility of lifestyles and values, Zane says.
“By lifestyle, I mean that if you like to go out and party every weekend and they prefer to stay home and watch Netflix all weekend, you’re probably not a match,” he says. “Or if they work evenings and you work during the day, it’s unlikely you two will be a match just because you won’t be able to see each other often.”
When it comes to values, you want to know what’s important to them. “How important are family and friendship to them? Do they put their career above all else? Do they want to have kids? Are they religious? Do they believe in social justice?” Zane says. “You want to ask questions that get to the roots of their belief system.”
Questions to ask on a speed date
What type of things do you find funny? “I love this question because I really want someone’s humour to mesh with mine,” he explains. “I want to make sure my partner is making me laugh, I’m making them laugh, and we’re both laughing at the same things.”
What are you passionate about? “It gives someone the ability to share more about who they are and what drives them,” Zane says.
Are you a morning person or a night owl? “This helps to give you a sense of lifestyle compatibility,” he explains.
What were you like as a kid? “This question gives your date the opportunity to open up about themselves and be more vulnerable,” he says.
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