NEW YORK — Many people say first impressions are the most important. So can you win over the love of your life in less than a minute? A survey of 1,000 singles finds “digital daters” know if they have a connection with somebody 30 seconds into a video chat.
The survey, commissioned by Virgin Media, looks at adults who are dating virtually during the coronavirus pandemic. With the world in lockdown, virtual dating has increased by 36 percent, with six in 10 saying they like the “new dating normal.”
Once the pandemic is over, one in four say they’ll keep using video chats in their dating game to help them sift through potential partners. It turns out digital dating also cuts down on the costs and the time involved in getting to know someone. The average virtual night out lasts about 60 minutes, compared to 86 for an in-person meeting. Singles also save over $23 by taking their love life online.
“The idea that the average digital dater has just 30 seconds to make a great, but speedy, first impression online might seem intimidating to many,” relationship expert Alix Fox says in a statement. “Sure, successfully navigating this brave new digital world takes a little extra effort and imagination, but those are qualities that are prized in a partner; with a little practice and polish, it’s absolutely possible to make deeply meaningful, valuable, lasting connections online”
Getting serious with online dating
The poll finds digital dating doesn’t just speed up the “interview process,” couples get serious much faster online too. Fifty-five percent say their relationships develop faster virtually than they would in-person. Another 45 percent add they’re more likely to go exclusive with someone if they’ve had a virtual date with that person.
A third of respondents are less likely to “play the field” — dating more than one person — in a digital format. For men, 44 percent would delete their dating apps after meeting a potential partner. Only a quarter of female singles made the same commitment. Men are also quicker to say “I love you,” using the three big words after 22 virtual dates. Women take 30 dates to say it.
The winning strategy
So what works when you’re out on a digital date with someone? Cyber singles say a partner who takes control and organizes the date, arranges the next date before the current one ends, and suggests themes for these outings score major dating points.
Bad body language (33%), poor Wi-Fi connections (16%), and eating loudly on camera (16%) were all considered to be digital turn-offs.
“The internet has been at the heart of building relationships for years, but thanks to the ‘new normal’, digital dating has opened up a world of possibilities for those looking for love and meaningful connections online,” Cilesta Van Doorn from Virgin Media says.
Fox adds a few tips for virtual daters:
- Choose the right setting
- Be punctual and engaged
- Arrange a shorter call before more serious dates
- Don’t talk about COVID-19
- Makes sure the connection is good
- Show them you’re interested
- Ask attentive questions