Virtual dating on the rise during pandemic — and it's not taking long to make up our minds


(NEW YORK) — No surprise that with the ongoing pandemic lockdown and social distancing, virtual dating is on the rise — up 36%, according to a new OnePoll survey commissioned by Virgin media.  And that same poll finds that most of us know in less than a minute whether the virtual date’s gonna go anywhere.

The survey of 1,000 single adults finds it takes no more than 30 seconds for us to decide whether we want to continue our virtual date.  That’s pretty brutal, considering those same adults said their average virtual date lasts about an hour — which, by the way, is about 36 minutes less than the average in-person first-time date. 

Thirty seconds isn’t much time to make a good first impression, but you can increase your odds of success by eliminating some pretty obvious negatives.  Thirty-three percent of respondents said bad body language on camera was an immediate turn-off, with 16% saying a bad WiFi connection got things off on the wrong foot.  The same percentage said eating loudly on camera was also a turn-off.

What can you do to increase your odds of making an online love connection?  Relationship expert Alix Fox provides some tips in a statement accompanying the poll results, all of which are pretty much the same things you’d do for an in-person date.  You can start by being punctual and engaged, choosing a good setting, asking questions to show interest — that sort of thing.  Be ready to keep the first call brief.  And if you can avoid it, maybe don’t talk about COVID-19. 

Regardless, it appears virtual dating is here to stay, even after the pandemic is over.  The survey finds 60% of respondents saying they like their first date to be virtual, rather than in person.

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