Many of us have spent more than 15 months feeling restricted in our lives and pretty much trapped in our homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have felt that any unnecessary human interaction should be avoided at all costs to protect our health and the health of others.
Even with the vaccine rollout these past few months bringing a degree of normality, it’s going to take more time for people to feel comfortable being close to another person again. That includes dating, which is such an intimate social behavior. We now have to ask permission to shake someone’s hand or hug them, and we have to be super conscientious about not invading someone’s personal space.
To help you ease back into the dating scene once the pandemic dust has settled, here are my top five tips.
1. Don’t Stop Going on Virtual First Dates
I’ve written about virtual dating in the past, but I do truly believe this will still be the go-to way to meet for a first date. Virtual dating is becoming more normal and less impersonal as people get used to it.
Most people on first dates are scanning for an energy match and usually that yields to some formulation of physical attraction. As perceptive humans, especially gay men, I feel like we know if someone is worth a second date within the first 15 minutes of the first virtual date. You can see someone’s body language and mannerisms on your computer screen.
This is also the first test to see if someone is taking dating seriously. If someone is late and/or can’t give you his undivided attention for a half hour in the comfort of his own home, chances are he’s not in the same dating space as you. One upside is that if things don’t work out, at least you didn’t have to drive across town after work to realize this person isn’t a fit for you.
2. Show Your Date That You’re Listening, and Make Sure He’s Listening to You
Second dates are the ultimate test of your listening skills as well as your date’s listening skills. Did your date mention he likes to hike? Did he share the name of his favorite happy hour spot near you? Did something you said on your first date seem to interest this person? File these things in your mind.
Better yet, write these things down or put them in your Notes app after the date ends if you feel you may forget. Then bring them up when you’re texting or on your next date. This is how you get brownie points. This is how you make the second date more memorable than the first date.
Remember that many people have different comfort levels in this skittish post-pandemic ambiance. Show your concern and check in with your date to see what he’s comfortable doing. You may get double brownie points for that. Even putting this small foot forward shows that you genuinely care about this person.
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