Dating now? How to build connection over distance
The current guidance on not meeting in person creates a big dating challenge: how am I meant to get to know someone I can’t meet? On the surface, it could seem impossible to get to know someone well. But…Praise God! There is no reason to stop dating – in fact it’s a great time to start!
Imagine dating from the comfort of your own home without the awkwardness of deciding whether to shake hands or hug, wondering who is going to pay and absolutely no risk of an embarrassing moment when one person goes in for a goodbye hug and the other doesn’t! We’re privileged these days not to be confined to one way of communication – the first generation to have technology at our fingertips, and it’s simple to start making the most of it, even in difficult times.
Just think of the advantages! There’s no waiting for someone to arrive or being unsure if they look like their picture and the advantage of being in a safe, comfortable environment too, hopefully with less background noise.
When I first met the man who is now my husband on Christian Connection, our dating relationship was predominantly on FaceTime and WhatsApp, so I can empathise. I know just what it’s like to get to know someone but not physically being able to see them – welcome to my life! But believe me, it can work – I hope I can encourage you with a few tips to help.
One of best things we did was to get ‘offline’ as soon as possible and start actually talking. Once we’d found out enough about each other to feel safe to exchange details and start to connect off the site, a conversation soon followed. It’s amazing what you can cover with a phone call, scary though it sometimes is to jump into talking. If you’re too nervous for that as the next step, you could text first and build some rapport. Text conversations can cover a lot of ground, but maybe proof-read before you send as some comments including humour and irony can be taken out of context.
Act with integrity
Don’t play games. It can be tempting to try and second guess someone’s motives and react: ‘he hasn’t texted me back so I can’t send a text’. Going down this road will only mess with your head and create confusion – if the person in question is worth his or her salt, they will want to reply to you and find out about you. It should be easy. If they’re not up front and available for you, then perhaps they’re not the one for you.
‘Meet’ when you can
If physical meetings can’t happen, remember the wonders of video calling. There are so many options, and having a face to face conversation (albeit on a screen) is really important. You could even do a virtual quiz on YouTube together to help with any awkwardness (there’s a helpful list of virtual date ideas on the Christian Connection blog here). There are also plenty of online Bible studies and church services you could join together, if you’d prefer to mix in a group scenario initially, and it’s a good way of getting to know the other person spiritually.
Be practical and prepared
If you’re doing a video call, make sure you have a tidy space around you – you can tell a lot about a person from their surroundings, so make sure it’s how you want to be perceived! Try to make sure you have a strong connection so you don’t have the awkwardness of the WiFi dropping out or a freeze frame in an embarrassing facial position! Try to also make sure that there’s a lack of background noise – it means then you can focus on each other and give each other the respect and time to get to know each other.
God can turn situations round for good – so try and see the positives during this time. There is no reason to let Coronavirus stop you dating, instead be safe, proactive and enjoy the different experience!