Virtual Date Ideas, Video First Date Calls (FaceTime Date, Skype); Safety Tips. Hinge Video Date, Bumble Video Chat, Zoom Dates

Phone calls and video chats via Zoom, FaceTime and Skype have been utilized by many on dating apps as a way to screen folks, be more efficient with dating efforts, cut down on expensive worthless dates and interact with matches when they are unable to get together anytime soon for more traditional first dates.

Blame old photos, catfishing, weight gain, lying about age, hatfishing, being stood up or any other of the most common lies told on dating profiles but I would argue that dating apps can be more costly and less efficient than meeting people offline these days.

Given the Covid-19 (aka Coronavirus) outbreaks of 2020, video chats and dating have been surging – so much that many dating apps are launching in app features.

Bumble (had voice and video calling for about 1 year already), Facebook will launch video dates via Messenger soon, launched video calls with matches in April and Tinder will launch video calls later this year.

With all the Instagram Live reality show dates, Twitter video dating memes, media stories and Zoom stock price upticks one would think everyone has embraced video dates – that is not the case. It’s true many people are trying this out but many are bored or lonely and merely looking to pass the time while under quarantine.

There are definitely opportunities to succeed during this time but many people lack the patience and the creativity to flourish for weeks and months via digital means.

Related read: Online Dating 101


Skype Video Chats, Zoom Virtual Dates, FaceTime After Matching, Facetime Before First Date

After matching and exchanging messages through the app, you might decide to move things along with the help of video dates. Setting a date, picking the video platform and selecting a date activity can require lots of work and frankly can be boring these days given that some areas like San Francisco have been on lockdown for over 7 weeks!

How many repetitive dates can you have before you want to pull your hair out? Video calls before dates (in-person) are fairly common these days. They serve to verify identities, age, appearance, etc.

Online dating is a misnomer. Dating occurs offline and in person. You can spend hours and days chatting with someone to learn that they 1) don’t live in the area, 2) are looking merely for a pen-pal, 3) are lying about their age/marital status, or 4) lack the ability to generate interest in 3-D.

It’s hard to figure out what will one’s availability be once SIP is lifted. Will they resume their busy lives and lengthy commutes? Are they really in San Francisco or more like Palo Alto or Burlingame? (Many apps now have international roaming features that all one to change his/her location for free during lockdown).

Lastly, the most revealing aspects of a person can really be observed in person. How do they deal with difficult situations? How do they treat waiters, retail employees, homeless folks and annoying kids at the brunch table next to you?

How do they act around friends, when you are not around? How many other people are they seeing right now? What if you find out the guy you have been chatting has been lying about his height the whole time?

Related read: Online Dating Etiquette

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Practicing Video Chats, Video Dating Tips: Avoiding Awkward Video Dates

Before you start chatting and setting up dates, practice recording yourself talking to your computer or friend. Monitor your lighting, shadows. See where your eyes drift. Clean your house. Fix your wifi speed. Dress up, show some effort, check the volume.

Make sure your video camera is at eye level and not below your chin. Find a comfortable seat. Have conversation starters on your wall and interior. Have a few handy props to help reference during your date.

Bottom line: prepare for a video date like you would for a business call. Show that you planned and are making an effort vs scrambling around aimlessly as if you were indifferent about getting on the call. First impressions are everything including voice, wardrobe, lighting, sound and interiors.

Related read: First Date Tips


Virtual First Date Ideas & Tips: Video Chats First Date + Fun Video Date Ideas

If you are seeking a date, try paying for a pickup order at a local dinner place for her to get a meal. Sync up and listen to a podcast episode and comment over chat line or text.

Share what you are doing to help others in time of need (for example I put together this list of places for takeout, gift cards, donations and to-go orders in San Francisco). Coordinate a movie viewing through Netflix party. Creatively plan a game night where you two can interact and play remotely.

If you have had several dates and your local authorities has started to ease shelter in place restrictions, you may be inclined to meet in person. Going on a hike or walk seems to be the most popular but even so, people might be hesitant given they don’t know your commitment to quarantine and shelter in place.

The other person might have roommates and feel uncomfortable to meet with a stranger. Keep this in mind and don’t force someone to meet in person. Similarly, don’t assume an unwillingness to meet during lockdown is a sign of lack of interest.

Pro-tip: Call a friend beforehand to check the lighting, sound, connection and your appearance (yourself and your place).


Things To Talk About On A Virtual Date: Creative Skype Date Ideas

It’s good to skim the news, catch up on shows, research food spots, or have other things to reference easily, and thoughtfully. If you are a total introvert and never make an effort to explore the world around you even from a distance, online, dating apps will be brutal for you.


What is Hinge Date From Home? Hinge Video Chats & Dates – How To Video Call On Hinge

Many apps like Hinge are encouraging matches to go on virtual dates through their ‘Date From Home’ prompt. After matching, Hinge users will see a “Date from Home” menu appear at the bottom of each conversation with their matches.

This prompt will ask if they’re ready for a video or phone call with their match. This prompt came from a survey of users suggesting they would be open to a digital date. You can select Ready or Not Yet. If both people select ‘Ready’ both users will be notified. Hinge will eventually ask you if you met up (private feedback).

As for video, Hinge video dates are here. No need to ask for usernames, phone numbers etc. You can now go on virtual dates on Hinge within the app.

Related read: Hinge FAQ’s

Hinge Video Chat

Hinge Video Chat, Video Dates

September 2023: Looks like Hinge removed the video call button in latest update. 


Bumble Video Chat and Voice Call Feature, Bumble Video Call, Bumble Video Date

After matching on Bumble, a video icon will appear in the top right corner of your conversation screen with said match. Women will have the option to video chat immediately after matching whereby men will only have the option after a move has been made.

Make sure to enable Bumble Virtual Date Badge to let others know you are up for a virtual date on your profile.

Bumble Virtual Date Badge

Bumble Virtual Date Badge

Bumble Whole Country

During Covid-19, Bumble offered its Travel Mode for free meaning there is no radius and you can meet people all over the country (radius maximum = whole country). This quickly went away as they resumed this as a paid feature only.


Bumble Question Game

Bumble released some new virtual dating tools including Virtual Date Badge, ability to send audio notes and ability to play the question game.

The Bumble Question game is a series of questions you and your match can answer whereby you can learn about each other and compare answers. Both of you have to answer the question in order to see each other’s answers.


Bumble Covid Date Settings 

Tinder Passport Free made their passport feature free for users during Covid-19.


Tinder Face To Face Video Chat

This new video feature is being rolled out internationally so people can stay on the app instead of exchanging info on 3rd party video and messaging platforms. Both parties need to opt-in to use the service and you have to be matched in order to use the service.

Online Dating Coaching For Men, Women

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The League Live Video Date – Video Dating Apps

The League has a featured called League Live whereby users go on 3 mini dates over video (3 users, 3 minutes each) on Wednesday and Sundays 9pm local time.


Online Dating Safety Tips – Dating App Video Sextortion, Dating App Video Call

The issue I have with this is once you move away from dating apps, you are exposing yourself to increased chances for possible scams and more. It’s harder to connect accounts and connect the dots when you move from platform to platform. Even if you remain on the dating app for all messages and videos, many dating apps are reluctant to take action when complaints are filed.

Video blackmail or sextortion is the on the rise. As folks start to get more flirty and forward some have shifted from casual conversations to unclothed virtual sexual performances.

It becomes infinitely harder to report bad behavior to dating apps and authorities once you move off dating apps and sites. This is true even for phone calls, texts, Snapchat (disappearing messages) and Instagram (relaxed registration processes) messages.

Many people who are new to dating apps may not be the most technically savvy folks out there and so it is extremely important to remain cautious when moving quickly after matching with someone.


Why Do Guys Ask For Video Calls?

Some want to make sure you look like your photos. Some do it for weird, gross reasons (I won’t get into details here).


What To Talk About On Virtual First Dates, What To Do On A Video Call Date, Online Video Date Ideas

Virtual first date topics should be the same as those you discuss on online in person first dates.


Should You Talk To Someone On The Phone Before The First Date?

It can’t hurt. Shows you are interested and it might be easier to talk on the phone vs too many back and forths via text.


Final Thoughts – Video Call Before Date, Video Date Tips, Is A Video Call A Good First Date

Don’t overly invest in someone who you have not met as in person chemistry may not live up to the hype and people can make the mistake in putting too much pressure on first in person dates after a number of texts and video chats.

Video dates/calls are still being used even after all these years. Get use to it. Whether you like them or not, you will lose out on dates if you don’t want to do them or you insist on them. Everyone has their preferences. Some people hate how they talk, look and feel in video chats. Others are afraid of being rejected because they don’t look like their photos. You do you. Focus on working on yourself, being a better you.

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About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie is a dating coach for men & women in San Francisco (clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, & beyond ), as seen in the NYT & Bumble). He helps w/ profiles, photos, wardrobe, messaging, date ideas, red flags, lifestyle choices, hobbies, grooming/hygiene, communication, social skills & offline efforts.