Discreetly stretching your arm over her shoulders in the cinema. Touching his pinky on the cafe table. Those old tricks don’t work online.
That’s because a first date at the trendy new pizza place or going to see the latest blockbluster film is either risky or impossible in many parts of the world battling coronavirus outbreaks at the moment.
Single people currently have little choice other than to try out online dating. But what does meeting in real life look like under the current conditions?
Many single people are currently more cautious about whether a virtual encounter should become a face-to-face one, believes Michael Vogt. He is a marriage and family counsellor as well as a professor at the Faculty of Social Work and Health at the Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Germany.
“People are currently meeting online for longer periods of time, where conversations can get quite intense.” This naturally raises the question of meeting in real life in the future, he says.Heightened expectations
That, in turn, is one of the disadvantages of online dating, says Wolfgang Krueger: “People tend to put the cart before the horse, ” says the psychologist and writer.
The first time you write or talk on the phone, you may develop intense feelings quickly. But to really be able to judge the other person, you need to get to know each other more intimately. Disappointment is factored in – and it gets exhausting.How can single people get to know another person right now?
“A first date doesn’t always have to take place in a bar or cafe. Meeting outside, for example taking a walk together, can be an opportunity to learn more about each other. You could also try planning activities for the time after the pandemic, ” says psychologist Markus Ernst.
A walk in the park
But how can you capture the romance of a candlelit dinner in a walk? “Romance is created through atmosphere, asking questions and a flirtatious mood that conveys to the other person: ‘Anything is possible’, ” says Krueger.
A walk in the park has its own advantages: “Many people find it easier to talk to strangers if you’re not sitting across from them in a restaurant, ” says Ernst.
Eric Hegmann is a counsellor for couples and single people. He suggests another way of getting to know each other, which can be adapted to the times we’re in: “Couples in long-distance relationships have been doing this for a long time: cooking on video calls, watching series or visiting online concerts and events.”
On the other hand, Ernst strongly advises against meeting for the first time in your own four walls. Ultimately, it’s still a stranger you’re meeting for the first time in real life. “It’s also much more difficult to leave when you feel something’s not right or the situation is getting uncomfortable. The first meeting should always take place on neutral ground.”
Opening up in a crisis
Besides the difficulties of meeting for the first time, the current times may make it easier to find a partner: “In a crisis, people are more quick to open up emotionally, because small talk doesn’t help against loneliness, ” says Hegmann.
Many single people have reported that conversations have become deeper because they’re less about things like hobbies and musical tastes and more about health and finances.
In this way, people open up to the other person more quickly and make themselves more vulnerable, while self-presentation becomes secondary. – dpa/Suria Reiche
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