If there was anything positive that came from the pandemic, online dating use shows that video dating might be it.
Global social distancing led to the acceptance of video chat in all walks of business and personal life. Online dating is no exception.
In a recent study about being single, online dating group Match discovered:
“Half of young singles had a video date before meeting in person. And 1 in 4 singles overall had one.”
- 71% of singles say video chats helped determine if they wanted to meet in person.
- 47% think chatting helps avoid a bad date.
- 63% of singles say they would be more comfortable if they video chatted before the first date. Older generations, 72% of Boomers and 66% of Gen X, feel this the most strongly.
Prior to video dates, the next logical step after initial messaging, emails, and phone calls would be an in-person first date. Video dating adds another logical step to the process that people are embracing.
In this article, we’re talking about two ways to get involved with video dating:
1 – Dating sites where you can chat live with potential dates within the site or app.
2 – Video chat platforms not affiliated with dating apps and sites. They were around before the pandemic but really took off during it.
Just to clarify: video chat is not the same as uploading a video to your profile. Most sites allow you to add videos to your profile for potential dates to watch at their convenience. Although it’s not interactive, it is one more way to get a better feel for your personality. We’ll save this for another article.
Why Use Video Dating Apps Within the Dating Sites?
There are good reasons to use the video chat features offered by some of the dating sites and apps. (I’ll talk about the off-site video chat platforms below.)
First, you have the built-in security that comes with each platform. No phone number, email or other personal identifying information is ever revealed when you’re dating within these platforms.
Some sites also have added features such as video blur to make you feel more secure on the first video date.
Second, it’s easier to manage all your online dating activities in one place. You don’t have to worry about whether someone has Skype or Zoom or some other software installed. Your potential dates are already on the platform. Communication is simple to start and easy to track.
Third, video dating is much cheaper than an in-person first date. It also serves the same purpose in that it lets you discover if the prospect is suitable for a second date and beyond.
Plus, you can do it from the security and comfort of your own home.
Sites and Apps That Have Video Dating Chat
Most dating sites and apps were not designed specifically for video dating. Yet because of the rise of video dating, some of the major platforms now offer some form of live video chat.
Although you can usually sign up for a free trial, most sites only allow access to the video chat once you start a paid plan.
Here are a few of the more popular dating apps and sites that have video chat features.
The most popular site among Smart Dating Over 60 readers is eHarmony.* It has Video Date in which you can start video calls from the profile or from an existing conversation string.
To start using Video Date, you must already know each other on the app and have exchanged a few messages. This prevents random, spammy calls and offers a high level of security.
It’s important to pre-arrange video dates to get the most from them. Your match needs to be online to get the notification.
For added security, Video Date lets you cut off contact at any time and block future contact.
You can sign up for eHarmony here.
Another major player is Match, with their Vibe Check video chat feature available on desktop, iOS and Android.
According to Match,
“You can Vibe Check with any eligible Match member in the app and on desktop. To be eligible, a member simply needs to accept the community terms and conditions. You also must have each sent a message or a like to each other.”
You can deny an incoming Vibe Check request or turn off the feature altogether. If you encounter inappropriate behavior, you can simply report them from the call screen. This blocks them from seeing you or contacting you in the future.
Our US readers can sign up for Match here.
Lively is Zoosk’s video dating chat app. One handy option is that you can blur your image on the chat if you don’t want the conversation to be judged on looks alone. It lowers the pressure of that first introduction.
CatholicMatch has a built-in video chat feature similar to the others.
You can check out CatholicMatch here.
Free Video Chat Apps Not on the Dating Sites
It’s important to pay attention to your privacy settings when using various video chat platforms that are not affiliated with the dating sites. Some contact info such as city and state, phone numbers, birthdays, and recent online activity might be visible to the public or to your contacts.
But if you do run into a problem, all of these platforms allow you to block individual contacts.
One of the oldest video chat apps is Skype, which has been around since 2003. Skype-to-Skype calls are free. You only pay when you need extra features like voicemail, texting or calling landlines or cell phones outside of Skype.
One of the most popular video chat apps, thanks to the pandemic, is Zoom. They have a Free plan that allows unlimited meetings for up to 40 minutes per meeting.
It’s a secure, robust platform purpose-built for video meetings and chats. You don’t have to use your real name on the screen which makes it more secure for initial video dates. And you can leave the video off until you’re comfortable with the conversation.
You can start a video conversation via Facebook’s Messenger app. This is open to Facebook friends, Messenger connections or anyone with whom you’ve previously shared a video chat.
Video Calls on Mobile Phones
Users on iPhone have the Facetime app available. Android users have Google Meet.
The downside here is that your prospective date now has your phone number.
WhatsApp is free, encrypted messaging software for Android, iPhone, Mac or PC. But since it works via the internet, you pay for data charges (if any) from your phone plan. Their selling point is security. No one, including WhatsApp, can see the data in your conversation. But depending on your privacy settings, the person calling or being called can see some information about the other party.
10 Tips for a Great Video Date
Treat your video dating experience the same as you would a live, in-person date. Don’t forget, you’re spending a lot of time and energy to make a sincere connection. A video first date is very much like a virtual job interview, so some of the same practices can help.
✅ Put some effort into your clothing and appearance. Whatever you wear, make sure you feel comfortable and confident.
✅ If video chatting is new to you, practice a call or two with a friend to get used to how it all works. If possible, record the conversation so you can see how you look and hear how you sound.
✅ Look at the camera lens and not at the screen. This gives the illusion of eye contact which establishes a connection.
✅ Pick a time when you’re in a quiet area and won’t get interrupted, so you can focus on your partner. Don’t do a video date as you’re driving or doing some other activity! It’s inconsiderate and sends the message that they’re not that important.
✅ Show up on time. Being late, while never good, is more important online. People will sign off if you’re not within a minute or two of the agreed-upon time.
✅ Make sure the background on your video is relatively free of distraction. For example, avoid bookshelves as a background. People tend to look at the book titles or objects on your shelf rather than focus on you.
✅ Make sure your lighting is good so that your date can see you clearly.
✅ Practice answering common questions that your date will probably ask of you.
✅ Don’t forget to smile! You look and sound interested when there is a smile on your face.
✅ Keep a glass of water handy, just as you would on an in-person first date. Nervousness seems to dry out the mouth.
All the above might seem like a lot but it’s not. Once you practice a call or two, it comes naturally.
Small Talk Ideas for Video Dates
If you’re doing a video date, you’ve probably had some ice-breaking communication via messages, email or phone. Hopefully you can build on those previous conversations.
Otherwise, get more questions ready, perhaps about previous things you discussed.
If you’re stumped, go back to their profile to review their interests. This will give you some ideas for small talk.
Keep it fairly light. Remember, the purpose of the first couple of dates is to find out if there is a connection between the two of you.
Don’t forget to listen more than you talk. You’ll pick up plenty of cues for conversation from what your date has to say.
If you’re still stuck, these conversation starters can help.
- What does your typical day look like? This goes a bit deeper than the basic “What do you do?” question.
- What kind of foods do you like or dislike?
- Talk about a good book or movie you’ve recently read or seen. Then ask if they’ve read or seen anything good recently.
- What kind of vacations do you like?
- What was it like where you grew up?
Final Thoughts on Video Dating
Remember that a video date is simply one more way to communicate, just like texting, calling, or emailing. It’s an effective way to find out if you really want to meet someone in person, and it can help you avoid lots of costly in-person first dates.
If possible, use the video chat features available on dating sites and apps. It simplifies your dating process and keeps things secure. If you prefer a video chat platform separate from the dating apps, be sure to check your privacy settings first.
Have a story or suggestion about video dating? Please share in the comments below!
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And be sure to check out our Mature Dating Resources page, with other helpful ways to improve your dating experience.
* Some links in this article are affiliate links. This means we might get a small commission when people sign up, but it doesn’t change what you pay.