More and more people are trying out virtual dates this year, which can be pretty tricky to navigate. We can get used to virtual meetings, or classes, or even casual hangouts with friends, but a date is something generally more intimidating than any of those, even under normal circumstances.

A virtual date strips away a lot of the things we tend to lean on to make dating comfortable. So. How do we do this without dooming it from the start? There are a fair amount of how-to guides and tips out there.

Here we’ll focus on the big three to get you started.

1. Put in effort.

This might not seem like much of a tip, but it is something that bears reminding ourselves of. If you’re working from home, you probably don’t particularly feel like getting dressed up or making much of a fuss just to hop on a Zoom meeting, and that’s totally understandable.

But remember that this is something different.

No need to get into prom-wear, but do what you need to do to look and feel nice. It will set a better mood, and give you a good mindset. I recently read an account of a woman who was laughing at herself a little for putting on perfume for a virtual date. But honestly, if smelling nice gives you a confidence boost, go for it!

2. Test your setup.

Anybody who has done an online call knows the pain of connection problems and technical difficulties plaguing the communication. The last thing you want is for your date to be an extended series of “I can see you, can you see me?

Wait, what? Can you repeat that? I think you’re on mute…” banalities.

Decide beforehand what program or platform you’re going to use, and sometime before the date starts, check to make sure you know how to use everything, and that your equipment is working properly. If you have a microphone that’s better quality than your computers’ built-in mic, definitely try to incorporate that. It can make a world of difference in how easy the conversation flows when your date can hear you clearly.

3. Find something to do.

Dates are almost always centered around an activity. Going out to dinner, seeing a movie, attending a party, whatever. Of course you’re ultimately there to talk and flirt and enjoy each others’ company, but having something to do within that context makes it much easier and less stressful.

All that is to say: you probably don’t want your evening to just be the two of you staring at each other on a screen, especially if it’s a first date. Just because you’re in different places doesn’t mean you can’t share an experience. You could watch a movie, you could play an online game, you could do pretty much anything fun the internet has to offer. There’s no reason for this to be boring!

With those tips in mind, we hope you can get out there and enjoy some online dates – and that things go even better when you meet up IRL!

Have you tried virtual dating before? How did it go?

Share your experiences in the comments.