On a wood desk, the game Trouble is set up in front of a laptop with a heart and glasses on it. Next to the laptop is a fall theme mug.

Pandemic Dating: 10 Virtual Date Ideas

In my last post about dating, I shared tips I had around dating virtually because currently most of us are in long-distance relationships, even if we live a mile away from our partners (yes, I really am living less than a mile away from one guy I’m dating).

A candle burns next to a laptop and a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Across the top text reads, "Pandemic Dating: 10 Virtual Date Ideas."

One of my tips is that you should plan activities for your dates. Activities are essential to creating shared experiences!

1. Play a Game

Who doesn’t enjoy play a game? Whether you like more traditional board games or video games, there’s a way to play pretty much anything online nowadays.

Set it up yourself: Use a game you both have at home. This idea works best for card games. You’ll both have a stack of cards to pull from. It also works with games that depend on guessing the other player’s pieces like Battleship and Guess Who

  • Level up: Play Guess Who, but the characters are friends and family. It’s an adorable way for you to get to know important people in your partner’s life. 

Play online: I’m not much of a video game person, but I know there are plenty of multi-person games out there to try. There are also ways to play traditional games like Scrabble, Yahtzee, and Monopoly online. You can even do jigsaw puzzles. As if you weren’t getting enough of those solo at home…

  • Recently, I found that there are “escape” rooms online! Solve some puzzles to move forward through the rooms.On a wood desk, a mug, the game Trouble, and a laptop with glasses are set up ready to play.

Make it a group game: Invite your friends to play! There are ways to play group games like Pictionary online as well. It can be a really fun bonding experience and a nice way to make sure your partner is included in your community.

Make it naughty recommendation: Truth or Dare is a pretty fun date, and a nice way to ease into getting comfortable with each other.

2. Go on a Tour

Just because you can’t go somewhere together, doesn’t mean you can’t visit it with one another. With this pandemic, more and more museums are putting their virtual tours online. You can see the art of the Louvre, see Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings, watch the animals at zoos, get your nerd on with NASA, etc. Whatever you love – it’s there are your finger tips.

  • If you can, use two devices to make your video call – share your screen on one and have your partner’s face up on the other. This will help you see the same items at the same time, without losing the ability to see each other.
  • You aren’t limited to museum hours with virtual tours! So pick at time when you both have the mental space for the activity.
  • If you’re going some place with a food element, like a zoo or a museum in a different country, have some of the traditional things you’d eat at the house. Enjoy them on your date to give you a more immersive experience.
  • If the tour isn’t of high quality, make the areas for improvement part of the fun. On my NASA date, we kept our eye out for people who were accidentally in shots. Some of them had some pretty amusing faces!

3. Read a Book

Have your own mini book club! Schedule a date and agree to finish a book by that time. Discuss it on your date.

Get naughty recommendation: Read a steamy story or book.

4. Order Dinner

I feel like a dinner date is a classic date for a reason. It’s a great way to have a conversation and still have something to do, like eat, if that conversation lags. Even if you can’t be in a restaurant together, you can still have dinner together.

  • Order from the same restaurant (or similar cuisine). You really will share a meal just like at a restaurant.
  • Schedule the delivery or pick-up time that morning or the day before to make sure you get the food roughly around the same time.
  • If you’re in different time zones, plan ahead of time – one person skip a meal and the other eat a snack so you’re both hungry when your date time comes.
  • This is a perfect date to follow Tip #3 from my last post – ask questions. Need some help coming up with some? Here’s a few:
    • NYT, 36 Questions That Lead to Love – my BFF tried this set on her now husband when they first started dating and she recommends it all the time. It’s three sets of questions that are a little uncomfortable to ask a stranger, but will certainly get you to know each other.
    • Conversation Starters World, Questions to Ask Your Boyfriend – Despite the gendered title, there’s some great both silly and serious questions in here for getting to know your partner. Plus they’ve got a section of “intimate” questions to help that aspect of your online relationship.

Level up: Create a “mood” based on what you order. Select an outfit according to where you’re eating (aka, if you order from a fancier place, dress up. If you order from the local taqueria, dress more casually). Dim the lights and have a candle for romance or eat outside with music playing. Switch it up to keep it interesting!

A candle burns next to a laptop and a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwhich.

5. Make Food

In my last post, I said make a meal together, but this can actually be broader than just making lunch. If you do weekly meal prep, enjoy that together. Or make cookies. Or homemade snacks. Anything that gets you in your respected kitchens going through the same motions.

  • This is another activity where two screens might help. Set up your video call so your partner can see all of your kitchen and have the recipe on another device like your phone or tablet (unless of course you both have the same cookbook, in which case I’d take that as a very good sign for your future, but I may rely heavily on my stomach…).
  • Trade who picks the recipe. You’ll learn more about each other’s preferences by what each of you picks.

Level up: Go grocery shopping “together”. Be on the phone with each other as you shop. This is a tough one to try, so maybe wait on it for a few times.

6. Learn a Skill

What have you always wanted to learn to do? Now’s the time! Take a class together or watch a TedX. One of my partners and I traded educational YouTube videos. Our date consisted of sharing what we learned from them.

7. Watch a Show

This activity is a classic for a reason.

  • On a gray L shaped couch sits a laptop with its charger nearby. A yellow blanket, blue pillow, and popcorn in a blue bowl are also on the couch.You can use plugins and apps, like Netflix Party, to help share a stream.
    • Just be aware of the limitations – Netflix Party, for example, only works on a Chrome Browser, so you can’t use most smart TVs. This is another one where two screens will come in handy so you don’t have to split your view.
    • Kast (previously Rabbit) is actually my favorite because you’re not limited to just Netflix titles.
  • Get cuddly – pretend you’re watching it in-person together. I get my blanket and comfy pillows out (and my dog – she’s a good snuggler).
  • Have the same snacks – eat popcorn or anything else together.

8. Take a Stroll

Get some exercise together by calling each other while you’re both out walking. You can share what you’re seeing or just have a regular conversation (tip #3 from my previous dating post – ask questions).

  • If you see something really interesting send pictures to each other.
  • Be comfortable with silences. If you were together, you probably wouldn’t talk the whole walk. Just because you’re on the phone doesn’t mean you have to talk the entire time.

Level up: Turn this from “take a stroll” to “workout together”. I’d save this for when you’re comfortable seeing each other sweaty and a bit gross, but it’s a great motivator. I’m exchanging workouts with a guy – so not quite as the working out together, yet, but certainly helping each other stay accountable during SIP.

9. Star-gaze

This is definitely harder if you live in different time zones, but the Moon is still the Moon regardless of where you are. It’s nice way to video call without pressure though, because the activity is watching nature. You can mix it up and watch the sunset or sunrise together (if you live close by).

You can also find celestial events to watch together. I’m planning a virtual date in a few weeks to see the smiley face in the sky – when the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter will create a smiley face on May 16 (right after sunset).

10. Get Intimate

No virtual date list is complete without this item. You can get to know each other, despite not being able to touch.

  • Just remember, things on the Internet last forever and revenge porn is a growing issue. Live is best, if a bit more awkward at first
  • Invest in some toys for both of you. There are some great ones on the market for sharing the experience, literally.
    • Seriously – get familiar with the term teledildonics. Both of you will be happy you did.

Hope these ideas help you plan your next date! I mentioned this in the “take a walk” one, but remember to be comfortable with silences. One thing I have noticed with all of the virtual calls during this pandemic is people feel like someone always has to be talking. But when you’re hanging out with your partner or friends that probably isn’t always the case.

Companionship includes companionable silences.

Embrace just sharing a moment.

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