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Erika Ettin: A virtual date is still a date

By Erika Ettin, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

The world has been massively disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic over the past six months, and the dating scene is no exception - ask anyone who has debated meeting for socially distanced drinks with a complete stranger. Although singles are getting creative with ways to meet new people by replacing in-person first dates with Zoom, FaceTime and phone calls, some rude behavior unfortunately still remains.

While there's almost nothing worse than being stood up for a real date - awkwardly sitting at the bar alone, checking and re-checking your texts to make sure you got the date, time and location correct - getting ghosted on a virtual meeting is up there. And sadly, from my recent experiences with clients, it's happening far too often.

Just because a date isn't in-person doesn't mean you shouldn't uphold your promises. If you make plans to chat on the phone or set up a Zoom meeting on a certain day and time, that commitment should be honored - plain and simple. It's still a date.

Anyone who has experimented with online dates knows that there are advantages to the new way of doing things. You don't have to worry about making reservations at a restaurant, no awkward "sorry, I hit traffic and can't find parking" texts, and pajama bottoms are perfectly acceptable attire (as long as you make some effort on your visible outfit ... and don't stand up!). But at the same time, it's still a date - along with all the effort that typically goes into one.

A no-show on your Zoom call (or a last-minute cancellation, for that matter) means you wasted someone else's time. They likely took a shower, perhaps did their hair and makeup, and put on clothes (a rarity these days!) to look their best for you. Even setting up a Zoom meeting requires a few minutes of time, as does straightening up their home or finding a quiet spot so your time won't be interrupted by a roommate or pet.

Even if someone hops on a call after work with little to no preparation, everyone is very busy with their jobs and other responsibilities. I can think of a million things I could get done instead of sitting at a computer waiting for a date to sign on, only to flake on the entire thing.

And we haven't even spoken about the nerves associated with a date! You may be calm, cool and collected, but a lot of people can't help but feel a knot in their stomach as your date time approaches. Those butterflies are usually led by excitement, but it's not exactly a pleasant feeling - only to be for nothing when someone decides to skip without warning.

 

Of course, things come up. A late work meeting gets scheduled, a child's dentist appointment gets moved, or your internet is down. That's fine - but you need to let your date know as soon as possible. A simple text or message on the dating app stating what happened and asking for a good time to reschedule is easy to do and much appreciated on the other side.

There's also a chance another relationship is progressing that you want to focus on, or after another look at their profile, you decide your date is likely not a match after all. Still, you need to communicate that you won't be making yourself available for your scheduled date. Be polite yet straightforward - and most importantly, no ghosting.

Dating in the current climate is hard enough. Don't make it even more difficult by taking away someone else's time.

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(Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter, eepurl.com/dpHcH for updates and tips.)

(c)2020 Erika Ettin, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.