New Study: Video Dating Has Changed the Rules of Romance

Woman trying video dating on her laptop

Dating in 2020 is different than it’s ever been before. Singles faced with quarantines, distancing guidelines and restaurant restrictions are being forced to come up with creative ways to connect. It’s a brave new world of video dating and masked meetups, and it comes with a whole new set of romance rules.

To help decipher them, EliteSingles polled 1,000 singles about the new dating no-nos. From why dating dress codes now include masks, to the rise of playlisting (the newest dating trend), here’s how social distancing and video dating have changed the love landscape.

Masks are a must-have dating accessory

Wondering what to wear on a first date? While little black dresses and button-down shirts will never go out of style, there’s a new accessory that singles see as a must-have: a mask.

In fact, those with a no-mask stance might be hurting their chances of even getting a date. That’s because a majority of singles – 58% – would flat out refuse to date someone who didn’t wear a mask.

Additionally, two-thirds of those surveyed (63%) say that they’d insist on wearing a face mask on an in-person date. That figure includes 22% who would want to keep masks on at all times and 41% who would only want to remove their mask if they were seated. A further 9% of singles wouldn’t date in person even with a mask, leaving just 28% who’d be comfortable on a maskless date.

Finally, for some singles, it’s not just about wearing any old mask. They’re making masks an integral part of their dating wardrobe. 14% of men and 20% of women say that it’s important for your mask to match your date outfit.

Singles are embracing video dating

Of course, with lockdown rules varying from state to state, it’s not always possible to go on an in-person date. With singles still longing to connect with each other, a solution is needed. And that’s where video dating is coming into its own.

Whether it’s Zoom, Hangouts, FaceTime, or another service, for nearly half of singles in the survey, the pandemic has significantly boosted their interest in video dating.

46% say that experiencing social distancing has increased their desire to video chat with online dating contacts. That puts them in stark contrast to the 5% who say that they would never try it. Meanwhile, 7% were already video dating when the corona crisis began, and 42% say their opinion is unchanged by it.

The typical first date is changing

Video dating has also had an impact on what a typical first date looks like. For many singles, the ideal first date is still dinner and a movie. Yet how that happens has been updated for the video chat era.

26% of those asked about their ideal distanced date say that it involves watching the same movie from their separate homes. For 24%, it’s cooking the same meal from separate homes. Other top virtual date ideas include doing an online trivia night together-but-separately (18%), doing a virtual museum tour (16%), and even exercising together online (7%).

The dress code for these events has changed too, with 46% of singles surveyed saying that video dating means you can dress more casually than if you were meeting in person. While 41% would prefer to aim for the same level of elegance as a face-to-face date, others are on the fence between the two options. 13% of singles say that you should dress elegantly for a video date – but only on your top half!

Playlisting is the newest dating trend

The rise of video dating has also meant navigating new dating rules – and even a new dating trend. Forget ghosting and cuffing, the newest dating term to learn is “playlisting”.

Playlisting is when you’ve got multiple video dates lined up for a single night, almost as if you’re adding them to a playlist or video queue.

It’s a phenomenon in its early days but one that could become increasingly common: 31% of people – nearly one in three – say that they either have or would playlist someone. Meanwhile, one in ten singles (11%) who’ve used video dating during the pandemic say that they’ve been playlisted by someone else.

Video dating can be a path to love

Playlisting may or may not be good news for singles (the answer to that likely depends on your opinion of speed dating, to which playlisting is something of a cousin). What is good news is that video dating isn’t all about first dates. For some, it’s a way to find love.

42% of singles in the survey said that they would be happy referring to someone they’d only met via video as their boyfriend/girlfriend/partner (that said, EliteSingles still advises following our online dating safety tips with anyone you meet).

And this is not the only relationship milestone to go virtual: 26% of singles say they would be happy introducing a new partner to friends and family via a group video chat.

Finally, 48% of singles say that it’s possible to fall in love with someone you’ve only had the chance to meet via video. It goes to show that love will not be stopped by a pandemic. Not when you can find it without even leaving the house.

EliteSingles Editorial, October 2020

About this survey: all statistics based on a survey of 1090 singles from the USA, UK, and Canada. Survey commissioned by EliteSingles in October 2020. All data used is anonymous.

Any questions about sharing this survey can be directed to the EliteSingles PR team: [email protected] 

About the author: Sophie Watson

See more articles written by Sophie Watson