How to date during a lockdown: Tips for striking up an online romance from Celebs Go Dating's Anna Williamson

Anna Williamson poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film "Daddy's Home" in London, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
Relationships expert and Celebs Go Dating presenter Anna Williamson has shared her top tips for virtual romance (Photo:AP)

Anna Williamson is a life coach, counsellor, author and TV and radio broadcaster known for presenting E4’s Celebs Go Dating. Here she gives advice on dating during lockdown.

According to some reports, the average cost of a date in the UK is £127.

Wow, I don’t know about you, but that seems like an extraordinary amount of money!

So it may, perhaps, come as a bit of a silver lining for those currently on the dating scene that the only way they can ‘hook up’ during the coronavirus lockdown is from the comfort of their own home, virtually.

Dating is always best when it’s in person. There is nothing that can rival all of your senses fizzing at being in somebody’s company; that initial hug, the awkward tip-toeing around each other, the “do I kiss him/her?”

But when we aren’t able to be together we have to embrace other means and, in actual fact, dating via online video call can actually be hugely effective. Most importantly, it’s loads of fun!

Girl waving at laptop screen and holding a mug
A strong wifi connection can now help form a strong relationship

Watch: Dating at a Distance - Brad and Steve have their first online date

There are lots of options out there - sometimes overwhelmingly so - but it’s important to not spread yourself too thin and join every single dating app under the sun.

Just keep it to one or two apps or websites.

Choose one that best suits you. There really is one for everybody nowadays depending on your sexual preference, religion, age, love intentions - you name it.

Confide in close friends to see if there are any in particular they can recommend. A tried and tested approach is always going to help ease any nerves.

Keep your dating profile authentic and appealing. Imagine you were applying for a really enticing job and you wanted to get the best version of yourself across.

Young african american man holding smartphone texting message or play mobile game sit on sofa at home, smiling millennial black guy using social media app messenger, surfing web on phone indoors
Don't be overwhelmed by the choice of app options - go for the one that best suits you

Read more: Yahoo UK’s lockdown dating show explores virtual relationships

Look natural - don’t try too hard and wear something too formal or over the top. Choose smart casual and perhaps wear an accessory or a statement ‘lip’ to subtly stand out.

If you match a date, once you’ve had a bit of introductory chat, arrange a ‘date night in’ - FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp and Zoom all offer free video calls.

Put as much effort in as you would on a usual face-to-face date. Spruce yourself up and wear something that says ‘I’ve made an effort’ but is comfortable - jeans and a nice top never fail.

The good news for ladies who like wearing blister-inducing heels is that they’re not required. Spritz yourself with some scent and you’re good to go.

Decide on an activity or something fun to do. Talking can feel quite forced and awkward at first, so doing something can create a really good distraction and allow you to relax with each other whilst finding out more about their personality at the same time.

handsome and happy man smiling and looking at screen of laptop
Be natural, dress smart casual and choose something fun to do for your virtual date

Cocktail making, cooking dinner together ‘virtually’, playing a game or quiz can all be great ways to get to know one another while having some fun at the same time.

Conversation is key. Have a few interesting facts, stories or anecdotes about yourself ready to share and ask ‘open’ questions to find out about your date too.

Once the date has come to a natural end, be honest... have you enjoyed it?

What do you like about them? Thank them for their time and if you’d like to ‘see’ them again, say it. If it’s not for you, that’s perfectly ok and it’s the polite thing to tell them that.

Couple chatting  to each other over "skype".
Don't be afraid to be honest with your date about how you feel

So just because we’re having to stay in, it doesn’t mean you can’t ‘get out there’ still.

Dating is something everyone can and should enjoy, regardless of how and where it can take place.

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Shop Anna Williamson’s Book

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Breaking Mad by Anna Williamson | £7.37 from Amazon


Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK’s ‘Dating at a Distance’