Are you social distancing to the best of your ability? Good, proud of you!
Listen, it’s difficult staying in all day, every day (I’ve had more than a few conversations with my houseplants), but you’re doing the right thing. And while we don’t have (as) much to entertain ourselves these days, we still have the internet, and our blessed phones offer a much-needed glimpse of the outside world.
If you, like me, refresh your social feeds every 30 or so seconds, you’ll see that people are getting creative to amuse themselves. Online dance parties are popping up left and right, entertainers are giving live performances, and people are experimenting with new ways to date.
But without physical interaction, fun date ideas can be difficult to think up. That’s where we come in.
1. Make your own cooking show.
If you aren’t already hooked on Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel, consider your time at home forever changed. Once you’ve lost yourself to hours of deliciously entertaining content, make a date out of what they do best.
“So many of my clients say they love cooking with a partner,” Claire AH, dating coach and owner of Friend of a Friend Matchmaking, says. “We’re all staying home and therefore cooking a lot more these days, so why not make a meal together over video?” Consider buying the same bottle of wine or making yourself the same cocktail to enjoy while honing your cooking skills, and collaborate on a playlist for some ambient background music.
If cooking sounds like too much effort, agree to order in from — and support — the same local restaurant using DoorDash, Seamless, or Uber Eats. You can go Dutch or pay for your date’s meal this time while they pay the next.
2. Attend a virtual performance.
With festivals, comedy nights, and the like cancelled or postponed, many artists and entertainers are taking their acts online.
“There are so many virtual concerts, plays, operas, symphonic performances, dance parties, storytelling nights, burlesque shows, etc. happening now, and a whole lot of them are inexpensive or even free,” AH says. “Plan to watch it together and then video chat through the whole thing. You can adjust the volume, talk through it to your heart’s content, or just sit in quiet awe together while appreciating something beautiful.”
Billboard has generously compiled an ever-updating list of virtual concerts and live streams to choose from.
3. Netflix and chill.
Just because you’re not physically together doesn’t mean you can’t engage in what’s become our favorite casual dating activity: Netflix and chill — so long as you do it at your separate residences. “If the initial date goes well, you can binge the entire series on future dates,” says Deanna Cobden, dating and relationship coach at DateWorks.
Netflix’s Chrome extension, Netflix Party, lets people stream together and –– bonus –– it’s free and super easy to figure out. Some viewing recommendations: “Love is Blind,” “Dating Around,” or, if you’re looking for some offbeat, trashy suspense, the new docu-series, “Tiger King,” does not disappoint.
And since there are suddenly a seemingly endless amount of Instagram Lives these days, you and your date can video chat while watching broadcasts via the platform’s new feature, Co-Watching.
4. Take a virtual tour.
Museums, zoos, and aquariums around the globe have opened their virtual doors to those who are looking for an escape and an education. According to Cobden, these spaces have become popular dating destinations as well. From the Louvre in Paris to the Georgia Aquarium, you and your date can peruse a variety of exhibits together. Select from a list of participating museums here and zoos and aquariums here.
5. Channel your inner gamer.
Games are a great way to escape reality and, with the right selection, an even better way to get to know someone. If you and your date both own a gaming system, you can play any co-op title together and connect over headsets. Overcooked, Animal Crossing and Mario Kart are fan favorites. If you happen to own the equipment, you can go on a virtual reality date using a VR headset and a mini-game collection like Rec Room where you can both communicate in real time and participate in activities together.
You can also mix a drink and play classic get-to-know you games like Never Have I Ever, Two Truths and a Lie, or Truth or Dare.
6. Host a virtual happy hour.
Many businesses working from home have taken to hosting Zoom happy hours. Cobden recommends you do the same with a date. Get to know each other over a Quarantini, which is 100% a real thing. Not in the mood for alcohol? Suggest a classic coffee date and brew a cup at home. If, at any point, things feel awkward and you’re not sure what to talk about next, try some of these conversation-starters to get the ball rolling.