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34 Best Virtual Date Ideas, Must-Knows & Where Most People Go Wrong Online

Distance can be discouraging, but don’t let it stop you from going on dates. These virtual date ideas will close the distance between you and your partner.

virtual date ideas online

Remember when Zoom was just for boring work meetings? Yeah, those days are gone. Even grandma’s hopping on Zoom these days to play virtual bingo or, heaven forbid, join a dating site! Now, if you’re thinking that virtual date ideas can’t possibly hold a candle to the real deal, think again.

Sure, you might be miles apart—or just socially distanced for other reasons—but with a splash of creativity, your virtual date ideas can ignite sparks that feel just as electrifying as an in-person meet-cute. [Read: 26 best dating apps for a relationship in 2023 & secrets to find your one!]

The psychology of virtual dates and connection

Whether you’re igniting a new flame, keeping the home fires burning in a long-term relationship, or exploring the realms of long-distance love, you might wonder: Can you really vibe with someone through a screen?

Don’t worry, psychology’s got your back! Let’s dive deep into the nonverbal cues, mirror neurons, and yes, even the paradox of choice that comes with virtual date ideas.

1. Nonverbal cues

Ah, the infamous 7-38-55 Rule by Dr. Albert Mehrabian. What’s that? In any communication, 7% is from the words we say, 38% is from our tone of voice, and a whopping 55% is from our body language.

Imagine that on a Zoom call! Sure, you may not be able to smell their perfume or cologne, but body language, like a flirtatious smile or enthusiastic nod, is still in play. Just remember, it’s not what you say but how you say it—literally.

2. Mirror neurons

You know when you watch someone yawn and suddenly you’re yawning too? Thank your mirror neurons for that.

These neurons actually help us ‘feel’ other people’s actions, and they’re hard at work during online dates as well.

Even on a screen, these little brain wonders are helping you sync with your date emotionally. It’s like your neurons are having a little dance party in your honor!

3. The paradox of choice

Okay, so you’ve got Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Netflix Party—the list of online date ideas is endless. But why is it that you still can’t pick one?

Barry Schwartz’s theory of the paradox of choice explains that having too many options can lead to decision paralysis. Your romantic rendezvous can become a “scroll-mantic” nightmare. So, simplify! Sometimes the best virtual date ideas are the straightforward ones.

Creative virtual date ideas

Maybe you swiped right, maybe you’ve been in a long-distance relationship, or perhaps you’re just a busy couple in need of some new adventures.

Whatever your situation, one thing’s for sure: An awesome date night doesn’t have to require an expensive dinner reservation or a weekend getaway.

The digital world offers a playground of virtual date ideas, versatile enough for new flames and seasoned couples alike. So put on your comfy pants, grab your device of choice, and get ready for some memorable moments that are just a click away.

1. Virtual cooking class

How about a saucy evening without stepping out? Pick a recipe, set up your devices, and start cooking while video chatting.

It’s like MasterChef but with less Gordon Ramsay yelling. Whether you nail the dish or end up ordering pizza, you’ve made a memory and maybe even a new inside joke.

2. Online game night

It’s not just Monopoly boards and Scrabble anymore, the world of online games is vast! Opt for interactive games that promote discussion like “20 Questions” or trivia games.

You’ll find out if your date is a history buff, a movie geek, or perhaps a hidden genius. [Read: 250 fun, deep relationship questions for couples to feel closer & more loved]

3. Movie night with a twist

Just ’cause you can’t pass the popcorn doesn’t mean you can’t share a movie experience. Use syncing apps to watch together and text or video your real-time reactions. Whether you’re both laughing or gripping your seats, it’s like you’re in the same room.

4. Virtual tour of each other’s cities

You can’t jet-set just yet, but Google Earth is the next best thing. Show them your stomping grounds, share stories tied to those locations, and you’ve got yourself a date that’s both personal and unique.

5. Mystery night

Here’s a chance to be both student and teacher. Each picks a topic they’re passionate about and shares for 15 minutes.

Whether you’re learning how to make origami swans or listening to an impromptu talk on cryptocurrency, it’s as enlightening as it is fun.

6. Create a shared playlist

What’s more romantic than a personalized soundtrack for your relationship? Collaborate on a Spotify playlist and see what musical gems you both bring to the table. It’s like making a mixtape for the 21st century! [Read: 22 throwback songs that every generation will enjoy]

7. Read a book together

No book club membership required! Choose a story or a couple of chapters to read in advance and then discuss. If your date is analyzing character development while you’re still stuck on the cover art, you’ll know if you’re truly compatible.

8. Wine or coffee tasting

You won’t need to be a sommelier or a barista to enjoy this one. Pick the same wine or coffee and share your thoughts as you sip. It’s like having your own little tasting event, but you get to pick the soundtrack.

9. DIY craft night

Grab some paper, glue, or heck, even some old magazines. A crafty date night lets you chat and create at the same time.

And let’s be honest, even if your craft project turns out to be a Pinterest fail, it’s still a win because you’ve done it together. [Read: Creatively cheap – 35 date ideas to have fun on a budget]

10. Talent show night

Unearth those hidden talents! Maybe you can do magic tricks with a deck of cards, or perhaps your date can do impressions of celebrities. A talent show date night could be the most entertaining and surprising evening you’ve had in ages.

11. Virtual scavenger hunt

Send each other on mini-adventures within your own homes. Look for things like “something that reminds you of our first date” or “your favorite book.” It’s a cute and playful way to get to know each other’s spaces.

12. Cook-off challenge

Pick an ingredient that both of you must use in a dish. Then cook separately and present your culinary masterpieces to each other. Think Iron Chef, but with more flirting and less judgment. [Read: Long distance relationship boredom – 25 signs & secrets to spice the LDR up]

13. Outdoor virtual date

Take your date outside! Go on a nature walk and share your surroundings via video chat. It’s the closest thing to a hiking date without the need for bug spray.

14. Fitness challenge

Both into working out? Do a quick workout session together via video. Whether it’s yoga, HIIT, or dance workouts, breaking a sweat has never been so romantic.

15. Journal together

Take 10 minutes to write down how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, or what you hope for the future. Share what you’re comfortable sharing. It’s a beautifully intimate way to connect. [Read: 20 romantic secrets & examples to write a love letter & melt their heart]

16. Astrology night

Whether you’re hardcore into your horoscope or just find it entertaining, spend an evening exploring each other’s birth charts. Even skeptics can have fun discussing whether they truly act like a Leo or a Gemini.

17. Virtual pet playdate

Got pets? Introduce them to each other via video chat. It’s a relaxed, fun way to spend some time and hey, if your pets hit it off, that’s a good sign, right?

18. Charades or Pictionary

Classic games like Charades or Pictionary can easily be played over video calls and offer endless laughs. Plus, it’s a great way to test your partner’s ability to interpret your frantic miming.

19. Travel dreaming

Share the top 5 places you’d love to visit someday and why. This can spark conversations about mutual interests, future dreams, and vacation plans for when you can travel together. [Read: Most romantic vacation spots for couples]

How to make virtual dates feel “real”

You’ve scoured through virtual date ideas, now how do you make these pixelated interactions feel like you’re actually sitting across the same table?

Here’s how you can turn virtual dates into something straight out of a rom-com, with a sprinkle of psychology, of course, to keep things interesting.

1. Plan the transition from small talk to deep conversations

Taking inspiration from Robert Sternberg’s triangular theory of love, consider starting with light, non-committal topics and progressively moving into deeper territories.

This creates a sense of growing intimacy, almost as if you’re both on a physical date hopping from a coffee shop to a romantic dinner.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Everyone’s Wi-Fi glitches, and maybe your cat will make an unexpected cameo. That’s life. According to the spotlight effect, your date likely won’t notice or care as much as you think they will. The imperfections might even add a touch of spontaneity and realness to your virtual interaction.

3. Compliment and listen actively

Channel B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning by showering your date with sincere compliments and demonstrating active listening. Positive reinforcement can go a long way in replicating the warm, fuzzy feelings we get from in-person interactions.

Pitfalls to avoid on virtual dates

Look, we get it. Virtual dating seems like it should be a piece of cake. No need to worry about who picks up the check, or whether your hair is having a “moment.”

But just like in-person dating, there are pitfalls that can turn your charming virtual date into a cringefest.

Whether you’re navigating long-distance love, spicing up a busy relationship, or exploring new connections online, avoiding these common missteps can be your key to virtual dating success. Now, let’s dive into what NOT to do. [Read: Long distance relationship – 46 LDR tips to make it work & not screw up]

1. Technological glitches

We’ve all been there—talking passionately and suddenly, you’re frozen mid-sentence on the screen, looking like you’re about to sneeze. Technology can sometimes feel like that third wheel on your virtual date who just won’t take a hint.

While it’s a hassle, it’s also a chance to laugh at the absurdity of modern romance. A strong Wi-Fi signal might not be the way to a person’s heart, but it sure helps keep the conversation flowing.

2. Text-based miscommunications

Have you ever been in a situation where your “LOL” was misinterpreted as sarcastic rather than genuinely amused? [Read: 48 rules & texting etiquette for guys AND girls in the early stages of dating]

Media richness theory tells us that not all communication channels are created equal, and text-based chats lack tone and nuance. So maybe save the serious discussions for video or voice calls, where you can hear tone and see expressions.

3. Avoiding catfishing

For those of you who are brand new and exploring fresh connections online, catfishing is a real concern. Think of it as the digital version of pretending to be a millionaire when you’re really drowning in student loans.

Social identity theory reminds us that online personas are often an idealized version of who we truly are. The rule here is simple: Verify, then trust.

4. Unrealistic expectations

Long-distance couples, listen up! It’s all too easy to put your partner on a pedestal when you’re not witnessing their daily habits, like leaving wet towels on the bed.

Remember, they’re as human as the rest of us. Idealizing can lead to disappointment so let’s keep it real.

5. Lack of planning

Now, for the busy couples out there, you might think virtual dating doesn’t require planning. Wrong! Just because you’re not booking a restaurant doesn’t mean you can just wing it. A well-thought-out plan, perhaps using one of our virtual date ideas, can make all the difference.

6. Oversharing

If you’ve recently swiped right and are embarking on a new relationship, be cautious about oversharing. The disinhibition effect reveals that the online atmosphere might make you more open than you would be face-to-face, but this isn’t always beneficial. Overexposure too early can lead to awkwardness or regret.

7. Not setting boundaries

Established couples, even though you’re both in your separate comfort zones, boundaries still matter. The realm of psychology reminds us that personal space is essential, physically or virtually.

Be clear about how much time you’ll spend and what subjects are off-limits during your online escapade. [Read: Boundaries in a relationship – 43 healthy dating rules you MUST set early on]

8. The absence of closure

If your virtual date has the unfortunate aim of ending a relationship, don’t skip the need for closure. The Zeigarnik effect stresses the importance of tying up emotional loose ends, so make it clean and respectful for both parties.

9. The dreaded silence

Lastly, to all types of relationships: beware the dreaded silence. While silence can sometimes be golden, other times it can lead to a drop in energy faster than a deflating balloon. Know when to deploy the power of a pregnant pause and when to fill the void.

The world may be full of glitches, but love doesn’t have to be

Before we part ways, let’s drop one more wisdom bomb on you: Dunbar’s Number. This theory posits that humans can only maintain a limited number of meaningful relationships—around 150, to be exact.

So don’t just go on a spree of random virtual dates, focus on quality interactions that can blossom into something truly special.

No excuses, people! Whether you’re cities, states, or countries apart, use this list of virtual date ideas to make it work.

The world may be full of glitches, but love doesn’t have to be one of them. So go on, fire up that webcam, and let technology be the match that lights your romantic spark.

[Read: Signs your long distance flirtationship won’t work]

Don’t let distance get you down, try these virtual date ideas to bring you and your beau closer together. From watching movies to playing games against each other, make the most of your relationship with these ideas!

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...