SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Social distancing has changed the dating game, but quarantine hasn't slowed the need for romantic connections.
"I did have a virtual dinner date where we cooked the same meal at the same time, and then ate together over FaceTime," said Brianna Haag of San Francisco.
Haag is describing one of her dates in quarantine. The 35-year-old San Francisco resident and Director of Account Based Marketing at Hired, Inc. has embraced virtual dating. She recently took part in League Live, which is a video dating mixer that sets up users on short dates.
"I met three people that I felt like I connected with and something that I like about it is, it's pretty quick. It's about three minutes that you have to have a conversation with someone, but if it's going well, you can choose to extend it," she said.
Several dating apps including Bumble and The League have rolled out video calling features. Hinge is also encouraging users to keep their dates digital.
"I think it's really efficient, because you have that opportunity to get that sense of chemistry, that energy level, that you would typically not discover until you have a first date with them," said Haag.
Amanda Bradford, Founder and CEO of The League, says engagement on the app has increased and users are more responsive.
"March 22 was kind of the mark, where we saw a huge spike in users and people willing to actually video date now," said Bradford. "I think prior to this, it was a little bit scary and maybe you needed extra courage to do it, but now there's really no other option."
Bradford says 30% of the video calls on the app last longer than an hour.
"It's an unprecedented opportunity to actually get to know someone prior to getting physical. You can't get physical at this point, so I think dating is all about finding emotional connection and connecting with someone on a deeper level."
The League shared some tips for video dating. They include looking "first date" great, setting the scene by having good lighting, and having a back pocket topic that doesn't include the coronavirus pandemic. It's also helpful to give a compliment that's not about appearances, and share an experience like watch a show at the same time.
Silicon Valley-based Linx Dating Founder and CEO Amy Andersen says she's been seeing more interest in her matchmaking services. With people self-isolating, the need to create connections is more present than ever.
"I think that this time has really allowed people to look within and really focus on what's important to them, to look at their values their mid to long term goals," said Andersen. "And through introspection and catharsis really find out what they're looking for."
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