Relationship expert and professional matchmaker Denise Levy provides tips for singles looking to find love while social distancing because of the coronavirus.

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This might seem like the worst possible time to find love.

The government recommends social distancing, or keeping about 6 feet between you and everyone else, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. We asked relationship expert Denise Levy, a certified life coach and professional matchmaker for MatchMaker Gulf Coast, to provide some advice for singles on finding love.

“In times like this, we need to remember that we cannot control the situation but we can choose how to perceive it,” Levy said. “For instance, the term social distancing sets us up for a negative mindset of perceived social isolation when really we should be socially connecting while physically distancing. When you flip to this mindset and perception, it is easier to see the opportunities for connection.”

Can people find love during a pandemic? If so, how?

“Singles looking to meet other singles still have options despite the stay-at-home suggestion. I personally believe this is the absolute best time for singles to be dating – virtually that is. Keep using your favorite dating app or try out a few new ones to find new potential dates.

“There is a hidden benefit to virtual dating during the pandemic. It forces you to slow dating down and actually take the time to get to know someone and form a connection before you meet face to face. In many ways, the pandemic is the antidote to casual hookups and might even result in more healthy relationships forming during this time of physically distancing.

“For virtual first dates, I recommend having a brief, virtual meet and greet. This is what us matchmakers refer to as ’Screen in Fifteen.’ Consider a virtual coffee date to get to know each other using a video chat platform – even in 2020.”

1. Schedule a video chat.

Arrange a video chat using your preferred method: Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, etc.

2. Skip the cellphone.

Use a desktop computer or laptop – not mobile phone – and check out the angle. You don’t want someone peering up at your chin.

3. Test it out.

Test out your preferred video dating method in advance. Make sure you have a strong internet connection and good audio quality. There are always glitches – even in 2020.

4. Ensure good lighting.

If possible, use natural light from a window. If using light from your home, make sure it is not too dark or too strong. In either case, make sure you are not in a halo or shadow. Light in front of you at a 45-degree angle is probably best, but test it out. It makes a difference.

5. Dress to impress.

Looking your best is part of the dating process. Your best self is more likely to shine through when you are looking your best. The hidden benefit is that when you dress up, you feel good about yourself and it increases confidence.

6. Look at the camera.

This is the equivalent of eye contact. Don’t forget to smile.

7. Be prepared.

Have a story or topic that you can discuss if there is a lull in conversation. You won’t have your surroundings to make small talk.

8. Keep expectations low.

You can get a feel for someone over video chat, but keep in mind it is not always going to be a full representation of the person. Don’t expect chemistry to show up on the first video date. If you feel neutral about the date, simply give that person another chance and ask for a second date.

9. Make plans.

Always make plans for your second video date before you end the first one. This will help to limit the “when should I call again?” game that goes on in our heads.

10. End the screen time in 15 minutes.

Keep the first conversation brief. Most people get nervous or feel awkward on first dates already. Adding the video component might be easy for some people, but try to understand that not everyone will feel comfortable. You can have a longer second date. Think of it as baby steps.