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Gen Z wants to see you on video before going on a first date IRL

Match’s survey of singles found increased use of video dating to vet chemistry before taking the plunge to meet IRL.

Gen Z wants to see you on video before going on a first date IRL
[Source Images: Eugene Mymrin/Getty]

Last year we heard about the pandemic’s proliferation of roommate sex. This year, Match’s 11th annual Singles in America study reveals that as COVID remains stubbornly with us, it’s forced people to rethink what they want in a partner and how they’re getting it. The latter is more tech-heavy than ever.

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Zoom and other video platforms aren’t just for work any longer. As the boundaries between work and life blurred, singles reported increased use of video dating to vet chemistry before taking the plunge to meet IRL. Among the statistics:

  • 27% of singles overall had a video date before meeting IRL; by age that increased to 51% of Gen Z and 45% Millennials
  • 71% of these singles said they used video to decide if they wanted to meet up in person
  • 63% of singles say they would be more comfortable on a first date if they had video chatted with the person before meeting up
  • 78% of singles who video dated say they felt romantic chemistry during the chat (83% of men and 72% of women), and 34% believe they could fall in love over a video
  • 71% of singles overall (70% of young singles) prefer to get to know someone via phone call, not text, prior to meeting someone in person for a first date
  • Young singles are 10 times more bothered by distracting or messy backgrounds and lighting

Surprisingly, the report revealed that the phone is still used for making important calls. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of all singles overall (70% of young singles) said they wanted to hear someone’s voice to get to know them rather than text, before agreeing to a first date.

The pandemic made courting less casual and singles more critical in the past year. According to Helen Fisher, Ph.D., Match’s chief science advisor, “While COVID wreaked havoc with our lives, it also triggered momentous post-traumatic growth. Singles have re-evaluated themselves and their plans. They’ve grown up. Bad boys and girls are passe; today’s singles want educated, successful, grounded, open-minded, and committed partners—a reset that will increase family stability for decades to come.”

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About the author

Lydia Dishman is a staff editor for Fast Company's Work Life section. She has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.

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