If there's a hottie in your class who you've been pinning to your Zoom screen all semester, it's high time to shoot your shot. The process of asking out your Zoom crush can tricky, but gauging their interest in you isn't impossible. Like everything else, school and dating have changed dramatically due to the pandemic. But one thing remains: those giddy feelings of exhilaration and anticipation that come with a new crush.
You may be wondering whether you should approach asking out this fine virtual classmate differently than you approached pre-pandemic crushes. In some ways, the answer is yes.
Now that some classes are virtual and you're not going into a classroom every day, people can't communicate interest in the subtle ways that worked before. You can't really make prolonged eye-contact with your crush during a presentation. They can't "coincidentally" choose the seat next to you every day.
"Unlike in-person encounters, where we are able to rely on important signals related to non-verbal cues and body language, we are relatively limited when a person moves from a three-dimensional being to a box on our computer screen," Dr. Jess Carbino, a former sociologist for Bumble and Tinder, tells Elite Daily.
Plus, it's easier to get the wrong impression of someone when they're not physically in front of you IRL. "At school, you see people on their good days and their bad days," Maria Avgitidis, dating expert, professional matchmaker, and CEO of Agape Match, tells Elite Daily. "You can learn their micro-behaviors and decide if this person is someone you enjoy being around." Without that physical advantage, it's easier to build someone up in your mind and then feel disappointed when they don't meet your expectations offline.
Another challenge is figuring out how to actually ask out your Zoom crush, considering you've never met before. You can't just peep a book on their desk and ask them what they're reading. Or, you know, casually bump into the object of your daydreams at the library. Who knew they'd be there at approximately 6:30 p.m.?! (You did, because you overheard them talking on the phone on their way out of class.)
"All of this missing information even further diminishes our ability to elegantly make the first move, virtually," Carbino says. "We instead must be more creative and try to use the digital tools available to us to transition from crush to date."
Carbino recommends using Zoom to gauge whether the interest may be mutual before making a move, especially since it's the platform you're already using for school. "I would recommend using the chat function to connect over something that may be of interest to the person," she says.
For example, did your poli sci crush come up with a fire foreign affairs perspective? Did the hottie in your English class make an astute observation about the book you're reading? Slide them a message along the lines of, "Great question. Was wondering the same thing and also was thinking that last week's reading really touched on this subject, too. What do you think?"
By complimenting your Zoom crush and asking them a question, Carbino explains, you can build the kind of familiarity that can transition to texting, and eventually, a socially-distanced (or virtual) date.
"Alternatively, if you have their social media, slide into their DMs. It'll tell them you are interested in them beyond school life," suggests Avgitidis. "From there, start a conversation." When it comes time to ask them out, she recommends saying something direct, like, "'Would you like to go for a walk at the park tomorrow?' They could reply with a yes, an alternative date, or just say no and now you'll know what you need to know!" says Avgitidis.
And even if they do say yes and you schedule a safe, socially-distanced date for next week, be excited, but don't forget that virtual vibes and IRL vibes can be really different. "You don't have the physical interaction to determine if you really do like them," says Avgitidis. "Keep your expectations grounded."
Navigating dating in this digital-first world can be overwhelming and straight-up awkward. But don't sweat it — you've got this! Whether it's online or offline, approaching your crush with honesty, empathy, and respect is always the way to go.
Dr. Jess Carbino, former sociologist for Bumble and Tinder
Maria Avgitidis, dating expert, professional matchmaker, and CEO of Agape Match