Podcast: LETS TALK...With ThisFunktional

May 5, 2020

Online dating advice during COVID-19 from the master of first times

Written by Ann Bernard 

In the military, we use the acronym BLUF, bottom line up front in emails and presentations to highlight the most important point(s) to the recipient of our correspondence. 

Let me do that here and I’m going to be real and get personal with you.

BLUF: When it comes to online dating during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 it’s all about your communication skills. Can you engage, entertain, and impress someone through dialogue and storytelling?

Gone are the days of sending a few messages and meeting for a hook-up without having actual interactions. 

Gone are the days of dating but not actually communicating and connecting with the person you’re meeting for the first time. 

Gone are the days of using external factors, activities, environments, and other people to fill in where you or your date lacked in the ability to communicate. 

That last one hits me hard. 

I’m single.

I do (have done) online dating, admittedly, not right now because being an entrepreneur during these unprecedented times is keeping me entirely too busy.

But if you listen to the last three episodes of my first time stories on the #365Firsts Podcast – they’re all about dating. 

I’ve been on 100’s of first dates around the world. 

One thing you’ll hear me say in those episodes is that “I don’t do lame. I don’t do boring. I don’t do typical.”

Why?

Most people bore me. 

Why?

They don’t know how to open up, get vulnerable, express themselves, and share stories about what they’ve done and who they are. 

Because of this, I stopped meeting men for coffee, lunch, drinks, or dinner dates.

I stopped doing any types of dates that only involved sitting down with someone and talking because it was usually a snooze and yawn fest and I found myself doing entirely too much of the talking. 

Instead, the vast majority of my dates pre-coronavirus involved being active and bonus points if we did something new or for the first time.

That way, I would get something out of the date, even if the person couldn’t hold a conversation or wasn’t interesting, fun, or entertaining. 

Clearly, if I were to date right now, it would make the current dating situation a nightmare for me since the main option is to meet over a video call to talk. 

Do you find yourself in this nightmare? What end of the nightmare are you in? Do you video date with people who can’t hold conversations or do you have a tough time communicating and being engaging?


How to Be More Engaging, Interesting, and Entertaining with (First Time) Storytelling

Here’s a quick recap in case you forgot what dating is about because it has lost it’s meaning these last few years.

It’s about two people GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER. 

It’s not about how quickly you can get laid.

It’s not about a free meal.

It’s not about killing time because you’re lonely.

It’s not about trying to improve your self-esteem through the validation of others. 

It’s about getting to know another human being to build rapport, a connection, assess future compatibility, and make decisions on your continued interactions with that person.

Dating requires being able to allow people to get to know you and possessing the ability to express who you are and what you’re about.

A key factor in this is being able to share emotions, feelings, and thoughts.


If this is difficult for you then you might need to work through it, figure out what it’s all about and get additional help.

And consider that you’re not ready to date.

Or you might just need practice and think through what you’d like to share and how to share it. 

You are the sum of your experiences.

You were shaped (and possibly defined) by the things you have done and that have happened to you. 

An excellent way of sharing with others who you are is by telling stories of the things you’ve done and experienced.

When you start the story from the first time/first experience – you are better able to paint the full picture and draw people in as you highlight your growth, progress, and journey. 

A typical get to know you question is “What do you do for a living.”

A much better question is “what’s the first thing you wanted to be as a kid and how did that lead you to what you do today?”

It’s a deep and loaded question that if someone is open to sharing can lead to talking for hours.

But you don’t need to jump right into the deep end of the first time storytelling pool.

You can use the first time story prompts to start conversations and have stories ready to tell that don’t follow the typical awkward, lame, slow, and boring “get to know you process” but still allow for more interesting and engaging conversations.

Register for a FREE Webinar to learn more about how to become a (first time) storyteller to improve your online dating game.

A Little Show and Tell


You are meeting your dates at home.

Turn that into a huge benefit and leverage it to do some show tell.

What items do you have around your house that’s tied to an experience, to a story?

Bring your date to the item or the item to your date so you can tell them the story. 

Think about it. What items do you have from your travels, adventures, childhood, hobbies, or interests that can serve as a way for you to share the story of the first time you started, experienced, and did something to now. 

Do you play an instrument? Make beer at home? Do crafts? What’s in your garage? In your closet? Hanging on your walls?

You don’t need to overcomplicate this either.

A coffee maker holds the story of the first time you ever had coffee.

A pair of hiking boots holds the story of why you first wanted to hike, buying your first pair of boots, your first hike and the many that came after that.

A dress in your closet holds the story of first seeing the dress, trying it on, and a special occasion where you wore it.

Or it could be something you bought because the first time you saw it – you just had to have it.

Explain why you just had to have it, what was the appeal, the drive, the need behind it. 

Or it’s a show and tell of how you can touch your nose with tongue and how you discovered this oddly weird ability.

Or you can wiggle your ears.

Or whatever other special, weird, and odd ability you have.

Of course, this isn’t necessarily first date recommendations… and ideally, it always involves keeping your clothes on.

I could spend days walking around my house telling stories and sharing who I am with someone this way.

And I kinda can wiggle one of my ears…

BONUS POINTS. Sharing and Teaching What You Know


Can you teach your date something new?

Again, this might not be a first date thing to do but it definitely could be something for ongoing dates.

What could you teach each other?

Be creative about this and it doesn’t need to be something you’re a pro at. 

You could even work on a project together if you’re really hitting it off.

Does anyone want to be my video editing date?

Or I really want to learn to tie a tie.

How awesome would it be if you mailed me one of your ties, taught me how to tie it, and the first time we meet in person you wear a shirt for the tie and I tie it on you? 

Or join a class and learn something together.

One of the #365FirstsChallenge even yesterday was an intro to sign language class.

It would’ve been awesome to have been in that class with a date so now we could practice that new skill together on our video calls to keep growing and learning together. 

These are all ways to create real bonds and connections with another human being without needing to be physically together. 

Get CREATIVE!!

That’s the other BLUF to online dating during the COVID-19.

Don’t be lame, boring, or typical.

Find unique and fun ways to connect with people even though it’s through a video screen.

Register for a FREE Webinar to learn more about how to become a (first time) storyteller to improve your online dating game.

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