Experts say video dates are here to stay.

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Although vaccine availability is on the rise and in-person dates are soon to be safe again (#bless), that doesn't mean virtual dates are going extinct. During the pandemic, singles got used to FaceTiming dates before meeting face-to-face, and, surprisingly, dating experts say that this order of courtship will continue post-pandemic.

According to a recent survey conducted by dating app Hinge, 65% of users who have been on a video date plan to continue using virtual dates post-pandemic as "a low-pressure first step to gauge compatibility before meeting in-person." When you think about it, it makes sense: Why risk wasting the time, money, and energy it takes to meet for an IRL date when you can hop on a call and see if someone is really worth it first? Sure, it's not quite the same as meeting face-to-face, but an authentic conversation should give you a sense of whether or not you'd enjoy meeting up IRL.

According to Hinge's Director of Relationship Science Logan Ury, virtual dates can be an "easy yet valuable 'virtual vibe check.' You can skip the long commute and expensive cocktails while getting a sense of your match's sense of humor, values, and personality."

However, let's address the elephant in the room: Virtual dates are awkward. You're essentially inviting a stranger into your home and giving them a close-up shot of your face in high-definition. There's no background noise to drown out the strained silences or waiter to banter with—it's just you and your date locking eyes onscreen.

But don't worry: Dating apps know that video dates are uncomfortable, which is why they created new features to break the ice. Below are three ways you can make your date less awkward thanks to these dating app features.

1. In-app games

Games make everything less awkward. Office holiday parties and high school reunions would be even more cringe-worthy without trivia, giving you and your old lab partner something to talk about. The same can be said for virtual dates, which is why dating app Bumble created a feature called "Night In," which allows users to play games with each other over video chat.

Once you've matched with someone in the Bumble app, you can select the "Night In" icon to opt into playing a game one-on-one. "Night In" is available every night from 6 p.m. until midnight in your local time zone, and if you schedule a virtual date, Bumble will send you notifications reminding you of the date. As of now, "Night In" offers trivia with plans to offer more games soon. Show off your Friends knowledge and bond over shared interests without the pressure of impressing your date IRL.

2. Video prompts

So, you bit the bullet and hopped on a video call with a match. Now what? Luckily, Hinge just launched a feature called Video Prompts to save you from crickets-chirping silence. Once you're on a video call, you'll see the option to click "Video Prompts" in the corner of your screen. Then, choose between eight different prompt themes with names like "Let's Get Weird" and "Not So Serious" to kickstart conversations. Uncomfortable chat: avoided.

3. Date night kits

If you're looking for an activity to participate in during your virtual date, look no further than the Hinge Date Night Kit. The dating app partnered with Uncommon Goods to create a cocktail/mocktail kit to spice up virtual date night.

Here's how it works: You buy one Date Night Kit for yourself, complete with the ingredients and directions for shaking up three boozy (or non-boozy) cocktails (plus conversation prompts), and the brand will send your date one for free. Don't worry: You don't have to be that weirdo asking for their shipping address—you send them a link and they'll submit it all on their own. Cheers!

Hinge Virtual Date Night Kit
$30.00
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Uncommon Goods

Enjoy virtual dates without the awkwardness.