Social Distance Date Ideas

social distance date ideas

Dating coach Connell Barrett answers your questions on finding love during the pandemic, getting girls to reply to your texts, and how to make your approaches (almost) rejection-proof. Read about social distance date ideas and more in the article below.

Social Distance Date Ideas

Do you have any tips on social distance date ideas? And when I like a woman, when is it OK to get physical, in the age of Corona? I haven’t touched a woman in seven months! But I also want to protect my health.  

—Anonymous  

I feel you, Anonymous. To paraphrase Sting, “You’re not alone at being alone.” Millions of guys are tired of pandemic-imposed dating rules. These days, America’s men are like a giant high-school class: bored, horny, and stuck inside at an abstinence lecture. 

The best social distance date ideas will be outdoors—say, a walk in the park, or drinks at a bar or restaurant with outside seating. 

Another social distance date idea is not about you being apart from her, but about you and her being apart from other people. So, to avoid large crowds, you and your potential squeeze could visit a winery (most of them feature outdoor seating), go hiking, and or check out a museum on a weekday, instead of on a busy weekend. 

social distance date ideas - hiking

If you’re considering getting physical with a new partner, be clear-eyed about potential consequences. Kissing and sex are the opposite of social distancing, which means you’d be putting yourself at risk. You could be carrying the virus, and so could she. 

That said, it’s unrealistic to expect that everyone will abstain. Dating already carries risks—from rejection to ghosting to heartbreak—yet we keep seeking love. If you decide to get up close and personal with your new crush, take some important precautions to minimize the added risk. 

Consider physical contact with a new partner only if…

  • Both of you have healthy, non-compromised immune systems.
  • You’ve both been diligent in mask-wearing and social-distancing.
  • Neither of you are showing symptoms. 
  • Confirmed cases in your home state are on the decline, and/or the number of cases is not alarmingly high.  

If you can tick off all of these boxes, then consider collapsing those 6 feet. Your health is important, but so is your heart. 

YOU HAD ME AT HELLO

I want to approach women, but I’m scared of rejection. I don’t want to be creepy or make a woman uncomfortable. What’s the best way to charmingly break the ice? 

—Paul, 37, London

I was once at a bookstore doing approach demonstrations for my client James. I saw a head-turning woman in a sleek leather jacket checking out non-fiction titles. 

“That’s an awesome jacket,” I told her. “You have great style.”

Her eyes lit up, we chatted for a bit, and we traded numbers for a date. 

My client James was impressed. “You were so confident,” he said. 

I was so confident because I knew she would probably respond well. How did I know? Because I didn’t “hit on her.” Instead, I gave her a small gift: a compliment. Basically, I didn’t give her anything to object to or to “reject.”  

Here’s a good rule of thumb when trying to decide what to say when approaching: Imagine you have a wife, and don’t say anything to the woman that would get you in trouble if your fictional missus heard you. 

In other words, keep your opener G-rated and friendly, and avoid saying anything overtly sexual or romantically-charged. Attractive women are approached often, usually poorly. Their guard is up. They’re expecting to be cat-called or objectified.  

But when your opener is innocent, it disarms her. She has nothing to push back against, and women find this approach to approaching charming. That’s why it gets good reactions. 

Here are three great ways to open a conversation with a woman that are (almost) rejection-proof. 

woman alone outside at cafe

THE COMPLIMENT OPENER

Give her a genuine, specific compliment about her style. Maybe you like her jacket or sneakers or her colorful tattoo: “Excuse me, miss. That’s a really cool Rolling Stones T-shirt. You have great style—and great taste in music.” If she feels the authenticity of your compliment, she will likely respond well and be open to talking some more. 

THE ADVICE OPENER

Ask for her for a tiny piece of advice that makes sense in the environment. For example, if you’re in line at Starbucks, you could say to the woman next to you, “What do you think—should I get a cake-pop or a brownie?” By asking her advice, you’re connecting with her, putting your nutritional fate in her hands. And who knows—the two of you could soon be having a couple cake-pops together on an “instant” date.   

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THE “YOU’RE INTERESTING” OPENER 

Notice something that stands out about her (besides her curves) and tell her what it is, phrasing it something like this: “You know what’s interesting about you? The fact that you…” and then finish the thought with the specific thing you notice. The key phrase is “You know what’s interesting about you?” It creates curiosity. Who WOULDN’T want to know something interesting? 

I was on a park bench one Sunday afternoon and noticed that the cute blonde tourist next to me was unfolding a paper map. (Who uses paper maps in 2020?) I said, “Excuse me. You know what’s interesting about you?” Then I paused. Smiling and intrigued, she said, “What?” I said, “You’re using a paper map, like someone from the 20th Century. Are you a time traveler?” She laughed, and we had a great conversation that led to me getting her phone number. 

TEXT-UAL HEALING

When texting, I can’t seem to keep conversations going. We swap a couple of messages, but they ghost on me before we even have a date. Any quick fixes?

—Doug, 36, Las Vegas 

A big texting mistake that men make without realizing it is hiding their true selves behind the false persona of a safe, cautious texter. They send overly polite, safe messages, instead of loosening up and being more freely expressive. 

Here’s a tip. Grab your phone and find a recent text exchange with a very good friend. Notice your tone and vibe. I’ll bet you’re relaxed, cracking jokes while also being sincere—maybe tossing in a good-natured tease or two. 

Next, read a text exchange with a woman who ghosted you. Do you sound like the same guy? Or are you safe, measured, and watered-down? 

I’d bet that your authentic, most expressive self comes out with your best buddy, but NOT with women you want to date. The fix? Put the guy who’s texting your best pal—in other words, the authentic you—in charge of texting potential dates, and just pepper in a bit of flirting. 

You’ll come across as more relaxed and expressive, making you funnier, more attractive—and cutting way down on ghosting. 


Connell Barrett is a dating coach who shows guys how to get a girl the right way. He’s helped men all over the world connect with the women of their dreams. Connell has appeared on Access Hollywood, The Today Show and more, and in publications such as Maxim, Cosmopolitan and O Magazine.

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