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Hinge's new 'Date from Home' feature will keep you from moving too fast

Users will now see a prompt asking if they're ready (or not ready) for a virtual meetup.

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Unless you are among the fortunate few blessed with unwavering confidence, dating tends to be a tricky game of hopscotch, each step more anxiety-provoking than the last. It was hard enough to begin with, and now we’re in a pandemic — craving human contact but forced to stay apart. That’s both a brutal inconvenience and a recipe for steamy online connections. And Hinge is fully aware.

To help you get over that threshold between flirty messages and first face-to-face conversations, the dating app is rolling out a new feature that lets users indicate when they’re ready to take the next step. A ‘Date from Home’ menu will appear in the app starting today. Once users have decided they want to move on to a virtual meetup, all they need to do is select that option and hang tight. Only when both parties are on board will they be notified directly.

Hinge

A helpful mediator — Hinge’s new Date from Home tool serves a simple but meaningful purpose — sparing you from awkward moments. It takes the guesswork out of the equation while still giving individual users room to move at their own pace. Ready to video chat? Cool, select Date from Home. Need some more time? Also cool, don’t select it just yet. And since users’ responses remain private until both have indicated they’re ready, a lot of that pressure is lifted.

No time like now — Engaging in some form of live video communication before meeting up in real life is a good rule of thumb for online dating anyway. And given the current state of the world, it’s kind of the only option right now. "While we may need to be physically distant right now, we can still be socially connected," Tim MacGougan, Chief Product Officer at Hinge, said in a statement.

Hinge says a survey conducted last month showed 70 percent of its users said they’d be open to a virtual date, be it on Zoom, FaceTime, or another video-chat service, so chances are if you’re considering it, your match is too.