There are many ways to connect with someone new romantically – but is gaming a route we’ve overlooked?
In our increasingly digital world amid the pandemic, there’s been more time to game, which, for some, has created the opportunity to meet people through play.
Research shows that 72% of those who game relied on digital communities for social contact in lockdown, and that gaming overall made them feel less lonely.
The study, from Logitech G, also found that over a third of those surveyed said they’d now rather meet their future partner through video gaming rather than on dating apps.
In fact, 60% of amateur gamers say they met their now significant partners this way.
It does mean a common interest is found instantly, creating space to bond, and focuses those early interactions on having fun.
Leunah, 35, and Luke, 34, found this to be true. The couple, from South Yorkshire, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘It takes away the pressure of “first date”, so to speak.
‘You can get to know the person over time without the added pressure of thinking about dating and the future – you can just be yourself.
‘There’s also a greater focus on just interacting without any focus on looks.’
Leunah adds: ‘People are much more themselves when gaming than over dating apps, so it does make it easier to get to know each other.’
She believes that gaming together helped the now-couple learn their strengths and weaknesses, all through a low-pressure game as challenges and quests came up.
After six months of this, they decided to meet in person, having never seen even a picture of each other before.
The transition to dating ‘happened naturally’, with Leunah telling us: ‘We were spending a lot of our free time together online, questing together, working together in raids and just hanging out in voice chat whilst we did our own thing.
‘At some point, it became a “maybe we should chat in person” kind of thing, and so Luke booked a coach up from Essex and stayed with me for a few days.
‘This happened a few more times over the months following, until eventually it became more cost efficient for both of us for him to just move here entirely. There wasn’t really an awkward dating phase, we just sort of gravitated together.’
Gaming is one of their favourite hobbies to do as a couple and individually.
The top games that Brits connect over:
- Call of Duty 40%
- Minecraft 29%
- Animal Crossing 19%
- World of Warcraft 18%
- League of Legends 17%
- Overwatch 14%
- Overcooked 2 13%
- Stardew Valley 10%
- Don’t Starve Together 9%
- Valorant 8%
Dating coach Hayley Quinn tells us: ‘It’s been a tough year for dating, with social distancing meaning singles dating lives had to be conducted online.
‘Outside of dating apps that might leave you wondering where people have actually been able to meet: and a surprising life line has been gaming communities.
‘Having a shared hobby with your partner may not be essential, but it sure is helpful; particularly if you can do that hobby from home and throughout a pandemic.’
While gaming can be an exciting way to connect with someone, there are some potential issues.
Hayley says: ‘When we meet someone online, even if they seem to tick all the boxes on paper, it’s really important to keep reminding yourself that you don’t actually know them yet.
‘Tell yourself: “They seem nice so far, but let’s just see what they’re like in person,” and steer clear of imagining what it will be like to spend time with them.
‘When we devote a lot of time to imagining what someone is, it can stop us from connecting to the real person. This gap between who we imagine someone to be, and who they actually are, can also inevitably lead to disappointment further down the line.
‘If you’ve only met someone online so far, then also remember common sense ways to stay safe: always meet first in a public space, let your friends know where you’re going, and avoid sharing too many personal details.’
If there is someone you want to make more than a gaming pal, Hayley suggests tentatively making moves to see if they make the same effort back with you.
- Lots of online games will allow you to text and voice chat online, giving you the ability to effectively DM someone if you’d like to form a more personal connection.
- Kickstart by referencing something you’ve shared together – maybe compliment their game play. If this is reciprocated by them, you can move the chat on to sharing details about yourself and suggesting swapping numbers.
- The key thing here is reciprocation: if someone isn’t responding (or not putting any effort into their responses) take this as a signal that they don’t want to move things offline and leave it.
Like Luke and Leunah, the best approach is to focus on enjoying the game rather than waiting for someone who peaks your interest.
Gaming can be a way to figure out if someone’s vibe is right for yours.
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