This Is Exactly How Long It Takes to Tell If You Have a Spark With Someone

It doesn't take very long to know whether or not a date has potential to be your partner.

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If you're like most single people in the U.S., you probably place much of your hope for finding love on a little thing called chemistry. It's that unique feeling that sizzles when you have an unparalleled connection with another person—and usually, it's either there or it's not. But how long does it take to tell? An Oct. 2020 study commissioned by Virgin Media found that online daters say they can tell if they have a spark with someone just 30 seconds into a video call. For more on how to know when there's chemistry, read on, and to see what can kill a spark, check out Half of Men Say They Would Break Up With a Woman Who Does This.

Although trying to make a good impression in just 30 seconds may sound daunting, there's not much to be done on your end, really. "Whether you're on a date IRL or online, you will know within the first moments if you have a connection. Even over video, you can still feel that instant connection—or not," says dating expert and host of a popular Instagram Live dating show Serena Kerrigan.

So, now you know a spark occurs in a matter of seconds, but how can you tell if that special something is in the air? "It really has to do with a person's energy and flow of conversation," says Kerrigan. "If your personalities connect really well and you find commonalities, it feels natural and authentic."

A recent study out of California State University, San Bernardino, examined the various aspects that contribute to chemistry. Their findings showed that both men and women say that chemistry is most commonly characterized by open and meaningful communication. According to the study, which was published in the journal Interpersona, most people attribute chemistry to the ease of an interaction, an obvious deep connection, and a sense of safety and comfortability.

Couple drinking champagne during a video date
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Kerrigan says playful banter and pushback, which often accompany this kind of candor, can ignite a flame. "That can feel intriguing, like a challenge, and also create a spark or interest," she explains.

Once the chemistry is apparent, it's important to build on that energy. "Finding some sort of similarity or curiosity is a good foundation for developing that spark," says Kerrigan.

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The new Virgin Media study also found that a good chunk of singles—one in four—intend to continue virtual vetting even after the pandemic ends. By hopping on a video call, you'll know in 30 seconds whether there is a flame worth fanning between you and a potential partner, all from the comfort of your couch. Screening your potential suitors with a few preliminary video chats mitigates the risk of going on dates devoid of chemistry and spending hours in awkward silence.

"Video dates make everything so much more efficient. It's so easy to just hop on a FaceTime, and not have to stress about where to go, paying for transportation, or wondering if this person is really worth an entire dinner conversation," says Kerrigan.

And if you're curious about what to say to strike up a solid conversation, check out The One Pick-Up Line That Works Every Time, Research Shows.

Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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