Maybe a promising relationship came to a dead halt because you and your partner couldn’t meet in person. Perhaps you needed to move back in with family, far from your usual dating scene. Or maybe you’ve been craving a hookup but haven’t been able to find anyone who’s DTF. No matter how your dating journey has been affected, there’s one thing we can all agree upon: the dating world is completely different than ever before.
But that’s no reason to shut yourself off from the world. Here are 10 tips for approaching relationships, starting online conversations, and generally staying afloat--and amorous--in the COVID-19 era.
1. Give Video Dating a Try
People are relying on video chatting apps like Zoom and FaceTime for digital happy hours and first dates. They’re also having virtual dinner and movie dates, where they each cook and eat their own meals or watch the same movie at the same time, while physically apart yet still together.
2. Don’t Write Off Digital Hookups
Yep, you guessed it – hookup habits are changing, too. Many singles are resorting to sexting and having FaceTime sex to cater to their sexual needs until they’re able to safely hook up in person again.
3. Find New Ways to Flirt
Without social distancing impeding on our ability to hang out in real life, singles are basically being forced to slow things down. Folks are now messaging matches for longer periods of time and progressing at a different pace than they’re used to. Make the most of the opportunity to connect in a different, more verbal way. Work on your witticisms, tap into your sense of humor, or explore dirty talk until it’s safe to meet in person again. You never know--you may just discover some hidden talents.
4. Take Advantage of Budding Technology
Life has changed drastically, and online dating companies are adapting accordingly. The best online dating apps and sites have added new features and are offering helpful services that enable users to find whoever and whatever they’re looking for from the comfort of their own home. Bumble’s video chatting and audio call features are thriving more than ever before. Plenty of Fish launched a livestream feature where users can host their own interactive video hangout with viewers. These can help you feel more connected. And they’ll probably continue even after the pandemic--so you may as well get used to them now.
5. Expand your horizons
Since meeting someone who lives across town is as out of the question these days as meeting someone in another time zone, now may be a good time to explore matches who live in other locations. Tinder unlocked their Passport feature to all users, granting everyone access to singles in other parts of the world. On other sites, you can simply adjust your search radius to see matches from farther away. We’re not saying you should lead people on--be transparent about where you live and why you’re reaching out. But you never know--you may just connect with someone who you otherwise never would’ve met.
6. Don’t dwell on the negatives
It may be tempting to rant about your current struggles, but this will likely turn people off. We could all use a little more positivity, so try not to focus on stressful, upsetting, or negative topics when messaging online matches. Of course there’s a thin line between complaining and commiserating, and it’s fine to discuss the difficulties of the current moment. But there are a million other pleasant things to talk about as well. Be positive, and chat about how you’re making use of this extra downtime or literally anything else you’d normally talk about with someone you just met.
7. Be kind
Everyone is currently going through a rough time with work, family matters, or their mental or physical health. That’s why most people are kicking off conversations with online matches by asking “hey, how are you holding up during this crazy time?” You should always be considerate, of course, but especially these days, showing your caring, more emotional side will go a long way when connecting with anyone – in the digital world and in real life.
8. Keep an open mind
Life is significantly different than it was just a few months ago. Dating is no exception to that rule. Amidst this transition, it’s important to keep an open mind and go with the flow. This will help you navigate these inevitable changes easier than fighting to get things back to the way they were. Let everything unfold as it will, and you’ll have much better luck playing the dating game than you would if you’d held your regular standards and expectations.
9. Practice safety and health precautions
Patience is a virtue, especially during this pandemic. Remember that this is all temporary and things will go back to normal soon, but it’s wise and necessary to follow social distancing and other recommended safety and health precautions until then. It’s better to be safe than sorry so you don’t compromise the wellbeing of yourself, your loved ones, or the general public.
10. Think about the stories you’ll tell
You can bet your Bumble account that the main topic of conversation once all this ends will be, “So, how’d you get through the pandemic?” With that in mind, think of this moment as your own story in progress.
How will it turn out? Maybe one day you’ll be telling your kids that their parents met during the pandemic. Or perhaps you and a future partner will bond over horror stories of COVID-era dating. The point is, this is a moment you won’t forget. And when it passes, you’ll want to be proud of how you handled it. So whether or not you meet someone during social distancing, try to keep your head up! This will all make for a great story one day.
New Reality, New Opportunity
Will any of these new From Home-inspired changes to the dating world stick around after this pandemic? Nobody knows. In the meantime, you can take advantage of these dating tips and free app perks to stay connected with others from afar. And if you enjoy them so much, maybe you’ll continue using them to help you find your perfect match once this isolation period is over. Whatever comes of this quarantine, we hope that you prioritize your safety, health, and happiness now and long after the pandemic ends.