Before our social spaces were shut down, and when social distancing was initially recommended, people were starting to be more cautious when interacting with one another. Now that bars and restaurants have closed and events have been cancelled, how will singles meet each other and how will this change the landscape of dating overall?
Before the mandatory closing of bars, I ventured out to a local bar in Los Angeles to ask single social butterflies if they were still continuing with their normal dating lives as social distancing was being recommended by health officials. There were a small number of twosomes, threesomes, and a couple of solo drinkers dispersed throughout the bar totaling around 10–15 people. Everyone seemed to fall into the Millennial age range (26–40). One of the bartenders told me, “I don’t think anybody’s interested in going on a 1st date right now. I’ve seen less making out on the couch over in the corner!” I chatted with a few of the bar patrons who seemed to have a totally different point of view than the bartender. You’ll find their dating thoughts sprinkled throughout.
Should I avoid dating altogether? Now that bars are closed and events are cancelled, what should I do if I still want to meet people?
One bar patron told me she’s not dating at all, so the CoronaVirus hasn’t changed her behavior. Another single woman said,
“I think you just have to live your life. Be smart. Wash your hands. Actually my Dad was watching the news and he was so freaked out because he said there’s more activity than normal on Tinder. He was like, ‘OMG, these stupid millennials are gonna get everybody sick,’ and I’m like, ‘Dad, you need to calm down.’ I’m on dating apps and I’m going on a date after this! I have dates lined up for next week. People have not stopped dating.”
Again, this was before everything shut down. So now, for those who were going on dates pre-CoronaVirus, and still would like to date, what do you do now?
Digital Dating & Socializing
Everything has moved online and onto social media platforms — meetings, trainings, workshops — so why not your dating life? So if you’ve never tried a dating app, now might be the time! Respectfully slide into those DMs and start a convo if you prefer social media platforms to dating apps. This is our new normal, not only for dating, but also for all social interactions.
Let’s go back to a time before smart phones….before the internet….whoa! People wrote letters to each other! This took time, which extended the courtship period and the get-to-know-you process. That’s where we are now! Think of this as a time to get to know new people through writing and yes, phone and FaceTime convos, if and when you feel comfortable. This is actually an interesting opportunity to get to know someone new, in our current state of sequester. And for those of you who are nervous about trying a dating app, or for those who have tried them and have sworn them off, this is a new and specific period that might be different from what you’ve heard or experienced in the past. This is a time when you’ll have a ton to talk about. There are endless topics to discuss in this CoronaVirus era! One bar patron said, “I think it’s good for first dates. If you get stuck with nothing to talk about you can be like, ‘How about that Corona?’”
Can I still Netflix & Chill with someone new?
This is a time when it’s really important for singles (and really all humans) to think about the well-being of others, whether there is potential for sexy snuggles or not. Yes, that can put a wrench in potential Netflix & Chill plans with a new love-interest, but since we know this specific flu is highly contagious, and some have tested positive with minimal symptoms, it would suck to ‘accidentally’ spread it to each other. Talk about a terrible way to start a relationship! When I asked one bar patron if she would kiss someone on a first date, she replied,
“Do it. Unless they were like hacking up a lung or visibly sick. Just do it. My brother is a research doctor and he just said you can have the virus and not display any outside signs, so I guess my whole idea of if they cough don’t kiss them, but you know, YOLO.” Another bar patron, a tourist from the UK said, “We’re not scared about catching Corona. You’re ill for a few days like any influenza. But we don’t know where it’s going.” Her friend, also a tourist from the UK, followed up by saying, “I think it’s good for beginning relationships if you get quarantined together.”
These are obviously very specific viewpoints. If you aren’t feeling well, (even if you think you might have a ‘regular cold/flu’) and you have a date scheduled, for the safety of everyone you both may come in contact with, postpone the date! Your date will understand, and they actually might be more interested in you for being forthright and honest about not feeling 100%. This lockdown won’t last forever, but for the moment it might be smart to take extra precautions when meeting new people in close quarters until we know more about this pandemic.
I’ve been messaging with someone I met through an app weeks ago, but we haven’t met yet and now I don’t know when we’ll meet. How do we keep things going?
If you‘re currently chatting with someone on an app, but you want to lay low for now, continue chatting with them and simply explain that you’d love to meet with them when things calm down a bit. This could actually be a good test to see if someone respects your boundaries. Hopefully they will understand and not take it personally that you are being cautious in these uncertain times.
(Side note: For those of you currently dating someone, it’s important to have ongoing conversations about how you feel, physically and emotionally. This can be a time of high anxiety. This also can be an extremely isolating time, especially for extroverts.)
Phone calls and FaceTime are great options right now. People are starting virtual cocktail hours and such. One of the UK tourists said, “I think people are going to be drinking at home more.” Why not try a virtual happy hour date? A FaceTime glass of wine together would be super cute! You could even do a virtual dinner together! All of the virtual dates will be an amazing build up to your first in-person date together, right?!
As always, it’s important to be selective about who you’re spending your (virtual) time with! Yes, you might have more time on your hands right now, but quality over quantity is very important here. It’s also important to keep your options somewhat open now. For some of us, the CoronaVirus has raised the stakes regarding the depths of our interactions. It’s possible to feel more deeply about things and people than we normally would because of all the uncertainty and isolation. On the other hand, here’s what one Gen-Z (under 25) passerby had to say:
“When you’re going on a Tinder date, that thought goes through your head that this person could be a rapist or a kidnapper…then the second thought you have is that this person might have CoronaVirus. But if I still took the chance on the first one, might as well take the chance on the second one. I don’t think it’s any more dangerous than just going on a Tinder date. Just as many risks in my opinion. Also I’m 18 years old and odds are that I won’t die from CoronaVirus.”
So in that way, one could say that some women might have the same dating concerns that they had before this pandemic.
Remember, once we return to life as we know it, you most likely will be meeting. people in person that you’ve been getting to know virtually over these weeks of isolation. This is not the time to make rash decisions. Ask yourself if this is someone you’d want to spend time with out in the real world. Would you date this person if you’d met them pre-CoronaVirus? Choose wisely, be kind, be creative and make the most of this Corona-coaster ride!