Pandemic Dating Practices & COVID-19

I was recently interviewed by Tess Goodwin about online dating for Boise State Public Radio. Read the article or listen at He’s Just Not That Into Zoom: Dating In Boise During COVID-19.

Though Goodwin’s title suggests this dating scenario is Boise specific, my research suggests these trends are not regional. People looking for connection are all over the map during these pandemic times. On one end of the spectrum, people are taking a break from dating until social distancing calls are lifted and on the other end are those taking a business as usual approach, inviting potential matches to “break quarantine” to meet up in person. In the middle are those who continue to swipe and message, adapting their practices to the new norm of social distancing.

Spectrum of pandemic dating practices: dating as usual, adapting practices, and taking a break.

For those looking for relationships, there seems to be a greater willingness to use video chat for what Jami Goldfarb Shapiro calls COVIDEO dates whereas those looking for hookups seem less willing to bother with any sort of “getting to know you” via talk or video if they can’t meet up.

Coffee Meets Bagel message suggested videochat to a potential match.

We are now a couple months into a life of social distancing and most people report that while phone calls and video chat options do allow them to connect in meaningful ways, technologically mediated solutions are no substitute for the real thing.

With medical experts suggesting that we will likely be living in a world with some sort of social distancing measures in place for at least another year — or until a vaccine is developed, those looking for connection will continue to find ways to adapt, with preferences and practices reflecting people’s internal negotiations about physical and emotional needs in relation to their own barometer of risk and reward.

Digital communication scholar and certified word nerd. Researching how people find love, lust, and connection in the digital age. www.connectingdigitally.com

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