COVID-19 is the ultimate Love Language blocker of flirting in 2020
At what age do we outgrow flirting and say what’s on our minds?
“He likes you,” a friend of mine said recently. “I can tell from the way he looks at you.”
I glanced over at her and said, “Eh, I think he’s just being friendly.”
“You really don’t know when someone has been shot by Cupid, huh?” she commented.
Quite frankly, I don’t. This was her second time telling me the same guy liked me, and it was my second time denying it. As gorgeous as I think he is, without a green light, I’m not “going.” And this will not be the first time that’s happened. I cannot count the number of times where I missed every single sign that someone was interested in me. In fact, there’s a 75 percent chance I will not catch on unless he’s outspoken. (I prefer the latter group. I don’t have the patience for guessing games.)
Meanwhile my mother can sniff these guys out like clockwork. She’s also been married for 40 years (come August) so I’d consider her a pro at this. And she’s been right three times when I told her she was absolutely wrong. It took all three men flat-out asking me out on a date (and one moving from state-to-state, six minutes away from my old apartment and ringing her doorbell to get my attention) for me to go, “Oh, you were for real?”
Blame it on having no sisters and hanging out with a large group of men (often my brother’s friends and decades-long friendships with neighborhood boys). I preferred sitting on my stoop, listening to boys and men gossip (although they swear it’s not gossip), far more than a girls trip. Even my godfather, who is married, once crashed someone’s wedding to flirt with all the brides. As soon as he left the wedding and returned back to his hotel room, he threw all the numbers in the garbage. I asked him why he bothered to crash in the first place. His response, “I was just curious if I still got it.” He went home to his wife — phone number-less and tickled. Can you see why I don’t take casual flirting seriously now?
In my mind, everyone is a harmless flirter unless told otherwise. With this mindset though, and my consistent habit of downplaying a situation, I’m too often met with conversations that start with, “You knew I liked you, right?” And my response to serial flirters is always the same, “When?!”
In comes COVID-19 to make singles’ lives even harder
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has made flirting even more difficult for singles than it was before Li Wenliang tried to save the world’s lives. Those who have a Love Language of Physical Touch are struggling these days; their go-to was to brush an arm, grab a hand, hug or find other consistent ways to be way closer than that 6-foot distance. In my case though, my Love Language is Quality Time. Unless someone is trying to hang out with me in person, three of the five* won’t phase me one bit. But can someone practice his or her Love Language with a worldwide health outbreak that is completely getting in the way?
Yes and no. In my line of volunteer and professional work, social distancing is problematic. All of my professional clients live on a different continent or a different state, so in-person meetings have not been significant to me for the past two years. But the other 50 percent of my time involves volunteer work that requires me to see at least 20–40 people regularly each month without fail — at least half virtually and the rest in person. So there’s always room to meet someone new. Then factor in dog caregiving, which opens me up to a flood of other dog owners and casual exercisers at least four to five times per day — because not walking the dog is out of the question. And where there are dogs, there will always be somebody stopping me to ask about the age, breed and gender of the dog.
Sometimes your dog is your wingman/wing girl. Sometimes you just want people to go away. Either way it goes, this is another way to be social in a socially isolated world.
Skip the hints, get down to Love Language results
But what else can these singles do to get past the COVID-19 blockades? You need to know your person’s Love Language first. Once you have that down, these ideas should be successful.
Quality Time: Whether it’s virtually or in person, you have got to block out the noise. And with the whirlwind that has been 2020, that can be hard to do. But if you really want to let her know you’re serious, turn off the phone, the TV, the streaming station and stop texting. Whatever is going on in your world needs to stop, if only for an hour or two. A simple one-on-one, uninterrupted conversation on a porch or at a dining room table can work wonders on this person. Eye contact and giving her your undivided attention will send her over the moon.
Physical Touch: This one is rough, especially if you don’t already live with the person and cannot be sure that your love interest has tested negative to COVID-19. If this is someone who is regularly exposed to the public, you’re taking your chances regardless. Just make sure you and this person wash your hands regularly and wear masks around strangers. While it would be safer to talk virtually or from afar — maybe go old school and chat through windows like on “Love & Basketball” —a contact-less dating life is going to suck for someone who needs that skin-to-skin contact.
Acts of Service: This is by far one of the easier ones to do. Disinfect some doorknobs and remote controls. Take out her garbage. Run an errand. Text her to see if she wants anything on your way to see her. Walk her dog. Offer to grab her curbside pickup order. If you really know her, consider reading her kid a story or pitching in for the homeschool workload. Helping her cross off her to-do list is better than any flirty comment you can direct her way. You may not realize it at the time, but that trip to the dumpster is gaining you so many brownie points.
Words of Affirmation: Clearly from my results below, this is not my world. Loads of compliments come off empty and annoying to someone like me. This is why flirting goes over my head. Tell me I’m pretty 20 times a day, and I’ll ignore it 19 times. But I’ve had enough friends over the years who fish for compliments deeper than any Local River USA. Load up all the Bitmojis and flirty GIFs and in-person compliments to outfits, makeup, hair and even the smell of her home. She will care.
Receiving Gifts: This is not my world at all. I was living by the Destiny’s Child “Independent Women” song long before 2001. However, this one is self-explanatory. Just disinfect it first.
And after you do any of the above, make sure you tell her flat-out that you’re into her. Coronavirus will eventually die down just as any other health outbreak has. If you’re in it for the long haul, and the flirting and hints are not working as much as planned, you may be talking to someone like me. Just spit it out already and make the best of one crazy 2020.
* My results are 33% Quality Time; 30% Physical Touch; 20% Acts of Service; 13% Words of Affirmation; and 3% Receiving Gifts.
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