COVID-19 has undoubtedly flipped everything we know upside down. What was previously normal now requires much caution. Little things like washing hands and sanitizing have become crucial parts of health mandates.
Online dating wasn’t spared from the madness, either. As if dating during normal times wasn’t hard enough, the pandemic has made romance even more challenging. But people are adjusting and solutions are coming up.
Since physical meet-cutes aren’t 100% safe nowadays, most lovebirds are left to look for love in cyberspace. And people have come flocking in record numbers to date online. Consider some facts and figures about online dating to convince you of its popularity.
Last year, Tinder was the place to be for folks who wanted to date online. 2020 was the site’s busiest year yet, so don’t be too surprised if your friends were busy tinkering with their profiles.
On March 29, 2020, Tinder’s swipe activity reached the 3-billion mark—the highest single-day number of swipes in its history. If that’s not looking for love, we don’t know what else is!
Bumble dating app wasn’t far behind on the numbers, either. Its in-app video chat feature saw a 93% usage increase between March 13 and March 27 of last year.
Bumble’s calls that averaged 30-minutes during the said period are the other feature the app hopes its female-centric user base to use to their advantage when dating online during the pandemic.
Now that the figures clearly show that online dating saw a spike in online dating, one question comes to mind: how has the pandemic actually changed or transformed the online dating game?
Online Dating Trends in COVID-19 Times
Some notable shifts in online dating have been occasioned by lockdowns and quarantines:
1. Virtual dates are the new black.
Before COVID-19’s devastating outbreak, dating apps were a means to an end; in that it was mainly geared towards face-to-face dates. But since we were all stuck indoors, that wasn’t the safest option. Why risk meeting a cutie if it means getting (potentially) sick?
Nowadays, sliding into the DMs and calling it a day isn’t going to cut it. Meeting over video should happen first (ideally) to see signs of matches’ chemistry and compatibility. Dating sites picked up on this, adding video chatting features onto their platforms.
Bumble was a bit ahead of the curve here, launching its video chat feature before the pandemic hit. In addition, a Tinder Press Room report divulged nearly half of its users hopped on this bandwagon with its own in-app video calling service.
Video chats don’t just stop at in-app conversations. Since face-to-face dates aren’t all that feasible anymore, matches hang out on other apps like Animal Crossing to inject fun.
For something a little more classic, there’s always a romantic dinner date over Zoom option. Want to see your favorite band perform their hits? Say hello to virtual concerts!
What began as a necessity became a favorite among users. Dates like these create a low-pressure environment for users who’ve tried them out, getting to know their matches without much stress.
Not only do virtual dates abide by stay-at-home orders, but they can be pretty fun too. Take a few cues from the examples above and add your spin to date nights!
2. Friendship is part of the deal.
The isolation that comes with COVID has left many people’s mental states vulnerable. As if the pandemic’s deadly nature isn’t enough, the loneliness that accompanied quarantines and lockdowns made everything bleaker. It’s no surprise that people are looking for some companionship during these times.
For the last 18 months, many have sought solace on dating sites. People aren’t just there for romance; users look for friendships to fill the void in their social lives.
Bumble was one of the apps that picked up on this, well before the coronavirus struck. To that end, Bumble BFF was born. Since its launch, it’s helped people form virtual friendships that go beyond distances.
So, if you want to reach out or even just befriend someone online, you can totally do that. Hookups aren’t the be-all and end-all of dating apps, so don’t stress if you can’t find potential lovers in any of them. Maybe your match just needs someone to talk to—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing (as long as they make that clear from the jump, of course).
After what we’ve all been through for since 2019, we could use some company. You don’t have to be a social butterfly to strike friendships online—even a simple hello is enough to get things started.
3. Authenticity matters, too.
Quarantines put many in reflective moods. The reflections made way for more vulnerability, allowing people to be genuinely honest about their current state of mind.
Gen Z’s most notable for this—after all, authenticity is in their DNA. If they catch you lying, don’t be surprised if they call you out for that.
Friendly reminder: the internet never forgets. No matter how quickly you delete a post or message, someone or a feature out there has a screenshot as proof.
With that said, how does one present authenticity in online dating? The answer lies in your profiles. Make them reflect your genuine character and avoid pretenses.
While you don’t have to lay everything out for everyone to see, we recommend honesty. As cheesy as this sounds, it is the best policy.
4. Let things play out before making decisions.
In this world, there’s no telling what happens next. The pandemic adds to that since none of us know when it’ll end.
Life’s uncertainty applies to relationships as well. Who knows what you two will be like tomorrow; will you be the couple everyone envies or just somebody you used to know?
Unpredictability is why most people on dating apps prefer to let things play out naturally before doing anything hasty. Just like people, priorities change.
What you currently want may not be what you need in the long run. Thus, moving cautiously on dating apps is advised. Don’t hesitate to let your match know as much.
Online dating in the middle of a pandemic is different from previous norms. Whatever you do, always be careful, let things play out naturally, and think things through to stay safe.