Many industries have been hit hard by the COVID-19 quarantine, but online dating is not one of them. In fact, newly released numbers show that there has been up to a 40% increase on dating sites like OKCupid, while Tinder has reported a 20% increase in conversations happening on the app.
It’s amazing to know that even in this time of great isolation, people are able to use technology to find romance, connection, and intimacy. However, online dating rules have changed during the coronavirus.
Much of the traditional advice given to online daters no longer applies during the pandemic. For example, I often encourage daters not to waste too much time on back-and-forth messages but to try to setup a real-life date promptly. That’s just not possible right now.
In addition, advice about meeting in public places or trying group dates in order to find safety in numbers is out of step with our daily lives, as we are spending most of their time at home, honoring social distance guidelines.
So what should online daters keep in mind when looking for love during the coronavirus?
Try a Zoom date. I tend to encourage people to meet up with their matches in real life on a prompt basis, because nothing can really replace that in-person chemistry. You need to have that connection, and if you spend too much time emailing or texting, you’re going to waste time talking to someone who may not be for you. But since real-life dates are off the table right now, you should try a Zoom date, which is a safe way to meet up virtually. Play a game together, like Cards Against Humanity or Trivia, or try a list of ice-breakers.
Beware of catfishers and scammers. Online daters have reported an uptick in scams and catfishing attempts as a result of the quarantine. Be very careful about providing personal info or being lulled into a false sense of security just because you are safe in your own living room. You are still, after all, conversing with a total stranger. And never send money to strangers or provide your bank account info, even if they tell you a convincing story about losing their job or insurance due to the quarantine.
Use this time as an opportunity to update your profile. With so much free time on your hands, now is a great time to rewrite your bio and spend some time really focusing on your profile. Update your pictures, and do some ‘rebranding’ off your online image to make sure that you’re putting your most desirable, authentic self front-and-center.
Resist the temptation to send lewd photos or videos. Trust me, it’s understandable that you’re bored and needing human connection during isolation, but you should be very wary of sending any X-rated photos or videos to anyone, let alone someone you just met on a dating app. Even if you don’t show your face and you are certain your privacy is intact, it made lead you to have false expectations of emotional intimacy or monogamy, when the receiver may just be a ‘collector’ who enjoys amassing these intimate images.