Is there a silver lining for love-seekers in lockdown?
These unprecedented times are forcing us all to adapt.
People all over the world are finding innovative ways to date without breaking the rules.
There’s no doubt we’re still adjusting to this new normal, but there’s a silver lining in this, if we choose to focus on the positive.
1. Virtual dating is taking off
Singles are turning to online dating and other virtual tools in their droves.
In a recent My Wingwoman Instagram poll, 73% said they were open to a ‘Zoom’ date. This compares with data shared by the dating app Hinge indicating 70% are open to it.
In my opinion, this is a good thing.
Well, firstly it offers men and women a safe alternative to meeting up in person. It means millions of singles don’t need to put their dating life completely on hold.
Secondly, chatting over video allows you to pick up on some things you lose over text. What a great way to work out if someone’s personality matches up with their text persona without having to go on a real life date.
If you haven’t heard of Zoom, it’s video-conferencing that’s super easy to use. You don’t have to exchange personal details. Simply set up a video ‘meeting’, send your date the link and off you go! You can use Zoom on your computer or download the app to your phone.
I have a feeling this great migration to virtual dates might be with us well after the lockdown ends. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see more dating apps integrate video calling functionality soon.
2. We bond when we have things in common
We’re all going through this global pandemic together. It’s a leveller. And while it doesn’t have to dominate the conversation, it can prompt all kinds of sincere questions in online dating chats like:
What are you missing the most about pre-pandemic life?
How are you feeling about this whole thing?
What’s the first thing you’ll do when we’re out of lockdown?
Thoughtfulness never goes out of style. Demonstrating sincere interest in understanding how someone else is coping says you care and demonstrates emotional intelligence.
3. Signs of disinterest are easier to detect
Red flags are easier to spot online because of the current context.
“I’m busy this week”
Back in the old days (like, in February before this virus hit hard), when you asked someone on a date they could stall by saying something like “I’m busy this week but let’s sort something out soon.” Vague AF responses like this are hard to field.
Fast forward to today and it’s harder for someone to make this excuse for a virtual date.
If you’ve been chatting for a reasonable amount of time and you’re confident there’s strong rapport, why WOULDN’T they be open to a virtual date?
When the texting goes on and on and on but there’s no intent to take you up on that offer for a virtual date, chances are they’re just loving the attention.
Of course some people are less open to a video call and might prefer a phone call, either way, ask yourself: is this progressing to some form of virtual t-intersection or is this person just clogging up my inbox?
Common sense applies. Genuine people will typically give genuine reasons for not wanting to meet up virtually. They won’t just keep hitting the ball down the fairway.
Pushy about meeting up
Just in case it’s not already crystal clear, if you’re in Australia right now or anywhere else under strict lockdown and social distancing rules, you shouldn’t be meeting up in person for dates right now.
It’s hard, I know. It sucks for many, but it’s the right thing to be doing.
Against this backdrop, it sticks out A LOT if someone is pushy about meeting up in person. It not only says they’re willing to be socially irresponsible but if they keep pushing, the chances of them wanting something long-term are slim.
If you’re texting someone like this, chances are they’ll show their true colours early so you’ll be able to spot it sooner rather than later.
4. Could this be a return to old fashioned courtship
A few weeks ago, I did an interview on ABC radio in which I said I hoped that this era of physical distancing could spark the return of old fashioned courtship.
What a great reminder to SLOW down and take time to get to know someone. If you can relate to moving too fast or overinvesting in the wrong types, then this lockdown provides an inbuilt speed limit of sorts.
People are having to hold off on literally any physical contact for who knows how long. But being separated from each other physically forces us to focus on the emotional connection.
My caution here is that if you’re hoping to do this EXCLUSIVELY over text, that’s very hard to do. A lot gets lost in translation over text and we have a tendency to build up a false image of someone we’ve only text messaged. So be wary of relying on text and instead embrace a virtual date on Zoom or Facetime.
There’s something really romantic about getting to know each other from a distance and building an emotional connection. Meanwhile the anticipation of meeting one day builds.
5. Romantic gestures are adapting too
Singles all over the world are sharing their romantic virtual date stories.
I’ve heard stories of people ordering the same take-away so they can enjoy the same Uber meal on their Zoom date.
Jeremy Cohen is a photographer in New York City who went viral for taking dating in lockdown to a whole new level. His videos show him arranging a virtual date with a woman he’d seen dancing on a nearby balcony. He set up the date by sending her a romantic note delivered by a drone. Days later, they got all dressed up and had a Facetime date over matching microwave dinners. You can check out his videos and the great lengths he’s been going to date at a distance by heading to @jermcohen on Instagram.
And if dating isn’t a priority for you right now, that’s okay too.
Some singles are using this time to reconnect with loved ones and friends virtually. Catching up on some overdue ‘me’ time, reading a good book or just doing what they can to ride through these challenging times.
Stay safe, stay well, stay home. Hopefully we’ll emerge from this even more connected in unexpected ways.
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