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2020 came with its own set of trials and tribulations. Although we all had goals at the start of the year, a lot of them were underachieved or weren’t even possible to attain. But a new year brings a reinvigorated sense of self and a restored faith that we can achieve the goals we set for ourselves.
The same attitude can be said about gay dating. Here are my top four ways I feel like most gay men will embrace and practice gay dating in 2021.
I suspect that a lot of online dating profiles will be more politically charged in the coming year — more so than ever — and that’s OK. This past election has made people less flexible in their level of political comfort. It has keenly defined what they are willing to budge and not budge on.
Meeting someone outside of your trusted circle may cause an immense amount of anxiety beyond regular first-date jitters. The election and other social issues have polarized how people view current events. Someone’s stance on the pandemic and the outcome of the election may say a lot about that person to you, whether you label their views good or bad. Because someone’s actions could actually be labeled dangerous, there is a heightened energy in the courtship process.
Would you describe yourself as an adamant mask-wearer? Were you going out to restaurants, traveling, and socializing indoors with multiple people during quarantine? Do you care whether someone has ever gotten tested for COVID-19 or if they would get a vaccine?
I believe people will be asking these questions to determine compatibility. Good communication in 2021 dating conversations will mean respecting differing opinions and being true to yourself at the same time. Be prepared to have these conversations, and make them honest and direct.
Thanks to the pandemic, most people have learned to roll with the punches when it comes to managing everyday life. People are generally driven by two things in life: money and time.
Singles and other consumers have saved a lot of money these days by not traveling or going out to eat or drink as often — if at all. Furthermore, most people have negotiated to work from home — freeing up some time.
You learn quite a bit about a person’s temperament and character when things don’t quite go as planned or when stressful situations occur. What would happen if you or your date planned a first meeting and one of you forgot to call a restaurant that was reservations only?
Remember, Plan B will be just as fun and mutually comfortable, so be malleable in that way.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with bad behavior. If I were single and someone I was dating regularly couldn’t make time for a Zoom call, even though I knew they didn’t have much going on, I’d raise questions. That said, I believe people will be less patient with someone who flakes on a date or seems not to take their time seriously. People are flexible, but ask them to bend too much and they’ll abandon the match altogether.
As the COVID-19 dust settles, I think video dates will become even more common than they already are. Video dates, whether on Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime, are great for testing out the waters with a match you’re not sure about.
It’s best to tread lightly to get more of the lay of the land. That way, you won’t have to waste time meeting your match in person if it’s not even going to work out. I would do this even before the pandemic. I wanted to see if driving across town to meet a stranger on a Friday was worth my time.
I think we’ve all learned from the pandemic that our time is precious, and we want to spend our lives with people we truly like and doing the things we truly love.
I made a promise to myself years ago to embrace the silly and goofy side of my personality. I used to be more rigid, and I realized that was causing my psyche a lot of unnecessary stress.
I like to encourage that confidence with my dating coaching and matchmaking clients, too. One of the questions I ask all the time is, “What makes you interesting or weird?” When someone embraces qualities that make them unique, that person is ready to give dating a candid effort.
When someone can’t name one thing that makes them unconventional or even eccentric, I become suspicious. We all have something that makes us different. Don’t be ashamed if you like pop music. Don’t be worried if someone will judge your affinity for perfecting a sourdough loaf. Don’t be afraid to show someone the new video game you enjoyed playing during most of quarantine.
My challenge to you this year is to define more uncommon and personal things that make you tick, and share them with your date.
Chances are, you may be a breath of fresh air to someone. Do yourself a favor and make a list of at least three things in your abnormal arsenal to share on your next first date.
I hope singles become more adaptive to ever-changing situations in 2021, but not so much that they start to lower their dating expectations. People will still need to be held accountable for their actions. If someone doesn’t treat you right on a date, you need to be willing to respect yourself and walk away.
Dating should still be fun, but it should still come with a sense of honor and care.
It’s also OK not to be ready to meet someone new. Use this time to reflect and learn about yourself, and that is already a win-win situation. Happy New Year!