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If you feel like the whole world is turning upside down due to COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, you’re not alone. Social distancing is probably part of your everyday vocabulary now, and sipping quarantinis in a video date is the new normal… at least for the time being.
Since news on the coronavirus pandemic seems to change by the hour, most people understand that this is a fluid situation. That means dating habits are also in transition, but even with social distancing, new bonds can be formed. I promise.
Singles aren’t putting the brakes on dating. In fact, dating sites and apps are reporting a spike in usage, attributed to what appears to be a deeper need to connect during this challenging time.
Here are five ways to date in the age of coronavirus, so you don’t lose momentum.
If your dating site or dating app profile says that you can’t wait to go on a romantic trip to Italy or Spain, or it’s filled with photos taken on a cruise ship, it’s time for a digital facelift.
With most people at home doing spring cleaning or watching webinars, here’s your chance to update your profile with new photos. Maybe you can add pictures of you holding a bottle of Purell, if you’re lucky to have one, as the short supply of this commodity has now made it the equivalent of liquid gold.
Add a short post on how you’re practicing social distancing and being a responsible member of your community. Or, to show a bit of humor, let folks know if you need a roll of toilet paper, which is now a popular buzzword on dating apps.
Not only will updating your profile show that you’re staying up to date on the situation, but it will also help you appear higher in search results on the dating site and/or app you’re using.
While the goal of online dating has traditionally been to move the relationship from online to offline as soon as possible, the reversal of this strategy is a must right now. Many cities and states are now under a full lockdown, with only essential businesses open and residents remaining at home.
As you expand your social network during this crisis, you’ll be developing bonds with new people who are just as nervous to leave the house as you are right now. People are online and are chatting up a storm
Dating app Inner Circle reports a 50% increase in singles suggesting online dates, surpassing even the first Sunday in the new year — commonly known as Dating Sunday — which is the busiest day of the year for online dating.
You know, of course, that you can’t go on a dinner date, out for drinks, take a walk on the beach, or have sex with someone new now. But chatting about all of these activities builds anticipation for when you can meet after the virus is under control, which may not be for a couple of months or more.
I’ve always been a fan of technology, and now that the bandwidth allows you to schedule a Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, or Facetime meeting on the fly, it’s time to put on your lipstick and get out of your sweats. Or, for the men, comb your hair.
Chatting with potential dates in the morning, and scheduling a video date for that night keeps your momentum going.
My suggestion is to test your computer or phone’s camera with a friend first to make sure the lighting and audio are ideal. You’ll also want to make sure your internet connection is strong. Nothing will burst you and your date’s bubble more than sentences fading in and out.
And wear an outfit that makes you feel great! I’ve been scheduling and going on dress rehearsal dates with clients before their planned date night. These faux dates ensure that talking points are positive and that you look your best for showtime. This is especially important if this is your first video date.
My recommendation for the ideal video date is to keep it no longer than 15 to 20 minutes. Any more, and it starts to feel awkward. Any less, and you don’t get a real sense of the chemistry.
Call it happy hour, fill up your glass with your beverage of choice, and remember to flirt! Just as you would on an in-person date, if you like him or her, schedule your next date before the chat session ends. This will give you something to look forward to.
Seeing as how all businesses, meetings, and classes have moved online (except for essential things like grocery stores), come up with fun things you can do together on your video dates.
One of my favorite suggestions is to visit a museum anywhere around the world. You can go on a virtual tour and experience some of the best art anywhere from the MOMA in New York to the Musée d’OrsayMusee d’ Orsay in Paris.
This is a great conversation starter, and you can see if you two have similar tastes in art.
Discussing art is a great conversation starter, and you can see if you two have similar tastes in art.
If you’re bummed that a concert tour got canceled and they all have been — then hop on Instagram or Facebook Live at the same time as your date and watch intimate home concerts from John Legend, Garth Brooks, Chris Martin from Coldplay, among others.
Change your habits from a “Netflix and Chill” date to a “Quarantine and Chill” date instead. Come up with a list of movies or shows that you’ve been dying to watch, and have your date do the same. Then, on date night, you can step it up by installing the Google Chrome extension for Netflix Party.
This extension allows you to pause the program, includes a chat box for you to share your comments and thoughts, and it can be a fun way to experience watching movies and shows together. Again, you’ll want to make sure your internet connection is strong.
I suggest taking turns on who selects a movie or show unless you find a movie or show that you both agree that you’d like to watch together. I’m more of a fan of watching a TV show because two-hour movies can drag the date on a bit too long.
Watching an entire series of a show together also keeps date nights on your calendar and allows you to advance the relationship while in a safer zone.
Your phone is probably blowing up with messages — from good morning texts to checking in for an afternoon chat or a phone call — if you’re single these days.
If you meet someone you click with, make sure to check in with each other, and don’t play the waiting game. Developing a routine now will create more meaningful and deeper conversations, while the anticipation of meeting in person when this virus is behind us continues to grow.