Dating is always a bit of a minefield. Add a global pandemic to the mix, and the concept of finding love quickly begins to feel impossible to many. If you’re finding your dating app endeavours during lockdown are falling flat, allow us to assist with some tips.
There are a few things you can do right now to help add some positivity back into your dating app experience. From fresh date ideas to signals your match is wasting your time, here’s some digital dating guidance to consider during lockdown.
5 ways to make lockdown dating less sucky
Show off your vax status
Dating apps have begun rolling out vaccine status features to help singles feel a little safer about that potential walking date with someone they’ve matched with online.
According to Hinge, people who have stated they’re vaccinated against COVID-19 in their profile get 30 per cent more matches, globally. And more than half of users reported to the app that they will be more open to in-person dates once vaccinated.
More than that, however, being open about having been vaccinated helps folks get a sense of whether or not their health values are aligned.
Lucille McCart’s APAC Communications Director at Bumble told Lifehacker Australia that “Dating – and the process of matching with a potential partner on Bumble – is all about discovering mutual interests. We know that in the current climate the ‘Covid conversation’ is increasingly top of mind for single people in Australia”.
“People are asking their matches if they have had the vaccine or if they have Covid symptoms more than they were before the recent lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne. Our hope is that the introduction of the vaccinated badge will enable easier conversations around health and safety, and help our community make connections with people that have compatible dating preferences. Ultimately this will lead to better, more comfortable dates – either virtually, or IRL once lockdown lifts,” she said.
Essentially, if you and a potential date are at odds about getting vaccinated, you’re probably not going to hit it out of the park, romantically.
Don’t spend too long messaging
Yes, it’s a necessary part of the initial dating phase when using apps. But there’s a danger in spending weeks chatting over text with a potential partner.
Logan Ury, Director of Relationship Science at Hinge, explained over email that to really test your chemistry you should jump “onto a video date early in your courtship”. If not, you risk the possibility that when you eventually meet that person or speak with them over the phone, it’ll be crickets for both of you.
“…few Hinge users had ever been on a video date before the pandemic, now almost half have tried it. And while the number one reason people hesitated to try virtual dating was a fear that it would be awkward, once users go on this type of date, 81% of them report it’s not at all awkward,” she said.
Avoid swiping for the sake of it
Ury stressed that “if you feel like you need to take a break, do it”. Taking a time out from dating doesn’t necessarily mean you’re closing yourself off from love. It can be a great chance to reflect on what you want and where you’re at, emotionally.
On the other side of things, pay attention to your match’s attitude to going on an actual date to side-step time wasters.
“Beware of anyone who is interested in messaging back and forth with you but always seems skittish when you ask about going on a date — whether it’s a phone call, video chat, or in person meet up,” Ury said.
“It’s possible that person just wants to pass the time, and isn’t looking for a real relationship.”
If you’re concerned you can always politely ask the person on the other side of the app what they’re after and assess from there.
Have fun with Covid-safe dates
Look, we’re fully aware that walking around a park with a mask on your mug is seriously unsexy. This is far from an ideal dating situation, but there are options on hand if you want to get to know someone.
Bumble recently launched a new Night In feature, which allows singles to play a little trivia with matches in the app. Trivia is a genuinely solid date option!
Ury also suggested trying options like a cocktail/mocktail making class online, giving a virtual game a go or using Hinge’s in-app Video Prompts which offer conversation starters.
Is any of the above going to offer a Bachie-level date experience? Maybe not. But at least they give you an alternative to walking in circles for an hour.
Give yourself permission to be vulnerable
We’re all having a tough time right now. No one can argue differently. You may feel pressure to present as the perfect version of yourself, and yeah you want to show off all the reasons you’re a catch, but being authentic is attractive.
Ury shared that “…when we are our flawed, vulnerable selves — people feel more not less attracted to us. Confessing your fears will lower your anxiety because you no longer have to pretend to be someone or something you’re not. It also makes it feel safe for the other person to share what’s going on for them.”
On dating more generally, she said that anxiety is completely normal. If Covid is exacerbating that somewhat, take a minute to reflect on what you can control right now (which may not feel like much). Think about your love life, and what has and has not worked for you in the past. Is it time to change things up a little?
All in all, the most important thing here is your happiness – so if you can find little ways to prioritise that throughout the lockdown dating experience, you’re doing well, friend.