The dating world is ever-evolving, and given the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us have fallen out of rhythm with it to maintain social distancing protocols. That said, now that vaccinations are on the rise, and the outlook is much less bleak, the desire to “get back out there” is growing. Although, our fear may still be getting in the way. For those of you fighting this conflicting fear and desire, here are a few helpful tips!
Define Safety Rules for Yourself (And Stick to Them)
When it comes to dating, the number one priority is that you are (and feel) safe. Safety can mean a wide variety of things, inclusive of safety from COVID-19. For this reason, before you even download a dating app, make sure you set some rules for yourself that make you feel comfortable with dating again. This can be anything from requiring masks, only dating individuals that have been vaccinated, or even setting rules around what contact you’re comfortable with (i.e., hand-holding, kissing, etc.).
The truth is, if someone is interested in dating you, they’ll understand your need to feel comfortable and will adhere to your desires. Define them in advance, stick to them, and don’t be afraid to walk away from someone that doesn’t prioritize safety in the same way as you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Bring it Up…
The pandemic is a sore subject for nearly all of us and something we’re likely tired of talking about. That being said, especially in the dating world, it’s still prevalent and requires discussion.
Don’t be afraid to bring up the topic, especially before a date. Understanding your potential date’s mindset is important here, as it’s a way for you to gauge whether or not you would feel comfortable on a date with them. They may actually have the same concerns that you do, so touching base on the topic might be the icebreaker you need to really start to build a connection with someone.
Set the Scene You’re Most Comfortable With
So you’ve agreed to a date – that’s amazing! However, don’t feel the need to agree to any time and place, as again, your comfort is important. So if they recommend an indoor dining restaurant, but you’re not quite there yet, don’t be afraid to speak up.
Instead, suggest alternatives that feel right for you. For some, this might mean a preliminary Zoom call. For others, this means a location outdoors. Whatever your comfort level, don’t be afraid to express it.
The Same First-Date Rules Apply
Just because we’re living in strange times doesn’t mean all rules go out the window. Just as with any other date with a relative stranger, you should follow your same, first-date rules.
First, tell someone you trust where you will be and who you will be with and have a plan to either check in or touch base afterward to ensure you’re okay. Additionally, for a first meeting, arrange to meet them at the location so they one, don’t know your address, and two, you have a means of leaving if you feel uncomfortable.
Everyone has different first-date rules; just make sure you’re still protecting yourself from the normal dangers of dating and not just the pandemic-related ones.
The bottom line is that the dating world is not going anywhere. So, whether you’re ready now or need a few more months to feel secure, you have plenty of time to put yourself back out there. And with these tips in mind, you can ensure the process is as seamless (and safe) as possible.