As if the dating world wasn’t stressful enough, queue a pandemic to make the idea of a first date far more overwhelming. Times have certainly changed, and dating etiquette along with them, but the possibility of getting back out there and meeting new people has finally arrived, albeit with new rules. While you may have anxiety about dating in this new world, these tips should help ease your mind and ensure your next date is as stress-free as possible.
Lean on Dating Apps
The likelihood of meeting someone while out and about these days is at an all-time-low, and while it’s not completely out of the question (crazier things have certainly happened), your odds are likely better on the apps.
If this is your first experience with online dating, do the research for the dating app that’s right for you. Each is relatively unique in the profile requirements and matching and messaging rules, so just because one doesn’t work for your needs doesn’t mean that another won’t.
Utilize Social Distance Tags
If you do choose to utilize dating apps, look for tags that you can add to your profile regarding social distancing. These tags allow you to let potential dates know whether or not you’re self-isolating, while also offering visibility into that aspect of their lives, all prior to an actual conversation.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
The best way to get to know someone is to ask questions. While many experienced daters aren’t ones to shy away from a question, even dating pros are new to the world of social distancing. For this reason, it can feel uncomfortable to ask a potential date about their safety habits, especially if you don’t want to scare someone away.
Your anxieties about the world we’re living in aren’t unique to you and, more often than not, you’ll find that the person you’re talking to has the same concerns that you do. The bottom line: don’t be afraid to ask the questions that make you a little uncomfortable; it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
Only Do What You’re Comfortable With
Agreeing to a date is the first step—determining what to do on that date is a sizable task. Just because you feel comfortable having a one-on-one interaction over drinks or dinner doesn’t necessarily mean you feel comfortable at an overcrowded bar or restaurant.
Dating in the world of a pandemic is new territory for everyone, so don’t feel bad for speaking up about where your comfort zone lies. The right person will understand and wil be happy to accommodate your requests. If you don’t feel comfortable with a proposed date, speak up! Don’t get pulled into an uncomfortable situation. Make your comfort zone clear and stand your ground. If they don’t respect you for it, they were never worth your time to begin with.
Lose the Idea that You’re “Falling Behind”
Last, but certainly not least, this idea that you’re “falling behind” by staying in instead of going out is comparative, and therefore toxic. This might not be the right time for you to “get back out there,” and that’s okay!
You’re likely seeing an influx of social media posts from friends that are getting married or engaged, which, when combined with the fact that you’re single as a Pringle, can leave you feeling totally behind.
How many of you have done the relationship math? (i.e. If I want to have 2 kids by the time I’m 30, I want to be married by 27, which means I have to be engaged by 25…which means I have to meet someone tomorrow).
Ditch the equation, because the truth is: you’re exactly where you should be. The time it takes to meet someone varies from person to person, and is completely unpredictable and uncontrollable. Comparing your future to someone else’s love story is a recipe for disaster, and a pitfall we’re all guilty of, especially when we’re feeling particularly lonely.
These are already stressful enough times without self-doubt and relationship-anxiety, so if you aren’t ready to take on the dating world, that’s perfectly fine! Draw yourself a bath, grab a murder mystery novel, and soak away the stress in a cozy and comforting self-care bubble. You need to love yourself before you can love anyone else, right?
Dating during a pandemic is no cakewalk, but your comfort level is the key ingredient. Only you know what that is, and only you can decide whether or not you’re ready to rejoin the dating scene. Take these tips to heart, assess where you’re at, and proceed with confidence—because you’re ready for whatever comes next!