As human touch continues to be a public enemy, we crave it more than ever. However, we’ve grown wary of strangers and are acutely aware of fingerprints on glass surfaces. Grocery shopping even feels like a crime against humanity.
Yet as we endure self-isolation to protect one another from illness, we hope to create meaningful connections during an era of social distancing. The quarantine can be lonely. Not everyone has a partner to weather a pandemic with. But I’m here to tell you that dating in 2020 is NOT canceled, it just looks different.
To swipe or not to swipe?
Online dating apps have garnered a lot of attention in the past few months. Quarantine, in many ways, has changed the swiping game — it removes the pressure of meeting with a potential partner right away. For those who are apprehensive about meeting strangers, online dating has become a lot less scary. You can focus more on the conversation and connecting with people who may have things in common with you. Whether you’re swiping to keep yourself entertained or in hopes of finding someone to date, the depth of a conversation is entirely up to you.
Because there are no distractions during quarantine, you may find yourself creating a connection with someone quicker than usual. Be wary of this. Know what your intentions are and communicate them effectively, that way both of you are on the same page.
The “talking” stage
Maybe you’ve reconnected with an old friend or hit it off with someone on a dating app, but by now you’re probably familiar with the talking stage. Most young folks are. It is the stage where you get to know your potential new bae. The talking stage pre-social distancing and post-social distancing is not very different: late-night calls, good morning texts and skype/facetime dates.
A fruitful talking stage is one where you’re engaged and excited to learn about one another. Ask about their dreams and ambitions, and don’t be afraid to geek out about yours. You can learn a lot about someone based on the things they are working toward in life. Start every conversation differently from the last — such as “hey, this song reminded me of you” or sharing a funny meme relating to an inside joke.
Sometimes the “talking” stage may lead to something more.
Once you are confident that there are mutual feelings, you can take things more seriously with the person you’ve chosen to spend your time and energy on. In an era of social distancing, dating may require some creativity. For example, you could send one another letters and gifts via snail mail. It’s a cute reminder that your connection is much more than a virtual one and that you’re a real person with real feelings.
The two of you could watch Netflix together, from a distance, using Netflix Party, an extension that allows users to watch the same show at the same time from a desktop. There’s even a chat room available for discussions. Some FaceTime and/or Skype date ideas could include cooking and eating together, drinking alcoholic beverages online, or playing virtual reality video games where you can hang out as an online persona (ahem, Animal Crossing anyone?).
Deciding if and when to meet
Patience is key.
There’s a point where virtual dates may not be enough to keep the spark alive between the two of you. As state-wide regulations loosen and public spaces begin to open, there will be a point where IRL dating is possible. Of course, one should proceed with caution, which is why I recommend the following date ideas:
Drive-in theaters: While most entertainment businesses have taken an economic blow due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing recommendations, drive-in theaters have become popular in the dating realm. Watch a movie with your boo-thang in the privacy of your car and socially distanced from others. It’s cheap, simple, and old-school.
Getting active together: Gym rats everywhere are anxious for work-out facilities to open up. If you and your partner need a confidence boost, then motivate each other to get active. Whether you sweat at a park or in your backyard, working out can bring you closer together.
A take-out picnic: Support a local business by ordering take-out and eating with your beau at a park. Be cautious of your distance to others and enjoy one another’s company. It’s a great way to enjoy the weather and be active amid the doing-nothingness that quarantine has called for. Take a speaker to enjoy some music as well.
Whether you choose to meet up or take it slow, dating is still possible in a socially distanced world.
Stay hopeful, flirt and have fun! ♥
By Edysmar Diaz-Cruz