Dating During the Pandemic: Tips from Expert Dating Coach Lauren Frances

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By Lauren Frances

Although dating during a pandemic might seem daunting, after months of lockdowns, shutdowns, and romantic isolation, the need for human connection is more front and center than ever! 

Although finding love during a global pandemic seems like a challenge, there are some great upsides, if you know how to do it safely. 

Finding out about someone’s character is one of the hardest things to discover about a new romantic partner.  And it’s easier now, than ever before. 

Most people spend years with the wrong partners, that seemed so right at the onset, because they didn’t feel comfortable asking meaningful questions from the onset.  

First dates B.C. (before Covid) were more about meeting quickly, feeling attracted and having fun together. The deeper questions were, for most daters, months down the road and, to be fair, there were a ton of fun things singles could do safely together, before they got down to more serious topics, like going to the movies, concerts, and restaurants, galore. Covid has focused the options. 

The phone call is the new normal first date-and how they negotiate meeting you, speaks volumes! 

You don’t want to put your health at risk for someone who doesn’t look like their photo, or isn’t really a good romantic fit. If you’ve met online, or on a dating app, most daters talk at length with new matches on the phone before having an IRL date, which is refreshing, as most singles had scant knowledge about who they were going to meet in-person,  before 2020.  

Don’t go from “swiping” to meeting up. Add a focused pre-date phone call before you agree to meet IRL. 

Covid has made daters more open to discussing meaningful relationship topics, and with incredible speed. Interestingly, many daters pre-Covid preferred to skip “the introductory get-to-know-you, phoner,  and went straight from texting to meeting. Although this is still true of many millennials, most singles in their 30’s and beyond are Swiping, Texting, and Phone-Chatting first.

Ask how they feel about mask wearing, what they’ve been doing or learning during Covid, what their relationship history has been like, and what they’re really looking for on a first phone call.  You’ll be surprised that they’ll be more than happy to tell you! 

Treat “phone calls” like IRL 3rd dates! 

At any other time, it would feel like prying to ask about a perfect stranger about their relationship goals, or romantic history, or political stance, on a first phone call.  It is perfectly okay to do so, in 2020, however.

These important compatibility coordinates were often not considered first date topics and left for singles to discover several dates – or months – down the road. It was always a total time waster. 

Don’t be shy- ask what you really want to know! 

If you click with the person, say, “I’ve had so much fun talking together, it would be great to schedule a Facetime or zoom date, next time!” And if they agree, it’s game on.  And should they refuse, just move on.  

Always schedule “Virtual Dates” and look like you would if you were meeting IRL!

First impressions last a lifetime, and if you don’t inspire romance when you see one another – virtually, then it’s not going to ever get to an IRL connection. As so many states around the country are now facing new lockdowns, the first time you meet in person might be while wearing a mask.  I advise my clients to take advantage of the opportunity of requesting a few FT dates before you take that giant step forward and meeting in person.

As mask wearing has become, sadly, so political, it might also be an indicator of their political bent, which in this heightened time, is also an important compatibility coordinate that you’ll want to hit. 

Always schedule your FT dates. First impressions last a lifetime. Take the time to get dressed and get out of your yoga pants, or sweatpants, and get dressed just like you would if you were going on an ACTUAL date. It’s definitely worth the effort. 

Tip: Buy a ring light! They make everyone look fabulous on Facetime and Zoom. 

Ask questions, first! And listen up!

Ask “How do you feel about mask wearing?” or “What has your dating life been like during Covid?”  Asking questions first, will make it more likely to get an honest response, and not sway them with your opinion, or give you the answer they think you want to hear.  You really need to know!

Always ask about where they stand on mask wearing, and Covid protocols prior to meeting up. 

If they give you an answer you don’t agree with, don’t argue with them about it. Just say

“Well, it was lovely chatting together, and I have to hop off the line, but thank you so much for taking the time to talk together on the phone.” 

Next! 

But if they do, say, “I so agree!” And if you like them you can ask them how they’ve been approaching meeting dates in the great outdoors.  They might say, “I haven’t met anyone in person yet” or, “I’ve been meeting at this great cafe with outdoor seating”.

I’ve had clients meet on park benches on the Upper East Side and take a walk along the river.

Outdoor sporting are also good;  activities like taking a walk, going to an outdoor market, or an outdoor café or bar.

If you’re both highly sensitive about the potential health risk, I suggest that you both agree to quarantine and take a Covid test prior to being intimate.

If this sounds like a lot of trouble to go through for a cup of coffee, a dry martini, or a goodnight kiss, know that when you find the right person,  it’ll be worth it!

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Lauren Frances is an internationally acclaimed love and relationship expert, bestselling author, and media personality, and she’s been featured on Bravo, Extra, NBC, Self Magazine, Elle Magazine, and more. Visit her website at www.laurenfrances.com for her free dating advice and podcasts, and visit her on IG at LaurenfrancesLove.