There’s no two ways about it, dating during COVID is a confusing and frustrating time. We’re all doing the best we can and figuring things out as we go in such an uncertain world.
In this article, we’re going to cover nine quick tips to help you out. By the end you’ll have a far better idea of how to navigate things right now — modern dating etiquette in the face of a global pandemic. Of course, make sure you check your local guidelines and regulations as they continue to change and evolve.
Be selective about what you put your time into
Under regular conditions, dating can be a bit of a numbers game. Particularly if we’re talking about online dating for both short and long-term fun. Especially when looking for short-term distractions you need to make sure you’re only using the tried and true hookup apps proven to work and not just wasting your time on other apps.
Under current conditions, we all need to dial it back a little and be more selective. I’m generally a strong advocate for escalating quickly and meeting up for a drink asap. Right now though, we need to slow it down, vet our matches and conversations, and go from there.
If you’re actively meeting people while you’re out and about, the same advice applies. Be more selective than you might otherwise be and limit the number of people you’re in physical contact with.
I’m the last person to go shaming people for hookups, but mid-pandemic isn’t really the time.
Leverage online dating
Since social distancing is the aim of the game right now, online dating has never been more important. You can “meet” and get to know new people without any risk of physical contact.
While that will come later, we can chat, get to know each other and figure out if we’re really into it. Narrow it down to a few that you’re interested in and go from there. It also removes that slight element of risk when it comes to online dating in general.
As we’ll get to in a moment, you can even use technology to have a “face to face” conversation with zero risk.
Make the most of technology at our fingertips
While COVID is fun for nobody, we can at least look at the silver lining here. It’s forced new technology to come to the foreground and for people to become more comfortable with it.
Most dating apps even have voice and video chat features built in. You can have a video chat with the other person without even leaving the dating app now.
I know, I know. It’s not the same. Still, it lets you see exactly what the other person looks and sounds like and have a “face to face” conversation from a distance.
If the two of you aren’t compatible, you can call it quits after a video chat without ever risking a deadly pandemic.
Lean toward outdoor date options
Bars and coffee shops are usually the best options for a first date for a host of reasons. While they’re still my favorite, they just aren’t a wise choice right now.
Rather than sitting in an indoor space (if it’s even available right now with current restrictions!), find some outdoor options instead. Go for a walk somewhere scenic, plan a low-key picnic in a local park or head to the beach.
The more space you can have between the two of you and everyone else, the better.
Avoid busy spaces
Leading on from the previous point, do what you can to avoid busy public areas. If you’re outdoors but still bumping into people to squeeze down the sidewalk, that’s a social distancing fail.
Instead, look for places you can expect to be quiet. Personally I’ve been sticking with local parks and riverside locations and it’s worked well. During daylight hours so she can feel safe — suggesting we meet up at 10 p.m. in a dark park is a little unsettling even at the best of times.
Don’t go on a date if either of you have any of the symptoms
This is an obvious one but it needs to be mentioned nonetheless. Keep an eye on the latest CDC advice but as of writing this article, they list the following:
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.
In short, if you have even mild symptoms from this list, stay at home. Likewise, if they have any of these symptoms, then go get tested and postpone that date. It’s just not worth it.
If things are particularly bad in your city at the time, it’s worth you both getting tested prior to meeting up anyway.
Understand there’s an inherent risk of dating during a pandemic
No matter where we go or how careful we are, dating during COVID carries a potentially fatal risk. I’m all about positivity and finding the silver lining in negative situations, but it’s also important this fact is clear.
There’s no such thing as completely safe dating unless we limit it to just phone and video conversations. Any degree of physical interaction has at least some amount of risk.
Especially when it comes to sexual contact, even the experts are unclear of the risk. All they know is that it’s impossible to remove all risk of transmission. Current advice is to wear a mask while intimate and avoid kissing new people. Only you can decide if the reward is worth the risk.