With a light flickering oh-so dimly up ahead signaling the end to our days in isolation, a new question is emerging:
Will dating — specifically how we get dates — be the same?
Trauma and triggers
It’s important for people — all people — to recognize how traumatic this experience has been for many of us. The financial, emotional, mental and physical toll this scare has taken will last for some time. As someone with chronic depression, isolation has always been one of my biggest triggers. I imagine that has been the case for a large number of singles that suffer from mental illness. The fear of the unknown — and of coming in contact with a virus we still don’t fully understand — weighs heavy, opening up portals in our minds that we have tried hard to keep closed. These doorways lead to places so triggering that venturing into them could undo all the work we’ve done to combat anxiety, negative thought patterns and obsessive thinking. It’s impossible for things to stay the same after what we’ve endured these past several weeks.
Even if someone doesn’t have mental health struggles, they’re still going to adjust to the changes in their routine. Some may never return to their jobs or their offices. For almost two months, they will have performed all of their regular responsibilities and habits by themselves or online. Their social outlets have, for the most part, been conducted via the internet. As a result, new habits and comfort zones have been created.
Right now, many singles are in a holding pattern. Should they bother using dating apps or online dating sites?
Yes. Here’s why: because — finally! — people are hungry for real connection. Our attention spans had shrunk so drastically that we got bored after exchanging one or two messages. Now, people want to make substantive conversation. Users have one very big commonality — they’re all stuck at home. There’s a camaraderie bonding them, providing them with a topic to discuss. Because many singles now work remotely and have adjusted to using platforms like Zoom and Group Hang Outs, they’re more comfortable with having video chats, something we previously avoided.
The thing that makes dating so hard — in addition to the lack of accountability many possess — is the frequency with which we experience disappointment and rejection. Exchanging messages for days (please don’t do that) and having your hopes built up just to find out you’ve been unmatched or have the person ghost can be soul-crushing. Propelling that behavior — I think — is a false sense of abundance. Many believe there’s a neverending stream of options from which they can choose. They’re always going to be able to dip their toe back into the pool whenever they want, so what’s the rush?
That is, until a global pandemic shuts everything down and forces people to stay inside their homes. Hooking-up, having drinks, finding love all became impossible to do. That stream ran dry literally overnight. And it could again in a few months when we deal with a possible second wave of shut-downs. That possibility looms, and we all know it. Time is of the essence. Carpe that diem, kids.
The New First Date
What’s the most frustrating thing about First Dates? If you’re like most singles, it’s investing time, effort and money into getting ready and Lyfting to a bar only to have one drink and stale conversation. People were getting sick of traditional first dates long before they had to put on rubber gloves and a face mask just to take a walk around their block.
From interacting with many of my customers during our virtual parties and activities, I’m sensing that on-site first dates will become less common. In their place will be video first dates. Less muss, less fuss, and cheaper, too. I feel bad for those guys who liked to suggest coffee dates because they refused to spend more than $5 on a date. Now how will they test women??
I’m excited for this change not only because I think it will slow down dating burn out but will provided a much needed level of comfort and safety for women. And…no pants required! We’ve all become newscasters: business up top and party down below.
If you're worried about cleaning your apartment, you can use Zoom's Virtual Background option. You