Online Dating During Times of a Pandemic and Isolation
By Matt Fuller
It still feels inconceivable that being in a democratic, free and liberal country finds me living like I’m under house arrest. On the 23/03/2020, local and federal governments forcibly started shutting down businesses as part of their strategy to enforce strict social distancing measures in the wake of what is now gripping every corner of planet earth (COVID-19 Coronavirus).
Other than trying various strategies to keep each other 1.5 metres apart in accordance with social distancing rules, and with scientists around the world frantically testing for a Coronavirus vaccine solution, the world and its leaders have no answers to this crisis and have been brought to their knees.
The world has never seen an economic crisis such as the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis.
While families and couples can take some comfort in sharing the load of isolation, other groups of society are not able to. Day by day, authorities are tightening the social distancing rules. Two weeks ago, crowds of no more than five hundred people were not permitted to gather in public locations or venues, a week ago five hundred was reduced to ten people and with the spread of the virus still reeking-havoc citizens can now incur fines of $1500 if they are caught congregating in groups of three or more.
A man was recently fined by authorities for eating his lunch on a park bench.
Bit by bit, day by day, we are being stripped to the bone of what we rightly took for granted. Bars, shops, parks, restaurants, cafes, schools, gyms, bootcamps, universities, the library – all off limits! and I’m just getting started!
With isolation being widely linked to depression and mental health issues, we are walking the walk with unknown consequences and no one yet knows the amount of devastation that awaits our fragile society once we get to the other side.
Authorities are now warning their citizens that they are not permitted to leave their homes even to visit their best friend or partner – “all non-essential travel must be cancelled”, including holidays. Authorities are telling citizens that self-isolation - means self-isolation. And they must not leave their homes for reasons other than if they are visiting essential services such as the grocery store, medical purposes or on grounds of compassion.
If you live alone, and you’re single, where does all this leave you?
A lot has been cancelled thanks to Coronavirus, but dating doesn’t need to be one of them!
We reached out to a couple of online dating sites and the good news is that there are more people using dating sites right now than before the effects of Coronavirus kicked in. Free Dating Australia told us their website traffic is up 25%! Hey, this is great news for singles! Right now, you basically have more choice and more time to get to know more single people. So, if you’re single and in lockdown it’s time to get excited! Get started with these 5 tips for online dating during times of a pandemic and isolation.
Daters listen up. Get on the apps stay on the apps. This is actually the perfect time to get to know people. It may seem a little awkward at first but start using your video chats, face-time, Skype or Zoom. Treat it as a normal date and show up. If you both decide on a second date, grab some cheese and wine for a more informal date. Date number three can be a theme date so dress up or down depending on what you decide to do. Stream a cooking class together or choose a Netflix movie to watch simultaneously.
2. Cyber Date Benefits
Think of how much easier it will be to get out of a first-time awkward date if it’s via a video app date! How many times have you had to sit through a date hoping and praying it ends soon! And besides, app dates are super convenient. You’ll save time not having to sit around in coffee shops waiting for your date to turn up (or not turn up). You’ll be able to super-charge your dating and weed out incompatible people and offers a great chance to get to know the people you actually want to meet. Once you start meeting and connecting with people with whom you have chemistry, you’ll build up excitement and anticipation in the lead up to eventually meet them.
3. Social Media
Nobody exists these days without social media. Most people typically use at least two forms; Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat being the most widely used. Then we have all the messaging apps; KaKaoTalk, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Messenger, GroupMe. Oh, and I almost forgot, the trusty text message SMS. In today’s Coronavirus climate it’s (thankfully) easy to stay in touch by using social media to further crystalize friendships you made through dating apps. What did we ever do without apps! What once seemed like a Herculean proposition in building up the courage to ask someone out (face to face) something Generation Z will only read about in the history books, is now a pastime. A quick “hey” in the form of an instant message means you get to bypass the need to interact in person.
4. Update your dating profile
Anyone who has used online dating shares a common experience. That is, it’s a long road to success and you’ll need to think of online dating as a long-term investment of your time. Like anything, if you’re patient and sensible on how you approach anything, in time you’ll see dividends. Online dating is no different, it’s a law of averages and sooner or later your number will come up! Use your time in isolation to update your photos and write a profile that’s original. For the guys; a lot of women will spend more time than you do actually reading your dating profile. You’ll stand out if you spend the time writing an interesting and creative profile. It may come as a surprise to you, but 63% of singles dating online do read dating profiles.
5. Self-isolate means Self-isolate
If you’ve started communicating with someone who is insisting you should meetup and isn’t respecting your boundaries, then they probably aren’t someone that’s worth meeting. If you’ve just met someone online and were really hitting it off, what should you do? Wanting to meet up in person is completely reasonable but staying indoors and fighting this virus on a united front is exponentially more important than satisfying your curiosity in meeting up with someone. Use this time to build the chemistry and get to know someone on a deeper level for a longer period of time than you normally would.
Maintaining human interaction during this pandemic is the best thing you can do for the sake of your health. If you are single and do not have others with you in self-isolation you are in fact in a higher risk category for mental health problems than couples and families. Sociology 101. Human beings, just like many other animals, are innately social. Lengthy periods of being isolated from social settings will lead to loneliness, depression and anxiety all of which negatively affect our health. A survey for Younger Australian Loneliness @ Swinburne University said that loneliness in young adults aged between 18-25 was associated with poor mental health and were susceptible to higher rates of disease and injury which also includes poorer cardiovascular health.
Thanks to dating and messaging apps, meaningful connections are out there. While you’re stuck indoors and single you have a small window of time for self-improvement. How often do we say ‘I don’t have time’? Well right now, you do have the time! Learn meditation, stream a regular fitness class or do an online course and emerge on the other side bigger and better than ever.