The Covid-19 pandemic swept through the world, influencing every facet of life and changing the way we do a lot of things; the way we work, the way we play, even down to the way we dress, and worship in religious places have all been greatly impacted by the pandemic.
But what a lot of people probably haven’t realized is that it is also affecting the way we go into romance and romantic relationships especially from online dating. More specifically, it has affected the first date questions that used to matter to us.
First date questions are very important to a lot of people because it helps them gauge the possibility of compatibility. These questions range from favourite places and favourite dishes to greatest regrets and greatest achievements, preferences between dogs and cats, mum and dad, Messi and Ronaldo etc.
But according to a Kaspersky report, the first questions for online dating prospects who wish to meet in person for the first time is rapidly becoming about the possibility of being a health risk. According to the report, four-in-10 people (42%) globally prefer to only meet with someone in person who has antibodies or a vaccine certificate.
In essence, nearly half of the folks on online dating platforms wish to be certain their prospective partners are Covid-19-free before meeting in person. This is not surprising considering how deadly the virus has proved to be especially in Europe, South America and Asia.
People have become anxious and their anxiety has reflected in the number of people who do not meet any of their datings matches offline. Including Covid-19 vaccination as a compatibility criterion has more than doubled the number of users who don’t find matches on dating apps from 16% to 35%.
Dating apps gained more usage during enforced lockdowns when nearly 3 billion people were forced to remain indoors. The situation continued well after lockdowns were lifted, with the pandemic still very much around and limiting social interactions.
According to Fortune.com, in March 2020, Tinder recorded its highest number of swipes on a single day: 3 billion. From March to May 2020, OkCupid saw a 700% increase in dates. And over on Bumble, video calls increased by 70%. Seems that even a pandemic can’t stop the search for love.
Asides from the health and safety angle, there’s also the security angle with many people wary about meeting the wrong people. According to Kaspersky’s report, overall, 50% of dating app users feel nervous or unsafe when they meet a date in person for the first time.
In order to reduce some of these concerns, 72% of people who use online dating platforms want to first talk by phone or video with a date before they agree to meet.
As German therapist Birgitt Hölzel puts it, it’s a normal reaction for dating app users to play it safe by insisting on meeting only those who take their need for security and safety seriously.
Dating apps have made it possible to connect with new people during the pandemic. Virtually. A physical encounter is something else entirely. It’s about body language, smell and touch. Only when these components come together can we really decide how we feel about that person. That’s why it’s a normal reaction for dating app users to play it safe – by insisting on meeting only those who take their need for security and safety seriously.
Clearly, the pandemic has affected a lot of things. While it is greatly influencing how people meet online before going on offline dates, it doesn’t seem like the last thing it would be changing.