By Raquel Pacheco
Dating apps are no stranger to us. Most of us have tried the famous art of swiping and all the aspects that come along with it. Multiple matches, a bit of ordinary small talk and with some luck, a subsequent date. But something strange is currently happening. Video chats are the new first dates, conversations are becoming lengthy and more profound, and we are now forced to take things slow. Could this be a new turn in the dating game?
Dating can feel incredibly overwhelming, especially when it comes to meeting strangers. Initial awkwardness, the regular first date questions and of course, the first kiss nerves – we’ve all been there. Until fairly recently, there was a strong stigma when it came to dating apps. Sometimes, it may have felt strangely embarrassing to share you’ve been using Tinder or Bumble due to the prevailing fear of being judged. But as social distancing is becoming the new normal, and we endure lockdown measures, dating apps are becoming more popular than ever. Tinder CEO Elie Seidman told Forbes:
“While we are socially distant, we definitely aren’t disconnected. More than ever, having someone to talk can make a world of a difference.”
Foremost, the Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our dating game. We are no longer able to see or touch people the way we used to. The brief gratification of a one-night stand has been paused for some time and has gradually led to an intense and less usual connection between people – emotional intimacy.
There is surely an unexpected payoff to this current isolation- our “getting to know you” process has been prolonged. Those early stages, where we find ourselves sharing our deepest passions and memories with a potential partner, are the ones we end up cherishing the most. In fact, romantic love can happen quickly, even instantly, whereas feelings of profound affection take time to develop.
As our search for connection continues to escalate, the pandemic has led to an increase in the usage of the apps. Hinge reported a 30% boost in messages during March whereas OkCupid has experienced a 10% growth in matches. However, it is not only our usage that is changing but also our behaviour. Surprisingly, the Coronavirus pandemic has become the principal catalyst for a change in the way we approach dates. No more wine or film dates; video chats are now in. Dating apps have been encouraging their users to meet through virtual dates and offering their new video features. In the past, video dates would have been considered unimaginable, but it seems we’ve given video chats a second chance due to our persistent attempt to connect. Priti Joshi, Bumble’s vice-president of strategy, told Forbes:
“When physical connection is limited, humans will seek out other means to interact. Video calling is meeting that demand.”
There are some undeniable advantages in meeting our dates via Zoom or Facetime. Think about it- we instantly judge someone’s attitude, voice or even haircut within minutes of meeting them. Video dates are providing us with the background information we need to decide whether we are into that potential partner or not. We could be saving ourselves kissing a few frogs or actually meet someone special.
As hard as these times may seem, we will always have an undying need of connection. A new approach in the process of courtship has flourished- saving us some money as well as some unwanted admirers. Whether it is via video dates or phone calls, these bizarre times may have led us to more meaningful and deeper relationships- and that is definitely something to look forward to.
What about you? Do you think this is a good opportunity to get to know our romantic interests better?