Most of us have forgotten how to talk to people, let alone how to date. But we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. You’re thinking, “Okay I better dust off my stilettos/cowboy boots/special date Birkenstocks. People are rarin’ to go.” Before you get all stressed and dressed to impress, we’ve got to tell you something. It’s true, people are super excited about getting to go out again. But Covid has changed dating (not a shocker: it seems to have changed everything), and it might even be for the better! Read on for tips on your return to dating and our quicky guide to hooking up.
How? Endless lockdowns, self-discovery, and some loneliness.
Here’s how that might have changed the dating game:
- Many people had to stay inside by themselves for a long time. And guess what? Lots of humans, especially the single among us, have had more than a few epiphanies. Be they wine-fueled, book-fueled, or middle of the night “AHA!” fueled, people have learned about who they want to be, what they value, and who they want to spend their time with.
- The pandemic means that there is a whole new layer of trust involved with dating. You need to trust the person is adhering to safety protocols. According to Bumble, “The current level of risk involved in dating sets the bar way higher than usual for meeting someone new: you’re trusting this person with your health.”
- Because people want to build trust, and because many people have realized what qualities they want in a future partner, many people have also found that the period of getting to know one another before that first meet up has become a lot longer. People are taking the time to text, phone call, even Zoom call to get to know one another on a much deeper and more intimate level than before.
- Spending all that time in lockdown achieved something else. More people have decided that they are looking for something serious and not just a seasonal fling. Hookup culture might not be everyone’s slice of dating pie come summertime.
How to navigate this brave new world of dating?
- Be prepared to spend some time getting to know people before you meet up. Don’t be offended if the first meetup isn’t right away. People may be more wary, ask more questions, and less inclined to meet up until they are sure they can trust their potential new fling.
- Be mindful. Many people may be feeling cautious are not going to meet up until health officials say they can. This is normal. If you feel the spark, don’t discount your future soulmate just because they aren’t quite ready to hit the Clubs until Dr. Bonnie says so.
- Be open about your beliefs and your habits. People will want to know about how you’ve acted through the pandemic, who your bubble is, and maybe even if you’ve been vaccinated. It’s the unfortunate reality of our times. Being open about who you are from the get-go also ensures that no one is wasting their time.
- Plan lots of outdoor activities. Parks, picnics, walks, hikes, bike rides, roller-blading, frisbee, and other fun activities give you time to get to know each other without the formal pressure of a sit-down dinner or a silent movie night. It’s actually kind of nice – you’ll get to know if your favourite outdoor hobbies match. You’ll also benefit from the happiness of some exercise-induced endorphin boosts, making the experience all the more enjoyable.
- Be yourself. Honestly, so many of us think we have forgotten how to talk to people but the thing is, it’s kind of nice to just be yourself. Tell new matches about the mini-Lego city you built throughout the winter, the obsession with sour dough that almost bankrupted your savings, and that secret knitting habit you picked up. Tell new suitors what you’ve discovered about yourself and what new passions ignite your flames. The best part about being open and honest is that you can avoid the pressure to pretend you’re someone else and you’ll weed out partners that aren’t compatible with who you’ve become.
- Know you’re not alone! The wildest thing about this pandemic is that it is world-wide. It was felt around the globe and it gives us a mutual experience to start conversations with. “Hey, how did you cope?” We are all in the same boat: no shame, no judgement.
- Channel all those discoveries you’ve made, and use them. Write lists of qualities you want in a partner, write lists of qualities you want to have as a partner, write lists of activities you found yourself wishing you could do in lockdown. The memories of these discoveries will fade over time – immortalize them.
- Don’t compromise and don’t give in to pressure. The loneliness was SO REAL, but you know what? You made it. Don’t feel pressured to jump into a relationship with someone that may not be right for you just because the world has opened up again and the mating frenzy has begun. Keep yourself safe, set your boundaries, and don’t compromise.
- DO have FUN and don’t be afraid to risk rejection. The world is your oyster. Do all the things you’ve missed – go for walks, coffee dates, wine nights, hikes, sporting events, whatever you missed the most. Do it and if you want to bring someone along for the ride, why not? Don’t hesitate to ask, even if you are scared of rejection. At the very least you’ll have planned a super fun day for yourself. On the plus side, you may end up on the best first date ever or even just making a new best friend.
- Take your time. If you feel social anxiety, a little trepidation in big crowds, or not quite ready yet to meet up with total strangers that is TOTALLY OK. Wade in slowly. Dip a toe in, start a conversation on messenger, have a phone call or two. Not for you? Wait another few weeks and see if you are ready to start. There is NO RUSH. If you’re not ready your potential new mates will sense it and everyone will end up feeling the pressure. Just go with the flow and honour your own feelings – when the time is right, dive in!
Don’t miss our amazing guides to dating in BC – from outdoor adventures, to mountaintop hikes, to coffee in Nelson, to Margaritas in Vancouver, we’ve got you covered. First stop? Nelson, BC.