Date with purpose during COVID-19 | Opinion

Let’s say goodbye to COVID-19 and hello to Cupid. As a matchmaker here in South Florida, I have been hearing how the dating scene has been quite difficult to navigate for singles during the pandemic. The biggest hurdle is meeting someone organically. Many clients expressed how it really hit home they were “single and alone” during quarantine. They were confined to their homes, binge-watching Netflix and cooking for one. Nobody anticipated this pandemic to happen and therefore nobody was fully prepared. Many clients tell me they wish they weren’t so picky dating in the past and only wish they had the company now.

Many singles have resorted to online dating but still have obstacles to overcome. With online dating, everyone wants instant gratification; they want to get together immediately and there are a lot of expectations. It’s been frustrating not being able to meet in person and pictures aren’t always updated or accurate. One woman told me she got tired really quickly seeing all the same faces throughout all the various sites.

But you can adjust to new ways and make it work. COVID-19 has definitely made singles put more thought and effort behind meeting someone. Here are a few important tips that can make dating during a pandemic more stress-free and enjoyable:

  • Be more selective and prioritize your wants and needs better. Before COVID-19, we were more concerned with what we were wearing or what restaurant we wanted to eat at. Now we really need to be more selective and date with purpose. Only meet someone who has real potential. Think quality, not quantity.
  • Ask relative questions. Get an idea of the other person’s risk levels and precautions they’re taking. Everyone makes their own rules during COVID-19 and decides what they feel most comfortable with. Make sure you both respect each other’s comfort zones. You can even decide beforehand if wearing masks are an option. Determine who you can trust and who you feel safe hanging out with.
  • Maintain social distancing and precautions during the date. Decide beforehand where’s the best place to social distance. We are fortunate here in Florida we have nice weather 12 months out of the year. So anything outside always works best and is a safer choice. Taking a walk or meeting at a park are great options.
  • Deciding carefully how you meet someone is vital. That’s where a matchmaker can be a valuable alternative. A matchmaker is basically a personal dating recruiter. We are confidential, personalized and offline. COVID-19 has changed the process a little as well. I now do interviews outside on park benches or outdoors at Starbucks. I also offer Zoom calls if someone is more comfortable meeting me that way. I recently had two members (who are very COVID-19 conscious) meet virtually for happy hour for their first three dates. They said it was great. Another couple had a picnic at the beach for their first date. I tell everyone It’s about improvising, making concessions and thinking outside the box.
  • Dating can be beneficial. Please keep in mind, dating during COVID-19 can have its benefits. People are talking more and getting to know each other on a personal level, not a physical one. You’re learning different layers of each other. This can help determine if you really like someone or it enables you to weed them out a lot quicker. The pandemic has also shown how others handle stress, which is an important factor when choosing a partner. And many people are being more selective, looking for life partners, not one-night stands. Serial dating isn’t an option for many anymore. These are all important factors and great ways to make authentic connections.

COVID-19 was a definite eye-opener for many who have lost loved ones, or who were longing for human connection and/or companionship during these hard times. Let’s make this year about love. Think positive; where there is a will, there is a way.