Yep, according to daters. While the Coronavirus pandemic has changed a number of ways in which we go about our daily lives, people are still connecting and looking for social interaction.
In fact, according to Match.com, daters are searching more seriously than before. The dating service found that more than half of Americans (63%) said they’re taking more time to get to know their dates. Video dating is also on the rise, with 68% using it as a means to determine if they want an “in-real-life” date.
Experts are cautioning, however, that those who want to date should first find out where your potential partner stands, or essentially, have the “COVID Conversation.” We’ve enlisted the help of experts to find out what questions you should ask, whether that’s before the first date, during the first date, or on a subsequent date. We took their advice and boiled it down to seven questions to ask your new date. The goal here is to get a sense of where they stand early-on as you both learn more about each other.
7 Questions to Ask When Having the COVID Conversation
How are you taking care of yourself these days?
By asking this question, you open the door for your date to share what they’ve been doing for themselves. They might share things they do on a daily basis for self-care and also bring up the pandemic. The goal with this question is to find out how they are, what habits they may have, and get their perspective on the pandemic.
If the pandemic is something that’s on your date’s mind, they may share with you that they’ve been trying to protect themselves and others. Liam Barnett, Dating Expert and Relationship Coach with Dating Zest, recommends asking where they stand in terms of health precautions: “How much do you respect the precautions for safety? (like wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, keeping distance, etc.).” It may feel direct, but it’s important to make sure your potential partner is on the same side of the spectrum.
How do you feel about going out and interacting with others?
By asking your date this question, you find out if they have somewhat of a structured approach when it comes to interacting with others or if they’re more loose about interactions. Michelle Devani, Founder of Love Devani, shares a variant of this question: “What precautions do you take before and after interactions?”
The goal here is for you to see whether or not their actions and habits align well with your own for interacting with others. For instance, your date might be okay with going to an indoor mall to shop, while you might be a little more hesitant about indoor shopping. Or, your date may avoid entertaining family and friends at their home, while you are the opposite.
Ultimately, you’ll need to find out whether or not their habits align with yours, because if you both decide to meet in-person later down the road, you’re both agreeing to the associated risks.
What do you do for a living?
You don’t want to sound like you’re interviewing your date, so there is a way to ask this politely without being prying. By asking this question, you’ll get a sense of whether or not they have to leave home regularly for work. Some individuals may have to leave home and work around others, which potentially raises their risk, while others are allowed to work from home, which could potentially lower associated risks. Additionally, you’ll be able to just learn more about what they do for work, and whether or not that affects your compatibility.
Tell me about some of your short- or long-term goals.
While this doesn’t directly connect to a discussion about the virus, it can help you get an understanding about a person’s direction in life. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get an honest picture of things they’d like to accomplish in the near term as well as down the road. In a sense, you can also get a feel for how they think and maneuver throughout life, whether they’re more focused on the “right now,” or the future, or whether they take a more balanced approach.
What qualities do you typically look for in a date?
Find out if your date is looking for a serious relationship or something more casual right now. Interestingly, many Americans appear to be looking for something genuine by taking the dating process slower and trying to get to know their date, even if it’s over FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Zoom.
Do you live with other people?
Another way of asking this is, “Do you live alone?” Find out if your date shares a space with other people (or a furry friend). If they live with a roommate, family members, or friends, that means a greater risk of potential transmission if you both choose to meet up in person.
If we were to continue seeing each other, would you want to date virtually, in-person, or a mix of both?
Find out which scenario your date prefers and share your preference as well. It’s better to be upfront about this at the beginning so that you’re both honest and can create an open space for potentially navigating how you’ll go about dating in times to come if things work out.
Is It Safe to Date in Person Right Now?
We wanted to gain insight from the experts on whether or not they felt people could still date “IRL” and take precautions for their safety.
Sam Nabil, CEO and Lead Therapist with Naya Clinics says that it’s okay to date in-person yet follow best practices to keep each other safe: “Each party should be wearing their masks, have their own personal mini-bottles of hand sanitizer readily available, and practicing social distancing.”
Devani mentioned that it is a challenge to date in-person right now, but it’s still possible. However, taking precautions won’t completely wipe out the risks: “Following safety precautions like wearing masks and sanitizing, and choosing to meet outdoors may reduce (but not necessarily eliminate) the risk of infection.”
Ultimately, it’s better to date virtually to reduce any chance of contracting or spreading the virus.
On the bright side, if there’s a genuine connection, you both can look ahead to hopefully meeting in-person at a later date and going out to a favorite restaurant or enjoying a favorite pastime together.
If you both choose to date virtually, whether by app or meeting up through a video platform, here are some quick and easy tips to remember.
4 Quick Safety Tips for Virtual Dating
- Be judicious about the personal information you share with someone new. While it can be tempting to let your guard down via a FaceTime or Zoom call, you still need to be careful about what you share as you never know how that person may intend to use it.
- Do a little research on your date. If you’ve never spoken with or have met your date before, do some online research to try to learn a little more about them. If you have any questions or concerns, try to find a way to bring them up over the course of your date.
- If something feels off, it’s okay to politely walk away. If things don’t appear to be going well while on your date, you can politely exit the date. You don’t have to lie about your plans but can genuinely think of something that you may need to do or take care of, and after the date go and do just that. Not all virtual dates lead to warm, fuzzy feelings, and that’s okay. Use it as a learning experience and then move on.
- If things go well, decide on plans for the next date. On the other hand, if you both enjoyed each other’s company, go ahead and decide on plans for the next date. Having a plan in place can help lessen anxiety and even heighten anticipation to see your date again virtually. If you need ideas, we have an entire list of virtual dating ideasto help make the next one special.
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