Technology can help keep your romantic life alive.
Life has radically changed this year, but that doesn’t mean you should stop looking for love. Some of the best dating apps will make sure you’re still putting yourself out there.
Sure, gone are hook-ups with strangers or meeting someone in the flesh, but getting to know someone before taking it to the next level, creative courtship, and connecting mentally and emotionally before having a physical relationship have replaced those.
Having an online date can be fun; you just have to expand your ideas on what a date should look like. People are still using online dating apps and finding success. And while some quarantine matches won’t last, they’re a good distraction and a way to pass the time.
If you’re sheltering in place, an online date gives you a chance to flirt and talk to a potential partner. And, even better, you won’t have to worry about awkward first dates when you have solutions right at your fingertips.
Here are the best dating apps perfect for getting to know someone while social distancing.
The Blindlee app takes the idea that love is blind to heart. Where some dating apps are all about superficial profiles, Blindlee’s goal is to connect two strangers who meet specific criteria on a 3-minute blurred video call.
Blindlee helps by providing ice-breakers to keep the conversation going. The woman has control of the blur and can make it as blurry as they want. If they decide they want to see the whole picture, the other person must also agree. The couple is only allowed to match after the call.
The call’s purpose is to see if there is any chemistry between them and if they have enough in common to connect on a deeper level. If you enjoy the show Love is Blind, this may be the app for you.
If you’re looking for love, a helpful business contact, or even a new friend, Bumble is for you. When members of the opposite sex match on Bumble, the woman is the one who must make the first move. Bumble believes that this shifts the old-fashioned power dynamics and encourages equality from the start.
Bumble has video chat and voice calls, which is especially important now. To use the video chat and voice calls, the users must match first. Video chats allow you to get to know someone without either person having to take any unnecessary risks.
3. Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel is like a more meaningful Tinder.
Their goal is to not only help people connect, but to spark deeper emotions and create an environment where people feel safe to share their authentic selves. Every day at noon, the Coffee Meets Bagel algorithm sends you quality matches chosen just for you.
Since the pandemic, Coffee Meets Bagel users have been going on virtual dates — game nights, online museum tours, movie nights, and coffee dates. These virtual dates keep the connection going and allow people to get to know each other without meeting in person.
eHarmony has been around since 2000, and they ranked #1 for marriages created by a dating site. According to dating and relationship expert, Kayla Broek, if you’re looking for a long-term partner that you have a lot in common with, eHarmony is the best option out there.
“Now that the pace of life has slowed down a bit due to COVID-19, a lot more people are interested in taking the time to really think about what they want and thoroughly consider other partners,” she says.
With eHarmony, you only receive a few matches a day. eHarmony’s premium members can meet virtually before exchanging contact information via their video chat feature. The virtual date ideas, including showing potential mates around your house, cooking a recipe together in your separate kitchens, and sharing your hobbies.
5. Facebook Dating
What better way to safely date than with an app you already know and use like Facebook? And don’t worry — no one outside Facebook Dating will see your profile or conversations.
Facebook Dating is inclusive and includes non-binary genders and sexual orientations, 20 personality questions you can answer, and you can even turn off matching with friends of friends. As with any app or social media platform, be smart about the information you share and listen to your instincts — if someone seems shady, let them go.
The Facebook dating app is only available on your phone; there’s no computer access.
No, GOATdate isn’t where you go on a date with baby goats! Though, that would be pretty ridiculous and awesome.
GOAT stands for “greatest of all time,” but don’t let that put you off. At GOATdate, users start with the Graze phase where users review their match profiles, “like” them, and if they match, schedule “five minutes only” dates.
Users have that five minutes to decide if they want to pursue anything further. All users are required to undergo video verification to weed out fake profiles, online scams, or “goatfishing.” Security is a priority for GOATdate, and they stress not to do anything you haven’t consented to or feel comfortable with.
Happn was the first app to use real-time geolocation to help people find matches who live nearby but may have missed in real-time. Due to the pandemic, Happn extended the radius of people users may cross paths with, and they added video dating options.
They have 70 million members, 4.9 million messages received and sent per day, and 1.5 million new users per day. Happn reminds me of Craigslist Missed Connections, except as an app.
HER is a dating app geared towards LGBTQ, womxn, and queer people.
The app is about helping people find their soulmates, friends for life, cuddle buddies, and more. It’s about finding your community, your person, and building an emotional connection. You sign up for HER through Facebook or Instagram, and the app takes most of your information from that.
The HER blog says this about dating during quarantine: “If you think about it, this way of dating is actually nothing new. Traditionally, courtships could last for months and might involve letter writing or the exchange of photographs. If you can frame it this way, you might find that there is something quite romantic about the longing and anticipation that comes with dating from afar, for now.”
Hinge calls themselves “the app designed to be deleted.” They have seen a great deal of change since the pandemic started — people are putting much more effort into dating than ever before!
Users are beginning more conversations and sending more messages to their matches. Video chatting has had an enormous rise in popularity as well.
Before quarantine, most Hinge users didn’t use video chat; during quarantine, at least 1/3 have, and it’s growing all the time. One of the things that stopped people from using video chat was that they were worried it would be awkward, but now, they find that meeting this way is less awkward than many first dates in person.
Match is known for helping people find long-term relationships and are taking dating during the pandemic very seriously. They have their experts on hand to answer any questions.
When a member asked if they should continue dating, they got this response: “Absolutely, just not in person. There are many ways to date and meet people safely right now. Spend time getting to know people online via messaging and text, and when you feel that there may be a match, use video to go on virtual dates.”
To date virtually, Match experts suggest using Whatsapp, Zoom, and Google Hangouts, and to send a calendar invite with the time and a link to the video date.
A recent OkCupid survey found that 85 percent of the 70,000 who answered said it’s crucial to develop an emotional connection before a physical one. The switch to slow dating has allowed these emotional connections to thrive.
OkCupid has also had a 5 percent increase in users looking for long-term relationships and a 20 percent decrease in users looking for hook-ups.
The OkCupid blog says, “Single people are still dating, and because everybody is stuck at home with a quieter social schedule, they have more time to fire up a conversation with someone new. There are fewer distractions, so matches can get to know each other. And when the time finally comes to meet offline, their connection may be that much deeper and stronger because of it.”
12. Plenty of Fish
Plenty of Fish launched their new LIVE! Feature, which allows live streaming with friends and potential matches as a way to fill in the absence of in-person dating.
The company sent out a message to users recommending that in-person dates be suspended immediately, with links to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) updates on COVID-19.
Plenty of Fish also included a checklist on its Instagram page with tips on how to date. At the same time, social distancing: “This list covers our best tips for dating digitally, emphasizing that all singles should politely decline any invitations to hang out in person, and instead should invite one another on a digital date via video chat.”
Tinder was never just about hooking up — it’s about making friends, casual dating, or meeting that special person. Tinder recognizes that during this time, people are feeling anxious and lonely, and want to have conversations with many different kinds of people, in many different locations.
They’ve taken the paywall down for their Passport Feature. And now, Tinder users can unlock their location and meet people in any part of the world.
This is a dating app for curvy people to find love. Their mission is to let curvy people feel attractive, confident, and loved for who they are and championing women of all sizes, shapes, genders, and ethnicities.
WooPlus is about body positivity and finding acceptance. They feature stories about dates to have after lockdown is over, and ways to keep the conversation going.
According to a survey of 2,200 WooPlus users, 33 percent are currently waiting out the coronavirus before meeting matches in person for a first date.
Zoosk’s mission is to empower everybody to lead a more fulfilling love life. If it’s choices you want, Zoosk has 40 million users in over 80 countries, and includes clients who are gay, lesbian, queer-friendly, and who have a wide range of ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds.
You don’t have to fill out a lengthy questionnaire, since Zoosk looks at your existing social media accounts and incorporates your info into an account. Its Behavioral Matchmaking engine and algorithm takes into account who you’re liking, messaging, and winking at to give you better matches.
It’s not surprising to note that Zoosk started as one of the first Facebook apps.
Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She’s had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, and Woman’s Day. Visit her website or and her Instagram.