Will the dating world ever go back to normal?
Let’s cut to the chase: dating can either lead to an amazing love story or it can be an absolute nightmare. Whether that’s because he wasn’t the hunk in his profile picture or he asked you to pay because he forgot his wallet, there are millions of reasons why dating absolutely sucks, and because of this, dating anxiety is so real.
Dating apps have completely revolutionized the concept of dating and casually hooking up with strangers in your area. However, it has also made dating a “there is always someone better for me” game.
We are constantly surfing through social apps on our phones and are exposed to the lives of random people and celebrities showing off their most prized possessions.
It could be a new home that was purchased in the hills, or a new boy toy to lust over, but we are always going to compare ourselves and our lives where we don’t compete.
Take all of those factors into this complicated equation, and add in a global pandemic, and you will be left with an absolute wreck.
The COVID-19 disaster not only stopped everyone from going outside of their homes to work or school, but it left the singles stranded in their apartments, wondering when the next time they’d go on a date again.
According to Vanity Fair, “Bumble saw an 84% increase in video calls in the US during the week ending March 27 compared to the week before. Hinge reported a 30% increase in messaging worldwide in March compared to January and February.”
Not only did the Coronavirus pandemic completely alter our everyday lives but it has created such anxiety and fear of how the world will resume once a proper vaccine is made.
I know what you’re probably thinking. “How am I going to go on a date post-quarantine if I look and feel like a mess?”
Don’t worry, you are not alone, friend. A lot of people have been indoors for so long that their hair is growing hair. Our roots are screaming at us to go to the salon and our nails look like we were scratching velcro all day.
It’s really tough to be indoors for almost three months especially when you have anxiety; you’re constantly sitting with your thoughts and there is nowhere to go other than the room next-door.
A lot of people who have had to resort to virtual dating during quarantine have both positive and negative comments about their experiences.
I asked a couple of my friends how they feel about going on dates post-quarantine, and this is what each of them had to say.
“I wouldn’t mind going on a date with someone in a couple of weeks. I mean, it’s summer after all. I don’t know how much more of the indoors I can handle. The only problem I have with everything is the idea of not being able to invite them over to my apartment after we’ve been out all day. I don’t know, it’s going to be a lot of trial and error.”— Marley, 23, Belleville, NJ
“My anxiety has been nonstop off its rocket lately. I don’t know how I feel about going out with someone when the virus is still dominating our area. I hate being home but I hate the idea of risking my family’s health all because of one date that has no promise to it.”— Lex, 22, Newark, NJ
“I’m kind of nervous to be on the dating scene again, especially with the whole COVID thing… I don’t want to be a Debby downer but we still have a long road ahead of us before everything gets back in order. I get really nervous just walking into a grocery store. I can’t imagine what I would feel like if I’m out on a date at a restaurant where everyone is paying no mind to the six feet order.”— Jonas, 22, Belleville, NJ
“I’m up at all hours of the night wondering when this nightmare will end; living alone really amplifies my anxiety. To think that there are people casually going about their life when nothing is completely okay yet freaks me out. Would I consider dating right now? Probably not. I’ll wait until there’s a vaccine or something.”— Cole, 23, Newark, NJ
Here are some helpful tips on how to overcome anxiety post-quarantine:
1. Rehearse the key points you want to disclose to your date.
It can be pretty nerve-wracking going on a date with someone you don’t know all that well. Especially now that COVID-19 will be the annoying third party no one wants around.
People with anxiety already deal with their own troubling feelings and thoughts on a daily basis. Bringing a new figure into your world is a scary thought especially if they are a potential match.
It’s important to rehearse what you want to talk about, even if you’re not going on a date. Going to a job interview, drive-thru, making a phonecall all require some sort of readiness in what it is you are seeking.
Practice with a friend what you want to talk about on your date! This practice run might feel silly but you will find how easy it is to bring up these topics without stumbling over your words.
2. Videochat with your date to get a good read on them.
This is the most important step to take when you’re getting back into the game! If you do not feel super comfortable going out with someone just yet, a video call will certainly ease your anxiety.
Not only can you be in the comfort of your own home, but you don’t even need to wear a fancy outfit! Throw on a cute top and stay in those sweatpants you’ve worn for months.
During your call, you guys can play some fun games or watch a movie together! You can even host a taco Tuesday night— bonus points if you’re both making margaritas.
The ease of being home and not putting your health at risk will certainly help you make the right moves on your virtual date.
3. Learn about your common interests beforehand.
One of the best ways in getting to know someone is by learning about the things they’re passionate about. Not only does this give you an inside look of who they really are but you can relate to them if those are similar interests you share!
If you’re on the stage of following each other on Instagram, I would suggest doing a quick dive into their socials and figuring out what their hobbies are.
If they enjoy going to music festivals, maybe you can talk about an artist both of you enjoy. If they love cooking, playfully ask them when they are going to whip up a meal for you.
Knowing this ahead of time will give you some conversations topics to fall back on in the event of awkward silence.
Your dating life does not have to be canceled because of the pandemic. These are just a few ways you can overcome your anxiety and put yourself out there to show the world what they’re missing out on!
Destiny Duprey is a writer who covers love and relationships, astrology, and self-care topics.