#bumble | #tinder | #pof Lockdown helped me rediscover the joy of dating

Elle Rudd is a journalist living in London who re-joined Bumble at the start of lockdown

In the year leading up to lockdown, I honestly could not be bothered with dating.

Previous toxic dating patterns had become too tiresome to deal with and I really struggled to invest in someone I thought was just going to ghost me in six weeks.

I would flick back and forth between a litany of dating apps, halfheartedly hoping to be teleported about three months into my next relationship, situationship or label-less whatever.

My life was busy. I have a job that I love, an active social life and regular trips back to see family on any weekends off.

Then *this* happened and life as we know it was turned on its head.

As our newsroom could see the global situation worsening, we transitioned to homeworking before lockdown and I decided it would be best to move out of my tiny flat in a Covid hotspot.

So I returned home, to my parents’ house in rural Shropshire.

The obvious bonus of temporarily relocating back to the countryside during a pandemic is that there are fewer people. Turns out, that’s the downside too.

Sure, my Monday night pub quiz was replaced with a virtual one and video drinks took place once or twice a week on top, but life wasn’t what it once was.

I could feel my parent’s exhaustion at my hyperactive and highly sociable personality. I needed an outlet.

One night, after rewatching my favourite TV series for the bajillionth time, I was staring at the ceiling of my childhood bedroom, hoping for someone to talk to (not much has changed since I was 15).

It has been a blessing almost, to lay out every deep thought I have had about dating, loves lost, and what I want from life and what I need from a partner.

I stopped moping and took back what control of my life I could. I rejoined Bumble.

Not only was I bringing back socialising into my life, I was in control of it. Bumble’s key point is that ladies are in charge, we message first.

Lockdown gave me the freedom to not feel rushed into a date. Guys who might have wanted to go straight to date one now had to work on their chat and court me! Me!

My evenings were now filled with interesting chat, and the occasional virtual date.

Bumble added Virtual Date Badges so as I flicked through my selection of possible dates, I could see who was down for a video call and who wanted to take it slow.

I pride myself in being a chatty person and my high school report cards would confirm that, as a journalist, it’s a job necessity. But suddenly, as my world began to slow my well of conversations starters dried up.

Well, unless I wanted to start every conversation with: ‘Well, this is s**t, isn’t it?!’ – and that just didn’t seem like the smoothest line.

A Bumble update meant the introduction of the Question game, allowing me and my date to get to know each other better by mutually answering questions. This way we could find common ground, or even have a fiery and flirty debate.

Another issue for me was finding the people I actually wanted to date.

I love where I am from, I truly do. But I lived here for 18 years before going off to the big city.

I know who lives in this village, the next one and the three surrounding parishes. If you have a cousin in the area I probably know them, too.

Lockdown only spurred me on to find new people, not try to rekindle something with my high school bullies. Luckily, I was able to extend my distance filter beyond God’s Own Salopia.

I love people, I always have and I always will. It’s the one truly local feature of my personality that London will never beat out. I will always chat to a stranger in a bar or a friend’s friend at a party.

Virtual dating has forced me into a sort of reset and has allowed me to reevaluate my priorities and find the joy in getting to know someone slowly again.

Do you have a Bumble story to share? Maybe about a recent virtual date or lockdown love story? Let them know by DM’ing @bumble_uk.

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