We want all Christian Connection members to stay safe and well, and to enjoy connecting. There’s a lot of differing advice about how to respond to the changing situation with COVID-19, the coronavirus that’s been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, and it can be tricky to know what to do. Our usual advice is to meet up within two weeks of making contact online, but that might not feel like the right thing at the moment, wherever you are.
Our tips for dating at a distance – where you might not live close enough to meet regularly – could also apply when ‘social distancing’ – take a look here.
You can also be imaginative with the alternatives to face-to-face meetings, whether first dates or longer term:
- Use video chat like Skype or FaceTime. This can be good to see if there’s any connection before meeting in person for the first time in normal circumstances, and it can also be a good way to stay connected once you know each other better.
- Why not have a virtual ‘drink’ or ‘meal’ over video chat? Arrange a time when you both have some privacy at home, so you can relax and focus. Use our creative conversation starters to get the conversation flowing.
- You could watch a movie ‘together’ by starting at the same time. If you’re the kind of person who likes to discuss the film throughout, you could stay on the phone (using headphones). Or just share your thoughts afterwards.
- If you’re into gaming, you could set up a multiplayer online game. If you don’t have a games console you can play games for free with your computer.
- Why not get to know people on the discussion boards – there are always lots of lively conversations taking place!
- And of course there’s always the telephone, instant messaging apps and not forgetting your Christian Connection mailbox.
If you do decide to meet in person, don’t be embarrassed to take the necessary precautions:
- Set expectations first. Agree not to shake hands/touch before you meet.
- Wash your hands: before, during the date and when you get home.
- Avoid touching your face (and the other persons face!).
- If you need to cough or sneeze, use the crook of your elbow if you can’t reach a tissue in time.
- Take a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you to use if you can’t wash your hands straight away.
- Ideally meet in a less crowded place (a park cafe out of town, rather than a city-centre bar) and maintain some social distance whilst out and about.
- Avoid travelling by public transport if you can (consider cycling!).
The situation is changing all the time and we recommend following the most recent government advice. It’s also worth looking at the World Health Organisation advice.
Remember the usual safety precautions too:
Don’t accept a lift or meet at the home of someone you don’t know even if they say it’s to avoid crowds. Meet in public unless you’ve got to know someone well. Let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to be back.
Continue to message and make connections as much as you feel comfortable, but remember the advice on avoiding fraudsters online on any dating or social site: never send money to anyone and be aware of stories that sound urgent, particularly now about ‘medical bills’ or the need to pay for a virus test. If you become aware of anyone behaving like this on Christian Connection, please notify us immediately.
Read our blog article on safe dating here and our general safety advice here.
And keep being honest! If you’re not feeling like meeting because you don’t feel a connection, let them know. Don’t joke about having symptoms as a reason for not meeting. Likewise, if you do feel ill, don’t be brave and push ahead with a meet up. You can always reschedule, or chat online.
When things are uncertain it can be an unsettling and even lonely time, so be kind to those you interact with. People may be concerned about the rapidly changing news, their family members and friends, their work situation or their own health. Praying for and with each other when you get to know each other better, and being supportive even in casual chat can make a real difference.
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