Online dating in the time of COVID-19 leaves a lot to be desired | Lifestyle | #tinder | #pof

Remember the back-and-forth of trying to set up a day and time for a date? Or perhaps the sweaty hands and nervous smiles during a blind date? Those were the days.

With each passing day, the chances to meet new people in public seem nonexistent. In July, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all indoor establishments to close their doors in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

This meant that all normal aspects of life, including dating, had to be postponed. What used to be “normal” life has been confined to the comfort (or discomfort) of your home.

Before COVID-19, freely going out made meeting potential romantic partners uncomplicated.

Since we live in the digital age, you can occasionally find yourself entangled online. Even though the whole point of dating apps is to find someone, meet them and hopefully delete the app, it becomes a matter of safety when you’re living through a pandemic.

According to the New York City Health Department, you are your safest partner during these tough times.

But we’re adaptable creatures with access to the internet, and as we all scrambled to make the switch to life fully online, so did dating apps.

In March, the dating app Bumble issued an open letter to its users, urging them to make the switch and be socially responsible during this difficult time. In the letter, Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd encouraged users to take advantage of the app’s video chat and voice call features.

Tinder, another dating app, allowed users to increase the amount of people they could come across while swiping away with global mode. This paid setting gave users a virtual passport and the opportunity to meet people from other parts of the world, regardless of where they lived.

Anna Topp, a freshman at Cal State San Marcos, is one of many who have joined Tinder during these past few months.

“I did not worry too much about the fact that lots of public settings were closed because my main goal wasn’t to meet new people in real life but rather just chat online,” Topp said.

According to Business Insider, Match Group — the parent company of dating apps like Tinder, Hinge and OkCupid — saw an increase of at least 15% in downloads and subscribers during the COVID-19 term, with Tinder being the most popular out of all of them.

In reality, online dating is meant to make the dating experience easier and more fitting for people. Users can choose who they want to talk to, rather than have a stranger throw bad pick-up lines at them.

While the amount of users increased at a time where you physically could not meet anyone, it appeared to be the opposite.

Topp said that while it should’ve been harder to meet with people during the pandemic, it was made easier through dating apps.

“In my experience, men on dating apps are usually very responsive and eager to chat, and even meet in person.” Topp said.

She said that everyone on dating apps has a different agenda, but developing a real connection is not one of them.

“A lot of men justified their dating app usage due to boredom because of the pandemic,” Topp said.

Although the increase of dating apps seems relevant to what’s happening right now, it doesn’t eliminate the fact that dating is still awkward and sometimes disappointing, regardless of the medium it’s happening on.

“In terms of meeting new people and developing a real connection with someone, my experience was unsuccessful.” Topp said.

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