Back in 2020, the pandemic put the dating world to a near halt. For most of the population, face-to-face meetings were a no-go, hook-ups were certainly off the table, and what little interactions people had with each other were done on the phone or online. As a result, the number of people on dating apps and matchmaking services skyrocketed—but online dating was never quite the same.
Now that more and more people are getting vaccinated and COVID-19 restrictions are continuing to ease across the country, it’s perfectly natural to want to get out there and date again. However, don’t let eagerness get the best of your senses. Here are several tips to keep in mind if you want to go back to the dating scene this 2021.
Consider your date’s vaccination status
COVID-19 is slowly disappearing as more and more of the population gets vaccinated, but keep in mind that the pandemic is far from over. That said, consider the vaccination status of whoever you’re meeting before meeting with them face to face. Ideally, go on an in-person date only if both you and your partner are fully vaccinated. At the very least, ensure that one of you is fully vaccinated.
And if the person you want to go on a date refuses to get vaccinated, then that should serve as enough of a red flag for you.
Minimize work talk
People have been cooped up in their houses working from home for more than a year now. With that in mind, no one wants to go on a date and talk about work—all of us have already had enough fill of that this past year. So, minimize work talk or, better yet, don’t talk about work at all aside from giving each other an idea of what you do for a living.
Be upfront with what you want
If there is anything that the pandemic has taught us about modern dating, wasting time is no longer acceptable. Tell your date about what you’re seeking before you actually meet them in person. If you want something casual, be clear about your intentions. If you are looking for a relationship, express this goal as well. In this way, you will be more able to find someone whose dating goals are in line with yours, hence, avoiding wasting time on both ends.
It is also advisable to do this as early as the talking stage. If you want a relationship and the other person is not looking for anything serious, then establishing clear intentions early on can help you avoid wasting time on unnecessary talking—unless you can settle with being just friends.
Go on virtual dates first
As we’ve said before, the pandemic is still not over. Fully vaccinated people can still catch the virus and pass it onto others (although the risk is lower vs. unvaccinated people). That said, virtual dates are still ideal during this time, especially if either you or your date is not yet fully vaccinated, immunocompromised, or living with people that are more susceptible to COVID-19.
Although they do not feel as “real” as in-person dates, virtual dates trump real-life dates for one good reason: they save you the hassle of going on an awkward, potentially bad first date (aside, of course, from limiting your risk for COVID-19). You can save time, money, and energy on online dates version in-person meetups. And if you hit it off despite only seeing each other on-screen, then there is a better chance that you’ll have a good first date in person.
More is not always better
With the power of dating apps, people can literally have dozens of options to choose from, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Having many options is great because you can meet people that you would not otherwise meet through other means. However, this can also hinder you from creating any real connection with the people you match with.
So resist the urge to swipe through hundreds of profiles to “broaden your options.” There is no magic number for the limit of how many people you should talk to, but if you’re finding it hard to make connections with the people that you do talk to, it’s probably time to stop swiping—for now.
Dating in 2021 may not look very different from pre-pandemic dating with the dating apps and all, but it is certainly a new environment to navigate. If you’re ready to open yourself up to a new partner this year, keep these tips in mind and watch your love life flourish.