If you’ve been reading the news at all (or talked to anyone, anywhere) in the last week or so, you know that COVID-19 is no joke. In fact, the WHO just declared it a pandemic. A handful of clients have been asking me what to do about their dating lives. Take a break from the apps? Stop meeting people in person? Ban the first date hug or kiss?
Here’s the thing – I obviously can’t tell anyone what to do other than give the advice to do what makes you feel comfortable. Here’s what I can tell you: Statistics show that when people are home more (rain, snow, mandated telework), dating site usage goes WAY up. So my prediction is that while some people may be skittish to perhaps go to a concert or large event together, they will not hold back on making connections online, even if those dates can’t come to fruition quite yet.
Would I give the advice to stop dating? Nope! But again, I’m no doctor (only a love doctor ;)), so you have to do what makes you feel safe. Would I personally let it impact my dating life? No, I wouldn’t. I can, however, advise you not to delete the apps or hide your profile. Instead, lean into the fact that more people than ever will be online over the next few weeks, so take advantage of it. (I also bet there will be an uptick in babies born in, oh, nine months. Just saying…)
So, clean up your profile, keep your wits about you, and continue the quest to put yourself out there, in whatever form that takes for you. As far as updating your profile, here are a few quick tips to get the ball rolling:
1. Use only five photos
Less is more when it comes to photos. Don’t give people the chance to dismiss you based on one they don’t like.
2. Don’t be generic
People would rather read that you like to eat Hawaiian pizza (why?!) than simply go out to eat. The more specific, the better.
3. Be proactive
The goal of online dating is to get offline. Don’t collect matches and never write to them. Challenge yourself to try to turn as many matches into dates as you can.
4. Think outside the box
Just because you’re able to make selections based on height, level of education, or a certain mile radius doesn’t mean you have to. Try expanding your parameters — you never know who you might meet.
With this disease spreading, we can’t tell you what to do in terms of when it’s the right time to physically meet someone for a date. But we can certainly help you get prepared.
Erika Ettin is an online dating expert and dating coach who helps people navigate the world of online dating. Her expertise includes profile creation, photo selection and photography, message writing, and date planning. She is also the author of the book Love at First Site: Tips & Tales for Online Dating Success from a Modern-Day Matchmaker and the co-host of the popular dating podcast So, We Met Online…
Erika’s work has been featured in media around the country, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and Ask Men, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated dating column. Erika studied economics at Cornell University and received her MBA from Georgetown. She has worked with over 1000 clients and is responsible for relationships, marriages, and the confidence some people simply need to “get out there.”