“Never stop smiling, not even when you’re sad, because you never know who might fall in love with your smile.”
When Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez said these words, he probably wasn’t thinking about face masks.
The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down in many ways. From face masks and social distancing to quarantines and lockdowns. COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in everything involving human social relations.
This has had a unique effect on the world population. Romantic relationships and dating were particularly affected during the pandemic. At the same time, it fueled innovation in options such as online dating.
Dating during the Pandemic: Social Distancing & Isolation
The COVID-19 pandemic marks the first time that the modern globalized society faced a contagion. Not since the Spanish flu had mankind faced such a threat. With over a billion world travelers each year, stopping the spread proved impossible.
Overwhelmed, world governments sought to slow down the virus instead. Experts prescribed strict lockdowns, masks, and social distancing. In short, we turned to isolation as our first line of defense. And it worked.
However, long spells of isolation aren’t great for the human psyche. We’re social creatures, first and foremost. We need the input of our fellow humans to be at our best. In that sense, quarantines and social distancing were very costly.
Extended periods of isolation and confinement chip away at human sanity. As a consequence, mental health symptoms spiked during the pandemic for many of us. People felt sad, lonely, stressed, removed, and starved for human contact.
For those in relationships, it’s been a little less lonely. That said, lockdowns often increased frictions for couples. Not to mention the financial and mental stress. However, single people have an even tougher time dealing with the new normal.
Finding Love, Six Feet Apart
2020 was a hard year for those looking for love. While dating during covid-19 pandemic is not easy, being single in a pandemic is beyond tough. It’s braving a most stressful time all alone. We all tend to feel a little hopeless when we’re single. Particularly after a dry spell. Add lockdowns to the mix, and things can get ugly, fast.
For most of us, normal socialization is vital for romance. To stop being single, you need to ask someone out first. Asking someone out means you have to meet them first. Meeting requires a social setting, such as parties or gatherings. Things we should definitely rule out in a pandemic.
Even if you do venture out (to buy groceries, or for essential work, for example), obstacles abound. For example, face masks are vital to stop the spread of the disease. However, they also block out smiles, along with much nonverbal communication.
Social distancing is a great way to keep those viral droplets away. That said, being six feet apart at all times also wards off any chance of intimate, private conversation. Our entire social repertoire was crippled by the very measures that keep us safe.
However, dating during the pandemic, it’s not all doom and gloom. Amidst the throes of the coronavirus, a number of entrepreneurs and innovators came forward, offering solutions for mankind to adapt to this new normal.
Tech To The Rescue
Like with most problems in our time, it was the technology that ultimately stepped forward with answers. The coronavirus isn’t going anywhere. In the meantime, creative digital solutions are capitalizing on this new demand.
As doctors worked tirelessly to create a vaccine, engineers and entrepreneurs rushed to satisfy the social needs of the people. All kinds of tech solutions served as stop-gap measures across all activities that rely on human interaction.
Companies like Zoom and Skype became the primary mode of face-to-face conversation for much of the world. Employees migrated to cloud-based remote work platforms. Catching a movie with your friends became a Netflix or Prime Video watch party.
For those seeking love, the tech world had answers, too. Free dating sites saw a massive increase in user volume and activity. New dating sites and online dating apps sprung forth to help people stave off their quarantine loneliness.
Many of these dating sites and services predate the coronavirus. However, virtually all were accelerated by the outbreak. Platforms were expanded within weeks. New features and upgrades were rolled out in months. Changes that might’ve taken years were rushed to reality.
More importantly, many people living through this on their own found some solace. And that may only be the beginning.
The Future of Online Dating
After rapid growth and much technological acceleration, the future of online dating maybe even more interesting. Society at large is becoming increasingly digitized. For many of us, most of our social interactions happened online, even before the pandemic.
Now, these trends will likely become more pronounced. Free dating sites provide a number of objective advantages over traditional dating strategies. The lockdowns may well provide the critical mass for dating sites to become dominant.
For starters, online dating greatly increases your dating pool. Traditionally, people picked their potential partners from among their friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. It’s a rather limited pool. Online dating opens the floodgates to thousands of potential partners.
It also helps cut through the noise. A lot of time can be wasted on fruitless dates with ill-suited matches. Dating site profiles provide glimpses into the personality of potential suitors. Better yet, they let you filter those you’re sure you’d rather skip.
With widespread adoption, advanced tools, machine learning, and AI, the future of free dating sites look very promising.
No one knows what the future holds. Today, though, dating sites are perhaps the best way to meet a special someone. Online dating is COVID-19 safe, and perfect for lockdowns. As more people give free dating sites a shot, their future only gets brighter.