Online Dating During COVID-19: Trends and How To Stay Safe

Striking up a conversation with a potential date in person is already challenging, but breaking the ice online makes everything a tad more difficult. However, this is the reality we’re currently living in — thanks (or no thanks) to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to social distancing measures and the rising COVID cases, people are forced to find love online. Living through the pandemic for more than a year changed the way people find potential dates, forge connections and even drop those they don’t want to date. Not only did online dating apps and sites become more popular; they encouraged people to depend on the Internet for their love life.

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What Are The New Trends in Online Dating?

Virtual Online Dating

Pre-pandemic, people who met via dating apps followed a pattern:

  1. They connect via an app.
  2. If they like each other (or are matched by swiping right), they connect and chat on the dating platform.
  3. Once they decide that they like each other more, they meet physically.

The entire app dating adventure leads to a face-to-face date, which was no longer the case when COVID-19 hit. Due to the restrictions, many online-dating app users decide to meet over video platforms first, testing their compatibility and chemistry online before they meet in person.

In the past year, half of the Gen Z Tinder users preferred to chat online with their matches first before meeting up while more people dated virtually. Video chats have become the new first step in the world of online dating. As a result, video conferencing platforms and dating apps took note and started improving the capability of their websites.

As the pandemic continued, people got more creative with their virtual dates. Going beyond the typical video chats, today’s virtual dates use other apps to make the date more interesting. For example, a couple that matched on Tinder have their online dates on Zoom. During their Zoom dates, they play Animal Crossing while eating the food they both ordered from DoorDash.

Shared Experiences Online

A bad date story is always worth the share, but due to isolation measures, blurting out your feelings about the date must wait. This can be a painful wait though since people love sharing about their romantic relationships. Fortunately, the practice can continue online, both via email and chat. If you want to share your thoughts publicly, social media is at your service.

For example, TikTok has become one of the best platforms for people to share their dating lives. The ability to “duet” and “stitch” videos has made the app one of the leading apps for dating stories. People are going to TikTok to find affirmation from people going through the same online dating struggles.

Finding Friends

Because nearly everyone suffered from isolation during the pandemic, dating apps doubled as online places to find friends, not dates. For example, Bumble relaunched the BFF feature, which allows users to build non-romantic relationships.

online safety measures
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Dating Online During the Pandemic: General Safety

If you are planning to meet with someone you meet online, safety is still essential. Keep the following reminders in mind:

  1. If you’ve decided to meet an online date in-person, always meet in a public place.
  2. Tell a trusted loved one where you’re going and who you will be with.
  3. Avoid alcohol and drugs. Also, it’s best to meet during the daytime.
  4. Arrange your own transportation.
  5. Avoid sending money to a person you met online.
  6. If you feel unsafe, trust your gut and get out of the situation.

Also, use technology to your advantage. There are many apps that can help you stay safe while you’re out on a date. Some apps let you stay connected with your loved ones in case of an emergency.

person using phone for dating
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Red Flags

Next, watch out for red flags! Watching out for warning signs has always been an essential step when getting to know potential partners. In the era of online dating, look out for people who are asking for personal information.

Beware of people who also ask for money. Never send money to a potential date, even if they say it’s for a medical emergency. If someone has asked for money before on a dating site, report it to the website’s safety teams.

In general, it’s best to pre-screen potential dates via video chat instead of just looking at their photos. In our pandemic situation, video calls offer a richer experience compared to just looking at a person’s photo, which can increase your risk for scam dates.


Pandemic dating is mostly done online and focuses on richer experiences, even if you must depend on video chats. Despite the challenges, love will continue to be in the air more than COVID-19.


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