Feeling lonely in lockdown? We give you the 101 on how to have fun online dating

Feeling lonely in lockdown? We give you the 101 on how to have fun online dating

Words by Bella de Almeida Reis

How to nail the virtual dating scene.

Coronavirus has completely transformed the nature of dating as we know it. It’s true the likes of Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, and Hinge have existed for some time, but now as users we’re swiping more than ever and actually not getting the chance to meet anyone for at least several weeks, or even months. Sad right?

Luckily for regional Victoria however, we can now start going on café catch ups again, dinner dates and hang outside in groups, however if you’re looking to keep your virtual game going or the person of your dreams is locked down in another city (we feel for you metro Melbourne), then I still see online dating in this climate as a positive.

Online dating pre-COVID, you would usually only talk for a short while before you meet and then sometimes things move quickly, and you end up realising that it wasn’t right with that person all along. Dating in a pandemic removes (most) expectations, sets a healthy foundation and your relationship could blossom into an initial friendship, which can be really sweet.

The whole online dating sphere is daunting. Someone solely judging you on a few profile photos that try to explain you’re both funny, nice, cute and interesting all at the same time. Yikes. If only we could go back to the casual meet ups at a bar. Don’t fear however, because we’ve found some ways you can stay connected and still show them how amazing you can be in person too.

Netflix party
Netflix and chill. Hold the chill…for now. There is no better way to break the ice than bonding over a movie or show you both adore. This Chrome feature adds a side chat box to the Netflix screen and you can type to each other in real time, which means when they pause, yours pauses. They re-wind, yours re-winds. Come on, it’s practically like they’re there. I’ve found the conversation flows nicely on here as you quickly come to discover all the common interests you have through the lives of the characters you’re experiencing together.

Zoom double date
Don’t want to go in alone? Bring a friend. My first ever online date was with my match, his mate and my best friend. Was it a bit awkward at first? Yes. But was it a nice change from the drudgery of isolation? Major yes. Maybe you can take it as far as pretending to sit down together over a candlelit dinner and weave in some ‘get to know you’ games to start moving away from the dreaded small talk we all want to avoid.

Play an online game
Get the competitive blood flowing. It’s likely we’ve had our fair share of board games to bond together as a household during lockdown, so now’s the chance to shift virtually and play with some fresh faces. How a person reacts during a game says a lot about their personality: are they a sore loser, cheater, fair player or someone who doesn’t’ care at all? Only time will tell.

Personally, I love PlayingCards.io and they offer the classics from chess to checkers, go fish and hearts. Code Names is a real thinker if you’re up for the challenge. You have to come up with a word that ties multiple words together without explaining what it is. I bombed this game when I first tried it out, so no shame here.

Give them a ring
Wait, people still call nowadays? Ah, I’m such a sucker for this traditional form of communication. You still get a sense of their energy through expressions and tone of voice without the pressure of making awkward eye contact via video. There’s no stress of having to dress up and look nice either. Throw on your PJs, grab a bottle of wine (no glass needed) and they’ll never know your situation. Ends up being a disaster and need a way out? Always use the ol’ “Sorry, I think my pet needs some attention. Gotta go!”, and they can’t see a thing.

One thing I noticed while chatting to people online, you can start to lose momentum if you can’t meet for a lengthy amount of time. So, if the conversation starts to die down or they take a while to respond, I wouldn’t take it personally. We are all going through weird stages and sometimes people can’t always deliver to the standard we hope for.

From one self-confessed online dater to another, go easy on yourself and just have fun. At the end of the day, there are no expectations on what’s to follow post-COVID lockdown when you’re just having a good conversation.