The Brief: Single people are finding creative ways to flirt, date, and even find love during quarantines and lockdowns.
From traditional dating apps to social media reality shows to online speed dating, lonely hearts are searching for virtual company and companionship while in quarantine during a global pandemic. We’ve highlighted some of the unique and innovative ways singles are adapting to the world of socially distant dating.
Love Is Blind
The Netflix reality show Love Is Blind premiered just before the pandemic and turned out to be the perfect formula for long-distance dating. Social media versions of this dating experiment have been developed, documenting people’s experiences as they go on virtual blind dates. The biggest Love Is Blind Instagram account to date is known as Love Is Quarantine and has over 19,000 followers. Smaller accounts have been made for specific dating pools based on college, region, religion, sexuality, and more, gaining dedicated cult-followings and sparking new romantic relationships.
The Instagram account @shelteredinlove hosts a Bachelor-style virtual dating game that revolves around one star and a group of matches for them. Instead of giving out roses, bachelors give out virtual rolls of toilet paper.
Traditional dating apps including Tinder, Hinge, and Grindr have made changes to their platform. Tinder has extended its international Passport feature to be temporarily available for free to all users and many apps have added reminders about social distancing and new features to encourage safe and meaningful virtual interactions.
Since new romance has moved to the online realm, many dating apps have seen significant increases in user activity and registration. As some people are searching for a quarantine bae to shelter-in-place with and join their quaranteam, the pandemic is bringing on a new kind of cuffing season.
New dating apps have been popping up during the pandemic, too. An app called Blindlee pairs people up for three-minute virtual blind dates. Another app called Quarantine Together encourages and facilitates safe, socially distant dates.
Social Media Matchmaking
Match-making Facebook groups allow people to use an already-existing social media platform to search for, vet, and meet potential dates and partners. They also serve as a way for people to try to set their friends and acquaintances up with each other. This phenomenon is particularly popular among Jewish singles in groups like MeetJew and CoronaCrush which have tens of thousands of members.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed how people date. As singles look to navigate this lonely and difficult period, they continue to come up with creative ways to look for love. From Craigslist personals to social media dating shows to posts on their Nextdoor apps to TikTok boyfriend/girlfriend “applications,” people are finding ways to connect even as traditional channels are no longer available.