By Oli Kang
The global pandemic has certainly turned everyone’s lives upside down – including dating. The new coronavirus scare was such that in-person meetups and dating became relics of the past.
Physical distancing measures and community quarantines turned even some rock-steady relationships into gel and relationships on the rocks into nothing. And, of course, casual relationships have all but disappeared.
So what happens to the lonely single people? Naturally, they reach for their phone and use online dating apps. In fact, by the middle of March last year when lockdowns became more widespread and stay-at-home orders were in place, dating apps like Tinder and Bumble experienced a 19 to 26 percent surge in conversations.
With everyday social interactions gone and diminished contact with friends, people just got lonelier during the rise of COVID-19. Today, even with the various vaccines available, people still can’t afford to let their guard down. So, if you want to switch things up and meet new people online, here’s a quick rundown on three of the most popular online dating apps today:
Kippo, the social and dating app for gamers, was a natural product of the pandemic when playing video games became more than just a pastime for most.
With more than 67 percent of Americans playing video games regularly, meeting interesting people on one’s favorite gaming platform is now a given – whether you’re logged into the World of Warcraft, Fortnite, or some other game.
Kippo was only launched in 2019, but it now has over 100,000 installs on Android plus thousands more on iOS. Here, users can get to know each other while playing games. And it’s not just an app for dating. At Kippo, you can chat, connect, discuss your game strategy or plan for date night with gamers all over the world.
Best of all, you can use it for free. If you want to use more features or enjoy additional privileges, you can upgrade to Kippo Infinity starting from $10 per month.
So, who hasn’t heard of Tinder?
The most popular dating app there is with over 100 million installs, Tinder gave its users free access to Tinder Passport in April 2020, effectively increasing interactions across different countries via the app.
Setting up an account on Tinder is pretty straightforward, although you need to be 18 years of age or older. Once you have an account, you can create a profile using six images and a short bio. You can manage who can see your profile using the app’s discovery settings, such as age range and proximity.
To show your interest in someone, you only need to swipe right. Just swipe left if you’re not into them. Membership is also free, but you can get more perks with the paid Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold memberships.
Bumble is a multi-faceted app that’s made for building friendships (BFF), business connections (Bizz), and of course, dating (Date).
With over 10 million installs to date, Bumble is known for its voice call and video chat features, as well as a new audio note function for those who are too shy to have real-time conversations. Of course, its truly unique feature is that women need to make the first move to start communication.
If you’re female and you find a potential match, you can call that person right away – which counts as a first move. If you’re open to video chats, there’s an option to add the Virtual Dating button to your profile. You can even share videos and pictures via Bumble chat.
Tips for online dating
Dating during the pandemic is no different from face-to-face dating – you can actually work or fizzle out. However, the chance of getting ghosted out is high, whether you meet in person or not. Remember, people are lonely and some are looking for an “emotional crutch” to see them through the pandemic – not a proper relationship.
So, to help you navigate the online dating waters better, here are a few tips you can apply:
- Be selective and realistic: The pandemic has taught everyone that anything can change in an instant, so it makes sense to be real and expect the other person to be so, too. There’s really not a lot of time for the usual banter and niceties. Try to choose prospects based on something more substantial than looks.
- Tell them what you like and what you want: It’s always nice to find someone you share some common ground with, such as a love for photography, antiques, music, or animals. Let them know what you like and don’t like. Communicate your expectations with each other so you don’t waste each other’s time.
- Talk a lot and ask important questions early on: Chat a lot or talk on Zoom, Skype or FaceTime. Get to know each other well and ask key questions early on. Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal with your questions after days or weeks of calls and chats. Ask them about their relationship and dating history, their outlook on life, political views, whether they want kids or a family, their thoughts on the pandemic and so on.
Date with care
Online dating during the pandemic may not be your ideal way of getting to know someone. However, it also offers you the advantage of not becoming physically and emotionally involved too early without really knowing the other person first.
If you’re new to online dating, research the apps you want to use first to know if they’re the right fit. Once you start dating, make sure you apply the above tips.
About the Author
Oli Kang is a working mum who has a passion for teaching and all things educational. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content at Courses AU.