In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, everyone is learning to adjust to a new reality. On March 16, the White House laid out new recommendations for social distancing, urging people to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people and to stay out of bars, restaurants, and public places when possible. This means, among other things, that dating has significantly changed for the time being — but that doesn’t mean you have to give up flirting online. Flirting on dating apps when you’re not meeting up requires a little extra dedication, but it’s a great way to spend your free time while you’re cooped up inside.
As a reminder, it’s seriously not recommended that you go on in-person dates right now, especially to public places or with people you don’t know well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus spreads through human contact through the mucous membranes in the face. If you come into contact with the respiratory droplets (coughing, sneezing, kissing, etc.) of someone standing six feet away from you or less, and you touch your own eyes, lips, or nose, you may be exposing yourself to the coronavirus.
Not everyone develops symptoms, but they may still be carriers of the virus, meaning they could pass it on to others before realizing they are sick. In order to slow the virus’ spread and keep as many people healthy as possible, it’s best to stay inside and avoid all non-essential social interactions.
That being said, you can still enjoy flirting on dating apps behind the safety of a screen. “Social distancing is the new sexy,” online dating expert Julie Spira tells Elite Daily. Here are some ways to make it fun.
Experts often suggest meeting up with your matches as soon as possible after you’ve started chatting. That isn’t an option at the moment, so you’ll have to get creative to keep the conversation flowing for days (maybe weeks) on end. “Continue to send photos, quotes, GIFs, and anything that will pop up in their inbox to make them smile and keep you on their mind,” Spira says. “If you don't, someone else will.” That’s not to say you need to be messaging them every second, but checking in once or twice per day will keep you invested in each other.
After several days of texting, switch things up by having your first date over FaceTime. “Schedule a happy hour for just the two of you,” Spira suggests. Have a glass of wine, cook dinner “together,” or organize an activity that will help you bond and get to know each other.
There’s no better time to connect over a TV series you both love. Can you quote every single line from Season 1 of The Office? Are you thoroughly obsessed with Lauren and Cameron’s relationship on Love Is Blind? The Netflix Party Chrome extension allows you to watch shows together from afar. “You can stream the same shows simultaneously and comment with your thoughts,” Spira says. “You can also hit the pause button to chat without distraction.” Watching shows and movies together will give you a whole collection of inside jokes, and also prompt some great conversation about your values and interests.
This may sound silly, but the sexier you’re feeling, the more confidently you’ll be able to flirt with new people. If sweatpants and house slippers make up your daily quarantine look (same), consider changing into something nicer when you open up your dating apps. “Put on your lipstick and your favorite date outfit, and act like you’re in a long-distance relationship,” Spira suggests. In a way, you are dating long-distance, even if you only live a few miles away from your match.
Once you’ve established great banter with someone, one way to keep it going is by touching base at the same time each day. “If you send a good morning text message, schedule a FaceTime date at night, and then send a good night text. Make sure you’re consistent to keep the flow going,” Spira suggests. Hopefully, you can soon become part of one another’s daily routine.
It’s unclear when in-person dating will become safe again, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about what you’ll do when you can finally meet up. “Planning for the future gives you both something to look forward to,” Spira says. This can be anything from planning your first date, to getting more explicit about your physical attraction (only if you’re both comfortable!). Use your imagination to keep the intrigue building until you’re finally able to see each other for real.
Keeping up a virtual flirtationship takes work and creativity, but think of it as a way to brush up on your conversation skills. During this time of social isolation, it’s more important than ever to stay connected — and dating apps are a great way to do just that.