• Margaret Aghaeepour, PsyD

Online Dating 101 During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated: Mar 31

5 Quick Steps on Finding Love During the Coronavirus Pandemic

If you are currently single and your dating life been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone. Social distancing doesn’t necessarily have to mean zero dating. Social distancing provides the opportunity for us to reconnect with ourselves to strategize our dating game. Here are 5 quick steps you can consider when improvising your dating life.

Step 1. Self-exploration/Reflection

Have you ever slow down to ask yourself who you really are and what you really want in life? Having an accurate self-assessment of our needs and wants can guide us to seek out relationships that work for us in a long run and not get distracted by short-term gratification. Here are some questions to guide your self-exploration:


1. Who am I? What’s my story?

2. What are my strengths and areas of improvement?

3. What am I looking for in a relationship/partner?

4. What’s my relationship patterns – how I relate to my ex, my friends, my family? My overall attachment style?

5. Have I been hurt by past relationships? If so, how can I resolve it?

6. How do I look for someone that fits my style? Are there certain people/characteristics I need to filter out?

Step2. Finding the Right Platform

While there are so many dating platforms available to find love, finding the right one(s) are crucial in setting the stage of your relationship. The popular platforms include Bumble, Hinge, Tinder, OkCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel, Match.com, eHarmony, JDates, Two Beans, Grinder, and many more. Each of them has a different way of connecting you with one another, targeting different population, serving different purpose, and setting different tones for your relationship. These questions can guide you to the right platform(s):

1. What type of relationship are you looking for?

2. Do you prefer being matched or searching independently?

3. How much will it cost?

Take advantage of this downtime to do your research and try out different platforms to find the one that works for you.


Step 3. Upload Profile Pictures That Capture Attention

Research has shown that it only takes on average 7 seconds to form the first impression, it is even shorter with online dating. Your profile picture IS the first thing potential dates see when your potential partner browse your online profile and it is therefore important to spend some time on uploading profile pictures to capture their attention. Research has also shown that 52% of surveyed individual would not even open a dating profile without pictures. Here are some quick tips when you are choosing your profile pictures:

1. Choose a classic headshot for your first and main profile picture, a full body shot for the second picture, and 2-3 more pictures to showcase your lifestyle and interest

2. Choose recent pictures that portrait the real you

3. Stay away from group pictures

4. Examine the messages behind the pictures you post – how revealed are you dressing? Your hobbies? Your style? Your personality?

5. Be playful but be careful too. Choose picture that does not disclose where you live, where you work or where you usually hang out. We do not want to attract any stalkers that could endanger our safety.

Afterall, you want your potential partner to click on your profile to get to know you more.


Step 4. Craft an Outstanding Personal Statement

If you ever have some time to browse other people’s dating profiles, you would be surprise how many “I love working out, taking pictures, and traveling” you see online. There is nothing wrong in having those hobbies, the key is to be creative in phrasing them to make it unique. Aside from the general rules of checking the spelling and grammar of your personal statement, here are some psychological tactics we can employ to make your profile (you)outstanding:

· Be concise. This is your not CV or novel of your life stories.

· Don’t be afraid of your vulnerability

· Be passionate about what you do and what you like

· Leave some mystery


Step 5. Creating and Maintaining Connection

If you’ve been matched with someone you are interested in, congratulations! This is the best time to establish some ground rules and expectations of your future relationship. You can also use this opportunity to gather more information about your potential date and filter out the misfits. Here are some points to consider:

1. Make your first line interesting. Aside from the basic “how are you” or “how’s your day”, see if you can make a nice comment or pose a question about something in their profile that stands out to you.

2. It’s OK to not respond right away. Even though most of us are working from home and have our phone next to us, we are not obligated to respond to each text/call right away. Keep some boundary and distance in the initial contact phrase, you can ramp up the pace as you become more comfortable with your potential date.

3. Ask questions, but be respectful too. We all have our own “deal breakers” when it comes to relationships, figure out your own “deal breakers” and inquire those questions skillfully. For example, do you mind if your date has a cheating or violence history? Do you want a serious relationship but your date is looking for something more casual? Do you want children but your date does not see that as part of their future?

BONUS. Virtual date Ideas

· Watch a movie together on Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, or other

· Work out together

· Share articles and books and discuss together

· Virtual concert if both of you plays an instrument

· Video game

· Scavenger hunt (if you are close to each other but you don’t want to meet just yet!)

Bottomline, dating can still be fun during this pandemic. Seize this opportunity to reconnect with ourselves and strategize our dating plan. Date wisely, playfully, and safely!



#onlinedating #relationship #findinglove #COVID19 #datingprofile #shelterinplace #datingcoach

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