The Future of Online Dating Post Pandemic

The Future of Online Dating Post Pandemic

As we emerge, blinking and unsure, into the post-lockdown world, the landscape as we know it has changed. How it has changed, we still have to figure out. So what, does the future of online dating look like now?

One of the biggest shifts, we’ve seen over the last year is how we work. Workers have gone remote, meetings have moved online and mindless chatting over the water cooler is a thing of the past.

Socialising and, more specifically, dating have also gone though a transformation. A major one. The way we have been able to connect has intrinsically changed. I mean, how can you meaningfully date when you’re stuck indoors during a pandemic?  But there’s nothing like a world-wide crisis to make people crave connections with others.

Dating during a pandemic is soaring.

Back in March 2020, when lockdown hit and we found ourselves inhabiting a strange, new way of existing, we might have assumed that the pandemic would put dating on hold.

In April 2020, messaging on Tinder increased globally by 52% since the start of March.

UK Hinge reported that almost half of their users had been on a video date since the new function launched last summer.

Dating during the pandemic is indeed soaring.

The unexpected benefits of dating during a pandemic

But is this new way of online dating changing things for the better and, if so, how?

I get it, you’re probably puzzled, thinking how on earth can Covid-19 have helped online dating. After all, online dating can be challenging at the best of times but throw in a highly contagious, deadly virus, confusing government directives and national social distancing mandates and it’s no wonder, single people have been struggling since the arrival of Covid-19.

I’m not denying the challenges that come with trying to find an emotional connection during the most trying of circumstances but it does look like there may be some positive shifts in how we date going forwards. Could the future of online dating be looking up?

future of online dating

Video dating is the new first date?

Pre-pandemic, dating in cities like New York City, London and Los Angeles was super expensive. The average cost of a date was topping around $226 in Los Angeles, $144 in New York City and £127 in London. Ouch! Virtual dating has been embraced and normalised as a way of pre screening dates, saving daters hundreds of pounds/dollars.

The months and months of family, work and dating video calls means people are getting pretty comfortable with this way of communicating. Pre screening dates looks set to continue well into the post pandemic era as the new ‘first date’ scenario. Great news as it will save us time, money and effort.

It isn’t a substitute for that real-life date, but it doesn’t need to be. The dating journey has evolved. The video date is an added stage – a ‘pre-date’. GQ describe it as ‘a chemistry test that also helps you break the ice before committing to a meet up.’

Any potential downsides to this? Yes, I think we may end up not giving some people a chance who perhaps we ought to. Connecting virtually is not the same as connecting in real life so we may end up missing out on some potential great matches.

The importance of trust

Pre-pandemic, there was a big hook up culture especially in the cities and especially on the swipe-style dating apps.

Being able to establish a sense of trust with your date has always been important – but lots of people have continued to date someone even when red flags were flying everywhere. Many people even marry people, ignoring red flags relating to trust. But now, since Covid-19, trust has taken on a whole, new significance. Suddenly, dating someone who is lying to you could risk the life of a loved parent or older relative.

Being able to trust your date or partner now underpins everything.

When you’re dating, it’s always important to work out your boundaries and dealbreakers and let your date know what these are, as you need to. It has been very important to set boundaries for your dates since the first lockdown last March. These boundaries may have rolled back or pushed forward depending on infection rates, Tier systems etc. but they should always be there.

Your boundaries might include some or all of the following:

  • taking regular Covid-tests
  • agreeing to be physically exclusive with your date after a certain period of time
  • a period of quarantining before forming a ‘social bubble’
  • social distancing on dates
  • wearing a mask at times

How your dates respond to these boundaries are very important and, indeed, useful. They can help you uncover more about their core values and whether they align with yours or not. Do they embrace them? Try and wriggle out of them? Pay close attention. Their response is telling you who they are.

future of online dating

Goodbye hook-ups, hello slow dating.

Pre-pandemic, there was a big, thriving hook-up culture, especially on the ‘swiping’ dating apps. And a lot of dissatisfied daters.

We have had more time to get to know people during the pandemic. It has provided an opportunity to get more introspective. People are invested in learning more about themselves. They’ve had more time to figure out what makes them happy. What they’d like to avoid.

Are we seeing the death knoll ringing for hook-up culture, given this need for trust.

According to data from the big dating apps, the pandemic is definitely influencing daters’ relationship goals.

In a Bumble survey, 46% of people said they were looking for something serious after experiencing loneliness in lockdown. And 52% of the Hinge community said they were ready for a long-term serious relationship. This is a huge shift. For now, anyway. About half the dating community is thinking seriously about finding a deeper connection.

In fact, the Kinsey Institute have just surveyed thousands of Americans – in partnership with Esquire and Cosmopolitan – about their ‘pandemic sex lives‘ over this past year and what it means for the future.

And the results are in. More than half of their survey respondents say they’re just not into one-night stands anymore. And 64% say they’re less interested in having more than one partner at a time. Roughly the same number are prioritising – once regular outdoor dating resumes –  the search for a deep connection over a quick hit.

Wow. This is great news for all of you who are so over the hook-up scene. The future of online dating is looking up. How long this will last post pandemic though, is not known. But I think it’s important to realise that people are asking themselves big questions like, ‘Is this someone I could handle another lockdown with?”. There’s nothing like a global pandemic to get things into perspective. And a deep connection is high on that priority list.

Is dating with intention the future of online dating?

Many people are now being more intentional about who they spend time with. They are craving deeper connections. Lockdown has taken away the noise and craziness of regular life, opening up space to get to know the people we are dating in a different way. People are focusing on getting to know them emotionally and mentally before connecting physically.

Many are shifting into slow dating, it seems. People want to take their time getting to know someone before deciding if they want to pursue something with them or have sex with them. And the research results touched on above suggests this may last long after lockdown has ended.

 

Words and photos by Saskia Nelson for Hey Saturday.

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dating app profile

Dating profiles have the potential to be intriguing; they can be a window into someone’s mind, revealing their unique way of looking at & thinking about the world.

Make sure you grab that opportunity to show people what you’re about & what you’re made of 🔥🔥

And remember, your profile pics are the most powerful way to share a lot of information about you at just a glance.

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+ Sound on for dating photo tips & good times +

Huge shout out to the legend that is James Preece, the UK dating coach king. Thank you for having me on your show, @jamespreececoach. I had a great time sharing my top dating photo tips with you, which I’m pretty sure you can tell when you listen in.

Have you subscribed to the Love Machine Podcast yet?

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You know what I love doing when I have a few moments to myself? … I love navigating to our Story highlights & scrolling through ‘Our Pics’. It gives me a legal, natural high every time.

The colour, the personalities, the vibes, the diverse life styles, the passions, the people… so much dating photoshoot awesomeness in one hit 🙌🏽✨🤩

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We need to talk about ‘talking point’ pics. Talking point pics are the ones that make people stop and do a double take, go back for another look and, yeah, slide into your messages because they need to know more.

Maybe you’re practicing tai chi, playing a ukulele, creating a stunning art piece on your iPad, doing a headstand yoga pose in the street or wrapping your hands ready for boxing (all shots we’ve taken, that have made me go back for another look 👀 check our Stories today!). Shots like these are so compelling.

Look, 5-6 photos at any one time on your dating app profile is optimum. Too few, people think you’re hiding something, too many & it’s game over as you give them too much to find fault with.

So you’ve got just 5-6 opportunities to
+ make an emotional impact
+ visually tell your story
+ and… also, importantly, intrigue people enough to reach out and ask you something or connect with you about something they see 👀

// Each one of your dating profile photos needs to bring something to the party //

So take a moment to check out your profile pics now. Which one is your ‘talking point’ pic? Answers on a postcard or in the comments, I really want to know…

And a big shout out goes out to the client I’ve been chatting with this week who’s booked Dumbo. You know who you are. You have so many exciting ideas for your shoot, I think you’re going to have a few ‘talking point’ pics to choose from 🙌🏽 And I’m so glad our Insta feed has helped you prep for your shoot. That makes me very happy.

*Tai chi photo: Kate for Hey Saturday, London

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New here? Come in, look around, stay awhile. We're creating our own brand of dating photo magic, right here. J'adoring these shots taken in Shoreditch by our London photographer, Nicole.

Photo credit: Nicole for Hey Saturday, London

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The only mantra you’ll ever need before your dating photoshoot
+ Be bold, kill boring, do ‘you’, stand out +

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The more self-work you do now, the more amazing your next relationship will be.

It’ll be so worth it 🔥

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Do your dating profile pics look the same as everyone else’s? You’re pretty sure you’ve read the right blog posts and followed all the steps but actually your photos still aren’t making people walk straight into lamp posts or miss their stop on the last bus home.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes at the end of a long day, I just crave seeing something that makes me smile, makes me feel good, you know… that ‘happy to be alive’ kind of good.

Picture it… you’ve just been on a rubbish date and are feeling disillusioned on the bus home so you decide to jump back on the app to line up another one before you lose the will.

Now imagine, at this point, you spot a profile pic that fills you with joy. There’s just something about it that makes you smile or makes you feel excited or just glad to be alive again.

Now that… that’s the exact profile, you’re immediately going to swipe right on… damn!

Nothing else matters in that moment. You want more of whoever can make you feel that good in that moment.

But how can you create dating pictures like this? The best way to create photos like that is to actually ‘feel this way’ when you’re making the picture. Bring this energy and vibe to the photoshoot. Bring props that will make you feel happy or relive happy moments during the shoot. Do things, hold things, wear things, go places that make you feel that kind of happy… and it will translate into your profile pictures.

It’s so important to figure out what you’re into and what makes you feel good before your photoshoot and before dating so that you show up and attract more of this energy into your life.

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Great online dating photographers are focused on human experience, rather than the size of our lenses.

Yeah… I’d go as far to say, we view our photoshoots as an emotional journey with a physical output more than anything else.

We want to help you let people in and get a better sense of who you are… the real you, of course, (in reply to a comment I got yesterday), if your photos are going to be meaningful, in any way.

When you can bring your whole self to the shoot, it’s kind of magic, really. When you can craft images that tell stories about who you are, it’s powerful and empowering, because when stories are told, meaning is made.

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How you show up for your profile pictures matters. The energy you show up with for your photoshoot, is the same energy that online daters can see and feel when they look at your profile pictures.

And yes, you can absolutely see and feel energy in pictures. You can see if someone is happy, dejected or confident, for example.

Confidence is energy. It’s not a ‘trait’ that you either are or aren’t, it’s a state. Like happiness, sadness & joy, it’s an energy you can tap into.

To create the most attractive and magnetic profile pictures, tap into the energy you want to see in your photos.

But how?

Get excited about how these profile pictures are going to open up doors, connect you to all kinds of interesting people, potentially lead to something so good, it’s life-changing.

Harness these positive kind of thoughts and embody them through your breathing, through smiling and laughing, through your body language. You know how smiling makes you feel happy and standing in a power pose makes you feel more confident? Yes 🙌🏽 that.

Your body language in your pictures communicates a lot about your energy and vibe.

Include things you really love in your photoshoot. You might wear something you love, go somewhere you love, hold something you love or, even better, get in flow and do something you love.

Including things that spark joy will impact your body language and your whole vibe.

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Hey go-getters, thrill-seekers, online daters... have you checked out the podcast Dates & Mates yet? If you’re single and craving connection in a digitally-driven world, then head to Apple podcasts and hit subscribe.

This show is seriously guaranteed to give you more fun than your ex. And boy, what a show. The host Damona Hoffman, already one of the coolest humans on the planet, is now also the Official Love Expert of the Drew Barrymore Show ✨ as well an advice columnist for The Washington Post & much more.

I’ll admit I was a bit of a hot mess as a guest on her show but it was ace to be included on her latest episode. I share how to do online dating photos right and magnetise the best matches to you.

And don’t forget to hit subscribe, there are soooo many good episodes you’re going to wanna work your way through.

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You are as hot as you think you are.

I love this.

When I was told this, back when I was online dating, I have to say it was a bit of a game changer. Your first instinct is to think, ‘Wait, what?’.

But then I thought back to people I’d met in my (very) long and varied dating life... and how my first impressions of their attractiveness could wildly change as soon as I started engaging with them.

That’s because I was seeing them as they see themselves.

Self-love levels the playing field. You don’t have to be the hottest person in the room to be the hottest person in the room... you just have to THINK you are.

Wow, I love that. It means being attractive, magnetic, desired is within all of us. We just gotta dig deep and love ourselves. No way round it.

Your vibe reflects the way you see yourself and cues others to respond accordingly.

I’m just getting into the Law of Attraction and figuring out how to raise my vibrations, which builds on this. And it’s so relevant to dating, I’ve got a feeling I’m gonna be sharing my learnings on here soon.

Anyone got any recommendations of people I can follow who are talking about vibrating higher? Please share 🙏🏽

I’m ready to vibe higher. Are you?

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Your dating app profile ain’t the place to blend in. I know we all want to belong and fit in. But... this isn’t the time.

So many profiles are literally copy cats of each other. It’s sooo boring. Especially given the fact we’re all so different & amazing once you get to know us.

Take a risk. Reveal something meaningful about yourself in your profile. Write down all the things that make you stand out from others and then choose a couple of those to reveal in your profile photos.

People are gonna stare.
Make it worth their while.

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

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This message makes my heart do little backflips. I love that this client felt seen by Nicole and was able to express her best self.

And I love that she took the time to share her gratitude with me and Nicole.

I have a strong feeling that when this client finds love, it’s going to be pretty special.

💛 Very exciting 💛

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I’m sharing my face because we have a bunch of new followers, yay hi there, and also because my jumper is very on brand and that’s kind of what I wanted to talk about today.

In your profile pics, your clothes are saying a lot more about you than you might think.

Our clothes are telling people a lot about our lifestyle, our social status, our personality and our vibe ... oh yeah and in my case, my job!

So what do you want your clothes to say about you? That you’re cool, confident, nerdish, feminine, comfortable, stylish, independent, fashionable, glam, extrovert, etc?

By choosing your clothes with intention, you can reveal elements of your personality that might otherwise not come across easily in your pictures.

And our clothes choices actually have more power than we think.

The psychologist, Dr Jennifer Baumgartner (a total expert on this stuff), says,

‘You can use your wardrobe to change how other people perceive you, and even more importantly - how you see yourself’.

I’ve shared that before but I love it so much. This is that moment when the outfit you put on makes you feel invincible & unstoppable. Perfect for a photoshoot or some first date action.

Lots of photoshoots coming up this bank holiday weekend, so this is your reminder to prep your outfits with intention.

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This is big-ass Hey Saturday energy right here...

‘Shoot your shot’ is:

🎯 to let go of your pride & pursue someone you’re into;

🎯 to be brave & have the audacity to do something that might be embarrassing;

🎯 to do, say or claim a thing that is potentially outside of your range of abilities.

This is the kinda energy that works so well on dating photoshoots & online dating.

People out there, living their best lives, willing to shoot their shot.

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