We’ve officially arrived. We are in the next normal. This is our next normal in going to the store, working from home, gathering (or not gathering) with people – and now in dating. What felt like a temporary pause in life has now shifted into a more permanent reality.
Dating, for some of us, has already been a little complicated and clumsy. But now we’re adding mask wearing, social distancing, and a fear of a highly contagious virus. And yet, it’s not like this pandemic has somehow eliminated our desire for companionship and removed all feelings for wanting to find “our person”. If anything, it’s done the opposite and made us acutely aware of our loneliness.
But the question remains: how exactly are we suppose to navigate this new territory when we’re not even sure an in-person meet up is on the table anymore?
Are there new rules to dating during this next normal?
Yes and no.
1. Don’t assume anything
This point extends well beyond COVID, but we’ll make it about this context. Don’t assume someone will want to meet in person on the first date. Don’t assume they will or will not wear a mask. Don’t assume they’ll want to go in a restaurant, shake your hand, or give you a hug.
2. Be clear and direct
A lot of us are feeling the Zoom fatigue, but if you don’t want your first date to be in-person, say so. That could be a deal breaker for some people so you need to go ahead and get that out of the way initially. Also, if you are going to wear a mask to meet your date for the first time, tell them. If you want them to wear a mask, tell them that, too. A lot of women expect the men to choose the location of the first date, and that’s okay. But if you, as a woman, are only comfortable in certain environments, then be up front about that. The same goes for you too, men.
3. Don’t be afraid of a virtual first date
While it may seem weird at first, here’s the plus side of meeting virtually. There are no distractions from a server or people around you. The only thing you have is conversation and that’s not a bad thing. Conversations are more pointed because no one is interested in Face Timing a stranger just to talk about a bunch of nothing. We all want to know if there are common interests and the possibility of a spark. With your only focus being the person on the screen in front of you, it forces you to be present in, perhaps a way you wouldn’t otherwise be.
The point is this: everyone’s comfort level is going to be different during this next normal.
And that’s okay. Whatever your comfort level is – that’s okay. But you need to communicate your comfort level up front.
If you can get in the habit of clearly communicating what you want and don’t want, what you expect and don’t expect now, just think how helpful this will be in your future relationships! You can never go wrong with good communication skills.
This post originally appeared on Kristin’s blog here. Used by permission.
Kristin Fry is an author and speaker on topics of leadership, relationships, and emotional health. In her book, Beyond the Swipe, she addresses dating in the digital age, instilling confidence and hope in those who are wanting to date well. She has been a staff member at the nation’s largest churches and Christian Universities, and currently lives in Atlanta, GA. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, or kristinfry.com