As vaccinations roll-out and the quarantine guidelines begin to relax, is the pandemic’s impact on our love and dating life here to stay? Have the manners of dating during Covid changed the way we court, connect and build relationships forever?
A group of psychologists at Montréal’s McGill University, unknowingly, started answering these questions during a 2018 study that looked into how a “potential Infectious Disease” will impact the way we approach romantic interactions. After more than three years of research, including real-life observations of behavioural shifts during the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, the results were fascinating.
Researchers concluded that the pandemic had shifted the manners of dating and the perception of romantic life from a dating trend of moving from one partner to the another into a more “old school” approach…where every date became more precious. Although pathogens have presented a threat to our survival throughout human history, the natural human desire to find a partner prevails and has shifted into a basic need for survival rather than a self-actualization aspect of our lives.
So here is a list of some of the Manners of Dating that will help you adapt to the 2021 “New-Normal” of Romance:
- Expectations vs Standards – If there is something this pandemic has offered us… it is time for reflection. Time to define what we need, what we are looking for, what matters to us… what we really really want… as the Spice Girls recommend it… More often than not, prior to the pandemic, people would impose some set of expectations they picked up from a meme/the filtered reality of an influencer/ other people’s opinions and dumped them into their own search for “the one”. Standards can’t exist without a great sense of awareness. Standards are not picking a random person and getting mad when they do not fulfil our immense and endless list of expectations. Standards have a very mature approach. They are clearly communicated, they are aware that not everyone matches, and there is no offence in that. So on our first dates…instead of being busy sucking our belly in and trying to promote our life achievements, we can actually take the opportunity and observe how that person makes us feel. So in time…we actually make room to fall in love, not with what the person could be or should be….but with who the person actually is.
- Building up on Vulnerability, not Negativity –The past years have been challenging for many of us. Allow room for the other person to express their concerns. Good communication is key to all relationships. Talk openly about things, even seemingly sensitive topics. Clearly, this creates an excellent platform for people to connect at a deeper level, relate to one another emotionally, sympathize and empathize in ways that could make our reptilian brain perceive love in places where otherwise it would have translated as a simple need for socializing. So remain aware of that trap. The trap of building a relationship on “shared misery effect”. Ensure you avoid starting all conversations on a negative, show interest in topics that assist you in actually getting to know the person, their hobbies, their dreams, their values, their vision of a family or a relationship, or children…things that will actually matter in building a healthy lifelong relationship.
- Be considerate of Redefined Boundaries – You’ve got your thickest mask on, doubled by your face shield and your date shows up wearing a scarf below their nose… Awkwardness uploaded. If, on the other hand, you know you are the type that doesn’t care for social distancing guidelines, ensure you take this opportunity to showcase that you are considerate towards other people’s different safety perspectives. Agree beforehand with your date on the venue, their perspectives on safety and ensure you follow the venue’s safety guidelines.
- If you are the one that invited, ensure you check with the person how they prefer to meet up? Do not impose picking someone up but show care and offer a few options, including potentially sending a chauffeur driven car that makes them feel safe.
- Showing respect means you greet verbally, but do not impose any kind of touch (fist bumps/ elbow bumps/ hugs/ handshakes/ kisses) on the person you are trying to show respect to, being your client/ superior or, in this case…your date.
- Be open about what you’re comfortable with and the boundaries you want in place. Be aware of what is available to you in your local area (e.g. instant testing), what is legal but more important be respectful of what the person you’re going on a date with is comfortable with. Everyone has their own level of comfort so be open and transparent with yours and find a solution that works for both parties. Do not make any assumptions, and always be considerate.
- Take your time to get to know the person – We are so accustomed to living in a world where “instant gratification takes too long”, as Carrie Fisher put it… That this type of “old school” dating where we need to take our time and talk for a while before deciding to go meet might have worked in our favour. Studies show that even the previously declared-opponents of dating apps and matchmaking services have subscribed to these much needed services in an attempt to get to know more people. A previously overlooked and skipped stage of dating has become prevalent in today’s dating life…which is learning how to build a genuine human connection, invest time and show renewed interest in the people we want to share our life with, as opposed to treating everyone like a fast-relationship. There was a time of quantity and there clearly is a time for quality that the loneliness epidemic of the past years has created a massive need for.
It turns out Covid-19 has indefinitely redefined the idea of manners of dating and romance and the value we put on the people that are the closest to us.
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