BENGALURU: Dating is all about meeting new people, but in a world where isolation has become the norm, what does the future hold? With watching a movie in the theatre, or having a romantic dinner at a restaurant out of the equation, are people still thinking about dating? If dating apps are to be believed, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Matchmaking apps have seen an increase in the number of users during the lockdown. A spokesperson from Tinder said: “During the time of self-distancing, people are feeling a strong mix of anxiety, loneliness, and uncertainty.
But this hasn’t meant disconnecting for our members. In March, as parts of the world went into lockdown, members started ‘Passporting’ into other parts of the world. India saw a 25% increase in the rate of ‘Passporting’.” Shalini Singh, founder of andwemet, a matchmaking platform for singles above the age of 25 years, said, “We have seen a rise in the number of users, but fake profiles increased too. Thanks to our signing up process which also demands an id proof, we were able to weed them out.” OkCupid, another dating app, analyzed how users around the world are readjusting their dating lives in the wake of Covid-19.
Matches on the platform have increased by 10% worldwide since March 2020, while conversations have increased over 20%. “There have been over 50 million intro messages sent across the world on our app over the last month among daters connecting for the first time. With establishments around the world temporarily closed, people are looking for human connection now more than ever before,” CEO Ariel Charytan said.
With conventional date ideas no longer feasible, are there new ways in which daters are spending time with each other? Shalini said: “Traditional date nights have been replaced by more participatory activities like cooking. A user told us how a guy took her through the steps of making rasgulla virtually. People are also introducing their pets to one another, and having a direct glimpse at another person’s life.” According to the Tinder spokesperson, members on the app found virtual ways to replicate the human interaction that was missing from daily lives, such as “cooking dinner together, Passporting to other cities to check in on each other, and having a virtual date-night”.
With physical meetings posing potential health threats, are there features that help users take an informed decision before they meet? “We have features like Conversation Starter questions through which you can check if your interests match before you start chatting,” said Shalini. OkCupid too allows daters to match and get to know each other through questions on various things like thoughts on chai and pakoda on a rainy day to women working after marriage, Ariel added. “In response to a question on the app — ‘How do you plan on dating during this time of Covid?’, 91% of Indian respondents said they would continue to date, albeit virtually,” said Ariel.