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Dating was hard even before a worldwide pandemic hit. With regulations on group gatherings and social distancing measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, finding love now might feel impossible. If you’ve been feeling extra lonely this year, Spectrum created a guide to dating during the coronavirus.

Finding someone to connect with

Whether you’re on campus or at home, virtual classes can be a serious hurdle when searching for a significant other. Regardless, there are still many ways that you can get to know others.

Strike up a conversation with a classmate or someone in your study group. Try to join in on study meetings over Zoom or participate in class group chats to get to know people more personally than you would if you were in lecture together. Additionally, even at this time of year, general club meetings are often still open to all students, and Columbia’s Student Councils and Undergraduate Student Life holds school-wide community programs like virtual Trivia Night.

If you’re actively searching for a significant other, dating apps are a great resource. With Tinder, Hinge, and OKCupid seeing a record increase in usage during these last few months, you’ll be sure to find a match.

Sealing the deal

If you’ve met someone in a Zoom meeting, your next course of action is connecting with them outside of a professional or academic setting. Talking over Instagram or Snapchat would bring a greater level of ease to the conversation and a greater degree of familiarity between you two. Message them asking for their social media and text them with a friendly conversation starter. This is an opportunity to get to know someone on a more personal level in a low pressure environment.

If in quarantine or miles away from your partner, you can always have a virtual date night. Video call while cooking a meal together or solve a virtual escape room. Here are some more ideas to get you started.

If you decide to meet them outside of a virtual format, try getting take-out from your favorite restaurant and having a picnic at the park, or strolling through an outdoor farmers market. But don’t forget that, no matter how tempting it might be, it’s safest to keep your mask on and maintain six feet of distance between one another.

Being respectful of others’ concerns

What people are now calling the “Covid Talk” is a conversation between friends about risks before hanging out. Dating is no exception. Be considerate about the circumstances and concerns of others. Before meeting, it’s important to ask each other questions and set expectations around mask-wearing, social distancing, and quarantining.

Talk through any concerns that you might have. Here are some questions you should ask your partner before you decide to meet:

What COVID-19 precautions are you taking? When was the last time you were tested? How many people do you live with? How many people are you seeing? Have you traveled recently? What did you do this weekend?

Getting intimate

Keep the transmission rate in your community in mind before becoming intimate. New York City Health Department’s guidelines state that people should avoid kissing, get tested before meeting, and wear a mask at all times for precautionary measures.

If all else fails, stay single

If you’re single during cuffing season, don’t fret. Minimizing your contact with others is the best way to stay safe during this time. Consider investing in a space heater or buying a body pillow off of Amazon. Even better, grow your own boyfriend or girlfriend and let them keep you company during COVID-19 isolation.

Staff writer Emma Cho can be contacted at emma.cho@columbiaspectator.com. Follow her on Twitter @emsoojin.

Cuffing season COVID-19 Dating Pandemic Finding love Relationships
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