When Britain first came under restrictions due to Covid-19 in March 2020, Kristina knew that the search for a date took a hit. Like many others, he was directed to virtual dating. So, as a rising trend, flirting with video in online applications has changed the way we flirt?
Kristina, 43, a South African babysitter living in London, coronavirus she says her restrictions mean she can’t date anyone for a while.
She still likes the idea of going to the bar with her friends to have a drink, says Kristina. “But I’m not looking for the process of meeting people I don’t know as before,” says Kristina.
Video calls make things less awkward, Kristina says, “This way I can save my time and money. Plus, I get less hangover.”
While the internet has become the more common tool for couples to meet in the past 20 years, dating has changed with the restriction of travel and dating during the outbreak.
While dating apps on phones have become widespread worldwide, downloads of these apps have increased by 82 percent, according to a report published by Hinge.
But dating apps companies say the surveys conducted also spot different changes.
In places where face-to-face meeting is still possible, even with social distancing, there has been an increase in people who postpone the first meeting face-to-face and instead prefer to flirt for longer.
Experts say this trend is due to the increased use of video calls. Moreover, it has been called “Zoomancing”, which means flirting with video in online applications.
Hayley Quinn, a dating coach and TedX speaker, told the BBC, “Even though the old, normal ways of meeting people have been taken away from us in real life, people’s desire to meet and connect with someone has not diminished.”
Quinn says that people prefer video apps to get to know each other before meeting face to face due to the pandemic.
The dating expert believes that freezing people’s social lives gives them more opportunities to think about the way they build relationships.
Match.com’s biological anthropologist and chief scientific adviser Helen Fisher believes this reinforces a trend she calls “slow love.”
Stating that he has been researching single people in the US for years, Fisher says that only 6 percent of singles used video chat in the pandemic, but now it is 1 in 5 singles.
“People spend most of their time in their homes. They are more honest, more transparent and more expressive, more meaningful conversations,” explains Fisher.
For example, Kristina reports that pandemic restrictions push her to have a more open conversation with her future lovers than she had in the real world in the past:
“Now that means getting to know each other more platonically.”
As expected, several dating apps offered their users broader possibilities, such as the ability to video talk during the pandemic.
Grindr, the application used by LGBTI + s, offered the premium feature video chat for a certain period of time for free and also organized events such as Pride Week.
Grindr’s marketing manager, Alex Black, told the BBC that they definitely noticed a cultural shift in the use of dating apps during the pandemic:
“Around 48 percent of our users said they were relating to someone through photos and videos. This shows us that people are finding different ways of relationships in a time when there is no face-to-face meeting.”
Filter Off is one of them. Zack Schleien, the company’s co-founder, used his own dating experience to create his video chat-based app last year.
Even before the pandemic, Schleien says he wants to have video interviews with his beloved candidates before he will have face-to-face meetings.
Stating that he went to appointments, but sometimes quickly realized that either the chemistry did not work at all or that neither of us was affected by the other, Schleien continues:
“So before I met, I started asking people to do video calls to see if there would be a good feeling. Most of them turned me down. But I was sure other people would want something like that. The pandemic perceptions changed and video chat became much more acceptable.”
Dating coach Quinn states that people will continue video calls even when the pandemic is over, according to the survey results.
According to Tinder, more than 65 percent of users who try the video call feature introduced in October will use this feature again.
Video calls are now a kind of review tool and will continue even when we return to our normal lives, says Fisher from Match.com.
Stating that much less ‘first date’ will be seen, Fisher says people will eliminate people who have things they don’t want to see before face-to-face meetings:
“But we will also witness more meaningful first dates.”
Still, virtual dates can be difficult. Kristina points out that some of her single friends who work in jobs that require regular conference calls aren’t so eager to spend more screen time looking for someone.
Also, there is no guarantee of success with virtual dating, as with traditional dating methods. Kristina states that she hasn’t gotten along very well with any of the people she’s met on video chats.
Stating that she is cooking new meals for her housemates, Kristina says, “I congratulate all of us to be fine despite the epidemic,” said Kristina.