What was famously a holiday that dominated urban life and made way for filmy meet-cutes is now still reeling from the effects of COVID-19. And although you’d think that Valentine’s must now be a subdued affair and love in the time of the pandemic is far from achievable, sources tell us otherwise.

With the huge shift that has been made to the online platform, dating too has held its ground and emerged victorious. Tinder and Bumble are global giants as a result of the breakthrough numbers that have joined it since 2020, and love at first sight…or text is very much a possibility. Love has now truly crossed all distances and connects people across cities and countries. All it takes is the spark, and online dating simply runs with it connecting you to people with shared interests, tastes, and goals. We have to say that we particularly enjoy how easy it has become without the hassle or the rush or well, the effort, that meeting someone in person demands.

Dating is fun, dating is accessible, and dating is just a few swipes on the screen away. But then again, while we celebrate how the world of online dating opens up so many possibilities, the biggest question is: How does one get on board?
We’ve come across friends who are shy and less social who might not exactly be comfortable with the idea of the swipe right culture, maybe we are that friend. So how does one adapt? We obviously don’t have all the answers, but we do have some tips that might help you consider taking a chance:

1. Decide if you’re looking for something casual, or want a meaningful relationship

We can’t stress on this enough. It’s always better to go in with a clear head. Never go into dating – online or otherwise, while not being sure of what you want. If it’s something casual, then it’s fine. If it’s a relationship you want, also great. You just have to ask yourself what it is that you’re looking for. Not only does that make your search better, but it also gives you some clarity and helps you get over the initial nervousness. You simply have to own it, that’s all.

2. Be patient
While online dating may seem fast-paced and the world around you may make you feel like you’re left behind, wait. You have to be patient. Much like with meeting people in person, you can’t let the lives of others get the better of you. We highly encourage a few impulsive left swipes, that’s the only way you’ll realise that you aren’t behind and that there are opportunities for everyone. You have to take your time and understand that if the pandemic has ensured anything, it is that you do things in your own time. No rush.

3. Don’t set your expectations way too high
We don’t wish to demotivate, but in all sincerity, don’t set your expectations way too high. Online dating is just regular dating but on a virtual platform. Chances are that it may not work out in the first try. If it does then there’s nothing like it, congratulations! But if it doesn’t, then do not be disheartened. There are indeed plenty of fish in the sea, and you will come across the right one as time passes. Sometimes things may not work out, and that really shouldn’t be a hindrance in your life.

4. Be open minded and don’t limit yourself
The best part about online dating is arguably the fact that it offers you relative anonymity. Why do we say that? Because although you’re not exactly anonymous, you’re still separated by your phone screens and the visible distance that exists between you, no matter if they’re even in the same city. So chances are that you will never meet them in person anyway, and you really have nothing to lose. Just be open minded. Don’t feel the need to mask your personality or be a different way. Be true to yourself and don’t be afraid to take a chance. What’s the worst that could happen? And trust us when we say this, but that leap of faith that you take for yourself will eventually make things easier. It’ll also help you find like-minded people better, without the pretense that meeting someone in person creates.

5. Have fun!
Online dating is not a test that you have to take and force yourself to perform well in. It’s really for you to explore, and to get comfortable in your own skin. Don’t be peer pressured into anything and just let yourself be. Give yourself a chance and take things one at a time. It’s your world, and at your fingertips. Don’t hesitate to call things off, or to take a step back if you want to. Honestly, it’s something that can become yours and adapt itself to you. There is absolutely no pressure. Just let loose and carry on. Now all of this may seem easier said, but we encourage you to give it a try. You never know how things work out. What’s more is that if anything, it’s something that can be taken as a challenge, to put yourself out there and redefine the way that you are perceived.

The reins are in your hand. Trust your gut and don’t let thoughts of the usual ‘what will people say’ get in the way. Our experiences make us, and trust us, this is also an experience that will add to your life.

– By Ananya Khaund