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For many among us, the pandemic has brought with it a sense of solitude as we have been forced to be away from our families, friends and other important people in our lives. A lot of people may feel as if they have forgotten how to socialise with others, let alone start dating again. During the pandemic itself, many have resorted to online dating as a way to stay connected with others. Video calling was a way for many to meet their match virtually before agreeing to meet up in person. This has helped some people with having the possibility of building a deeper emotional connection before a physical one.

While many are those who are craving intimacy, a good number of people also feel that they are out of practice when it comes to dating others. Some may be feeling socially awkward or that their social skills are somewhat rusty after having spent so much time alone. People have generally reported experiencing higher levels of social anxiety, and therefore it is natural that it will take some time to feel comfortable socialising and dating once again. Some may feel hesitant about getting back out into the dating scene for a variety of reasons, while others may want to rush back into dating as they are tired of feeling isolated and would like to celebrate their freedom. Whatever your position may be, be sure that you tap into your own self to figure out what it is that you feel you need during this time.

The following tips can help you to prepare yourself for dating after the pandemic:

Prepare yourself for dating: You are probably not the only one to be feeling hesitant about dating again. It is normal to feel anxious when thinking of meeting new people and forming relationships with them. We have been in social isolation for more than a year, and therefore we may likely think of meeting new people as dangerous or stressful. Set some boundaries with yourself that may help you build some confidence with getting back out into the dating scene. This may look like going on fewer dates so as to start out slow.

Build up your self-confidence: Take some time to think about the way that you talk to yourself. Positive self-talk helps with increasing self-confidence as well as your overall sense of self-worth. You may also wish to reflect on what it is that you would like out of dating. Are you looking for something casual, or are you looking for something more serious? Knowing what it is that you want out of the dating experience helps with having a sense of direction, which in turn boosts your self-confidence.

Prioritize your health and safety: If you find that you are still worried about contracting the virus despite the decrease in cases, perhaps you would want to consider going on a date somewhere outdoors. This could mean sitting outside when dining out, meeting at a park or another public place, or even planning a fun activity such as stargazing.

Pamela is a counsellor who enjoys working therapeutically with adults experiencing various issues. These include general mental health and wellbeing, gender, sexuality, relationship issues.  

References:

Field, B. (2021). What to Know About Dating After COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/dating-after-covid-19-5180367

Kalter, L. (2021). Are You Ready for a Post-COVID Dating Tsunami? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20210430/are-you-ready-for-a-post-covid-dating-tsunami

Swami, V. (2021). Dating after lockdown: why you shouldn’t expect a summer of love. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/dating-after-lockdown-why-you-shouldnt-expect-a-summer-of-love-160953