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Is dating different now?

What you should expect when looking for love in 2021

Dating has never been easy. No matter how much your mates may brag about their romantic life, finding a meaningful human connection has never been easy. This information I imagine will not be a revelation to you, if you find yourself reading this article. Chances are that you found it difficult before the pandemic, and you’re anxious about if anything in the dating world has changed. Maybe it’s even harder now than it was before? What if you don’t understand the norms of it all anymore?

Don’t worry, many of us are feeling the way you do, and in this blog I’ll try to give you some useful information on what those changes have been, as well as why you shouldn’t freak out about them.

The first and most notable change in the dating scene has been the complete adoption of dating apps to the process of finding love, amongst other things. Dating apps are no new thing, and many of us will have already been using them before the pandemic, however published usage statistics by these large dating apps show just how big of a

part these technologies now play in our romantic life.

Active user % of various dating apps amongst different age populations 2021 (US)

The infographic above shows which age group uses what app above, but ultimately tells us why dating in 2021 mainly occurs through dating apps. Why is this different? And what does this change about my dating life?

I’m glad you asked, all that practice you’ve been having with video calls in Zoom or other apps might come in handy, as video calls are becoming more popular amongst users of all ages (Carbino & Kibbe, 2021). Even if you’re anxious about getting in front of cameras I would try to see this as a positive, as many of us had our fair share of matches in the past who it became difficult to connect with over messages. Perhaps a video call is a better way to see whether you really connect with someone, without hurting the bank like many of us have done before, cycling through a range of bad traditional dates! And remember, if you or your match feels uncomfortable with the video format, that’s okay too, after all many of us haven’t had to spruce up in quite some time and you can definitely be excused for wanting to ease into it. If you do feel that way and your match can’t understand that then perhaps it’s for the best to go separate ways anyway, as at Wangie we’d much prefer you find love in someone who doesn’t mind compromise if it makes you feel that little bit more comfortable. It’ll work out in the long run, trust me!

Depending on where you are in the world, you might be excited about the possibility of an in-person date, given that lockdown restrictions seem to be easing in many places, vaccinations are rolling out, and places to go and enjoy yourself are opening their doors once more. But it’s best to be prepared for a few subtle changes, before you go and give the whole bar high fives when they see you with your hot date!

First of all, social distancing is still a thing, for now at least. This means those high fives with strangers are off the table, but it also means that you or your date might not be comfortable with immediate physical contact, which in the past used to be a big part of meeting someone for the first time, whether a hug, handshake or a bow and a kiss on the hand (for all you Disney princes and princesses).

This might feel weird, and you may suddenly feel restricted, but your date will be feeling the same way. I would argue these kind of strange changes that have resulted from the pandemic give you something to bond over, finding a common ground and laughing at awkward situations with your date will definitely put you in good stead, and being able to laugh on a first date is proven to increase your chances of securing your second (Fuchs, 2018).

The truth is, there’s a lot of uncertainty around everything now, and dating is no exception. But the dating seen has always been filled with uncertainty, the nature of it is that you take risks and that’s why we often reflect on dating experiences as so formative. If you’re itching to get back out there, go and do it! And most importantly enjoy it, because the relief I’m sure you’ll feel after being isolated for such a long time before making connections with new people will feel so, so special. If you’re anxious or unsure, don’t be afraid to take a risk, but I’m sure you’ll know when you’re ready. Everyone is going to be below their best when it comes to socialising right now and that should help ease your concerns. We’ve all experienced this thing together and we all want to make new connections, and possibly find that illusive L word. And there’s plenty to look forward to moving forward, as restrictions ease and some of that awkwardness with it. So be confident, be safe, and most of all… enjoy yourself. Being ready for love is often a process and not a state of being, so make some memories with people you meet along the way, you won’t regret it.

Ryan(W) | Wangie Mentor

References & Interesting Reads

Fuchs, S., Allgemeine, L. Z., & Rathcke, T. (2018). Laugh is in the air? physiological analysis of laughter as a correlate of attraction during speed dating. Jonathan Ginzburg, Catherine Pelachaud (eds.), 21.

Honigmann, M. (2021). Has Covid-19 changed dating for better or worse?. Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved 6 May 2021, from

Iqbal, M. (2021). Tinder Revenue and Usage Statistics (2021). Business of Apps. Retrieved 6 May 2021, from

Kibbe, K., & Carbino, J. (2021). An Ex-Tinder and Bumble Scientist Predicts the Future of Online Dating. InsideHook. Retrieved 6 May 2021, from

Seabrook, V. (2021). Love in lockdown: How the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world of dating. Sky News. Retrieved 6 May 2021, from

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