Don't be fooled, you can still find your perfect match in times of social distancing. Photo: Shutterstock
Undoubtedly, finding a soulmate in times of social distancing and face masks seems like an impossible task. But dating sites are reinviting themselves in order to bring people together even during the health crisis.
Forget bars, cafes and restaurants, which are usually so convenient for meetings and dates: their imposed closure in light of the covid-19 pandemic has pushed singles to explore other channels to find the soulmate. Adaptability is the key word.
One of the most widely used dating sites – Meetic – has gone from being the "first in real life event organiser" to offering remote services for singles, with a themed podcast on love and lockdown, coaching videos and the launch of a video calling feature.
"While some singles were stopped by the pandemic and did not register (we observed a 6% drop in registrations), those who had decided to make encounters were 100% dedicated: +27% of messages exchanged (in 2020) compared to 2019," says a spokesperson for the portal, which is active in 15 European countries, including Luxembourg.
"There is a new trend on dating sites: people communicate their interest by sending out a lot of messages, then don’t give any news, without explanation. It’s a bit demotivating, you feel like you’re wasting your time," says one male user.
That is why he has decided to wait for the end of the pandemic before looking for dates again. Another user, on the other hand, would prefer to find a partner to escape the loneliness exacerbated by the current context: "The psychological impact is clearly taking a toll on many people and, in my opinion, even more so on singles."
Yes to digital, no messaging
With the deconfinement last spring , Claudia Neumeister saw a new flow of applications arrive. She runs her own matrimonial agency: Luxdates ."I think that during the first lockdown, singles reconsidered their status, and couples may have realised that they were with the wrong person," she says.
Despite the health crisis, the matchmaker continues her face-to-face interviews with each of her clients to identify their expectations and find their other half in her database. For the meeting, she adapts the medium to the profiles of the individuals, sometimes via online video call, sometimes by taking a walk outside to get to know each other.
"I do not recommend messages and SMS: you do not hear the tone of the voice, you see that the other has seen the message, but you do not know under what circumstances they read and answer. This creates a kind of tension,” warns the expert, who goes so far as to say that “sending messages pushes relationships to death.”
However, Neumeister, does not object to long e-mails or telephone conversations: "If they feel comfortable, then both participants can switch to a video call."
In the current context, the entrepreneur has developed a dating coaching service, a presentation of singles in the form of a video, but in which they do not appear.
Covid or the art of taking time
This is one of the strengths of her agency when it comes to the applications of dating sites: acting out of sight to create couples. “I think Covid is an opportunity because it encourages us to take the time to get to know the other person,” she says.
One user shares this opinion: a single woman met her other half one evening in February in a bar before lockdown. "We started to sympathise on social media, and I would almost say 'thanks to lockdown'. The first day of the reopening of the terraces, we were there! It was a kind of 'first date' for us after two months of daily discussions." The lovebirds are now a happy couple. Nothing is impossible in 2021.
This article was originally published in French on Paperjam.lu and has been translated and edited for Delano.