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How to master online dating during the pandemic, expert reveals

With Britons across the country banned from socialising in person, it’s no surprise that online dating is booming during the pandemic.

And according to a recent study conducted by the Wingman app, which enables friends to choose matches for their bestie, the ‘hook-up culture’ is dead, with many singletons now relying on virtual connections to find a relationship.

Contrary to the stereotypes of dating apps being used for casual flings, the research found 81 per cent of users said they would un-match someone if they suggested ‘coming over’, implying they’re using the platform to seek a more serious courtship. 

In addition, 67 per cent of online daters using the app confirmed they would have at least three virtual dates before they even felt comfortable in bringing up the topic of meeting up in person.

With Britons across the country banned from socialising in person, it’s no surprise that online dating is booming during the pandemic (pictured: stock image)

Wingman’s founder, dating expert Tina Wilson, said: ‘Lockdown is seeing a big spike in user activity amongst Gen-Z and Millennials looking for that human connection and potential relationship. With Wingman appealing to not only the single, but their trusted tribe, we have seen an older demographic coming onboard in order to help and support this age group.

‘People do not want to put their love life on hold whilst this pandemic rages, and as such will find new inventive ways to stay connected.’ 

With so many people now turning to online dating, Tina has shared her top tips for mastering the art of finding love on the internet. 

How picky with matches should you be?

Let your friends choose. Objectively they know you better than you know yourself, and can spot what you need, rather than what you think you like. 

They might uncover a hidden gem that you would bypass!

Be open to talking to new people without the expectation of them being ‘the one’.

When should you log on?

With coronavirus killing hook-up culture, it really doesn’t matter what time you log on to any dating app. There is no urgency of location or timing to meet. 

Pre-Covid, the majority of our users logged in early morning or early evening (outside of work hours) but since the pandemic, we’ve noticed a steadier flow throughout the day.

Write a list of what you are looking for in a partner; include your must haves, nice to have, and your dealbreakers. 

Then ask a friend to go through that list with you to edit down your fantasy life or upgrade your requirements. Then use that as your internal guide.

Don’t bypass someone because of one ugly pair of shoes, or terrible wallpaper. This isn’t Instagram where you get to put up a fantasy picture or a filter. It’s real life!

What should you include on your profile? 

Creating a profile is not LinkedIn, a CV or job interview, where you get to talk about your greatest moments.

Outsource it. Let someone that knows you really well write a few lines and edit what you’ve written to ensure it doesn’t sound too promotional or lacklustre. 

Do not give a list of what you are looking for in someone. The fact is, a demanding requirements list will only put off potential suitors.

Ditch group photos and filters 

We all love to use our best photo but do not filter it beyond recognition. You may think a ‘blurry’ finish looks cool or more flattering, but it is easy to spot there is something to hide.

Beware of those ‘funny filters’ photos, they cause suspicion of what is lurking behind, so no matter how hilarious you think you look, try to remember that no-one else knows you or what this altered image is.

You aren’t going for an interview so avoid a LinkedIn photoshoot look.

Avoid group photos! No matter how much you love your family, we don’t need them in a photo for potential suitors to have to figure out which one you are.

However, animals with you are most definitely allowed in photos – in fact profiles with dogs have been proved to be more engaging than that steamy blue-steel selfie.

Ask a friend to choose a photo of you to put on your profile. We are so self-critical, its often easy to overthink it. 

Be positive! 

Don’t air your dirty laundry. This is not a time to talk about your bad experiences, no matter how valid they are. 

I’ve seen profiles on other dating apps that detail how they’ve been hurt, used, and want an honest person. Note to self, all this will attract is scammers using your vulnerability against you. 

Keep it honest 

Absolutely do include any hobbies or interests, no matter how quirky. The person that you will enjoy spending time with is going to like you for you, not a politically correct crafted profile.

Do not launch into an essay about yourself or your childhood; this is not your life-story, so keep it light but interesting. I would suggest writing something that people would be surprised to know about you – it’s always a good one.

Letting your friends and family write your profile is always going to be authentic and interesting and they can talk about how great you are without sounding self-promotional. This is one of the reasons that I created Wingman, so that those awkward sale-sy profiles would be a thing of the past. 

Don’t play too hard to get

The chat behaviours have changed since coronavirus, as its unlikely people are out and about having fun and it is much more acceptable to respond quicker than you might ordinarily do.

Use common sense. If you are in an instant chat with someone, you can reply back and forth as time permits.

If you are working, do not feel that just because you are in your home that you have to respond. Definitely wait until after work hours rather than getting into a long chat.

If you are sitting by the phone, urging it to ring and you get a new message come in, please try to relax. Don’t be tempted to swoop on it like a stalker – it is not a 999 call or urgent, so wait until you have time to start that conversation.

Be open-minded 

Whatever dating app you are using, expand those distance settings and open yourself up to meeting someone that may not be in the same town. 

With singles isolating and quarantining all around the country, they might be at a location that isn’t where they normally live. There is no chance of meeting up in person for the foreseeable future, so give it a go.

Make an effort! 

Virtual dating should be considered the same as in person dating, so do get dressed up and feel good in yourself – that means a hair wash and losing the dressing gown!

If you’ve moved past the texting phase and are thinking of chatting to someone, either on the phone or a video call, do set a mental time limit for it and give a heads up that you have ‘small time to chat’. 

You can always go over it, but if it’s awkward, it can help to avoid that stuttering or dreaded dried up conversation.

For more information about Wingman, visit https://www.wingmanapp.com/ and read more about Tina here: https://www.tinawilson.co


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