Use of dating apps evolves for the better as the pandemic rages on

As coronavirus cases increase in the United States, temperatures are dropping in many areas. It’s a kind of “double whammy”. While it’s hard to predict anything these days, it’s likely that this winter Americans will be spending a lot more time at home than usual.

Dating apps, however, are booming.

Between September and October, according to data from Adam Blacker, vice president of . the main dating applications have grown considerably. Apptopia reports that Match increased by 21%; OkCupid rose 21 percent; and Bumble rose 16 percent. Other big hitters like Tinder and Hinge also grew up, but more modestly. The black singles app BLK grew the most of the Blacker sample with 23% month-over-month growth.

This could be caused by factors unrelated to actual dating. Before the election, for example, , using them as a way to reach voters in the Swing State. But with numbers like this, “hinge-banking” probably doesn’t take everything into account.

The use of dating apps is (still) booming

In fact, Hinge saw a 17% increase in dates (in-person and virtual, Hinge doesn’t track them separately) over the summer, according to Logan Ury, dating coach and director of relationship science at Hinge. This fall, the app that is “designed to be discontinued” saw the highest level of user engagement it has seen in all year. “We can certainly support that kind of assumption … that this is a very active time for dating,” Ury told Mashable.

Match CEO Hesam Hosseini shared similar information with Mashable. While users were not keeping the IRI from March to May, this changed in the second half of the year.

The double hit of COVID and the cold winter months may mean more social distancing after a more relaxed summer and fall. “As people become more isolated, the desire and need to establish some sort of intimacy may also increase as a coping mechanism,” said Dr. Ash Nadkarni, MD, associate psychiatrist and instructor at the Harvard Medical School.

“As people become isolated, the desire and need to establish some sort of intimacy may also increase as a coping mechanism.

So it makes a lot of sense to download a dating app when the dating landscape has been completely turned upside down. It is inherently human to want a connection and to seek a coping mechanism to fill that void.

New positive dating habits are emerging

However, increased engagement isn’t the only trend Hinge and Match has noticed. Match’s Hosseini predicts that singles will take their use of dating apps more seriously. Match was already seeing a slower shift from hookup culture to more intentional dating, he told Mashable, but events like a pandemic can accelerate trends that were already spreading – and that’s what Match has. seen in the past six months.

Two other related trends highlighted by Hosseini are that users talk about more serious issues sooner and, for obvious reasons, spend more time virtually dating before moving on to an in-person date. These changes in behavior lend themselves more to relationships than relationships, argued Hosseini.

Most recent of the match The survey, released last month, confirms Hosseini’s assessment. In a scientific study of more than 5,000 people, Match found that 58% of users of a single app turned to more intentional dating due to the pandemic. Sixty-three percent said they spend more time getting to know potential partners, and almost 70% said they were more honest in their interactions.

“Recent cataclysmic events have led singles to want more dating: a desire for relationship rather than casual encounters; more meaningful conversations, and more honesty and transparency on a date,” Dr. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and chief science adviser to Match, said in the Singles in America press release.

Hinge’s data echoes the idea that people are becoming more intentional about dating. Ury sees both handcuff season and the pandemic as motivations for accessing apps, but she also believes staying home has made users think about what they want from a partner and who they are. themselves. Ury’s hypothesis is reflected in the numbers: 45% of Hinge users said they developed new, healthy dating habits during the pandemic, such as being upfront about what they want.

At the same time, users are breaking bad habits like chasing someone who is not interested. One habit in particular that Hinge daters kick is ghost, which is often the main complaint from users. While dates have increased 17% this summer, ghosting has declined even more to 27%.

“For me, as a dating coach, I know that the foundation of a good relationship is strong communication, and it’s exciting to see people being forced to have these conversations early on,” Ury said, “because it is a testament to the fact that they can get an idea of [if] she is a person with whom i can have honest and open communication. ”

Image: Vicky Leta / Mashable

While it can be a bit awkward to have these types of frank discussions ahead of time – how many people do you see in person? Are you diligent in wearing the mask? – it can lead to better foundations.

“Before COVID-19, someone could have three first dates in one evening and decide from there who they wanted to make on a second date. Now we take a look at the community and personal risks for each departure date and time. house, ”said Sofiya Alexandra, co-founder and co-host of the podcast , which explores stories of love and sexuality around the world.

The date jump is no longer in fashion amid the coronavirus pandemic. Alexandra continued, “People won’t take this risk unless they have both mental and physical connections, and this is where we’re going to see an increase in pre-date online communication, unlike the previous one. ‘hey, we’re both attracted to each other, let’s have a drink and see if we get along.’ “

Courtney Kocak, the other co-founder and co-host of Private Parts Unknown, believes that being more aware of your actions now could help you break out of these bad dating habits. She said, “Yes, it’s a strange new world for dating right now – but navigating it with a renewed sense of purpose and intention just might lead you to the love of your life.”

WATCH: How to have a virtual date during the coronavirus pandemic

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What Happens in Pandemic Armband Season?

In terms of , the time when people cling to one person during the cold winter months and usually go their separate ways once the weather improves, Hosseini believes this year will be (like everything else) unprecedented. “I’m not sure it’s going to be some sort of handcuff season like a winter adventure,” he said. “I think people are probably going to come in with a little more intention of finding a mate.”

Ury agreed, saying Hinge predicted this handcuff season would be the app’s biggest – and it wouldn’t lead to spring breakups, either. “People have really spent the pandemic seriously wondering who they want to be with, stop playing games, stop chasing someone who doesn’t care about you,” she said. “So that seems like a really good sign.”

Not only are people looking for more connections online, they are also looking for meaningful connections. This makes sense given our psychology: human health and survival depend on a meaningful social bond, according to Nadkarni.

This need may also explain other trends Ury noticed, such as video dating. The majority of Hinge users said they will continue to use video dating no matter what happens with the pandemic; it makes dating possible no matter what is going on outside.

Another trend that may explain the increase in apps – and which is well explained by our need to connect – is that people who have resisted joining apps in the past are doing so for the first time. Ury and his team have constantly heard from users that they are using an app for the first time, or that their friends are, or that someone they’ve spoken to is a first-time user of the app. time.

“There is a new wave of daters.”

“There is a new wave of dating,” Ury said, “which is generally exciting because it injects new people into the community.”

Hosseini has been hesitant to make any predictions for the future as to whether these trends will continue, which is healthy given that 2020 has been extremely unpredictable. Ury, however, thinks that , how people are most likely to adopt new habits on the first of the year, month, etc., will become even more relevant in 2021. With the increase in COVID cases, dating apps may continue to be the safest way to meet new people for at least part of the next year.

“This [the fresh start effect] happens every year, “Ury said.” We think this will especially happen next year because people are so fed up with 2020. ”

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