‘How to find someone’ is, surely, a question as old as time. It’s provided cultural fodder and creative inspiration for many of the most famous books and films of all time. Pride and Prejudice centres its literary foundations on finding a match; Wuthering Heights is one of the greatest love stories ever told; even Love Actually places the concept of ‘how to find someone’ front and centre.
The thing is, of course, that at the end of most romantic stories, everyone’s all coupled up. But we live in real life; and we know that finding that ‘special someone’ isn’t necessarily as easy as paying a call on a wealthy neighbour or learning Portuguese, as the characters in Pride and Prejudice and Love Actually, respectively, would have us believe. Lockdown didn’t make it any easier, and many actively took time away from the perilous world of dating and romance while we were all sequestered in our homes.
But lockdown is lifting; and so the question of ‘how to find someone’ remains ever paramount — now with the added element of this strange new world we find ourselves in. The question really, then, is: how to find someone in a post-lockdown world?
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: it's best to take it slow
We’ve spoken before about how there’s never any need to rush into anything, dating wise; and we really mean it. We’re not the only ones who think so, either.
“Be mindful of not rushing, and [of] being aware of what it is you are actually looking for,” says Juliette Clancy, psychotherapist and relationship therapist. “So many of us have become rather reclusive, and so it is going to take a bit of time to get back out into the ‘real’ world.”
Psychosexual and relationship therapist Sarah Alpert agrees. “I think one of the aspects of this lockdown that has been positive is that we have had to take things more slowly when meeting new potential partners,” Alpert explains. “We’ve had the opportunity for self reflection and to really think about what we want from our relationships. My advice would be to take things slowly, and not to rush into a dating frenzy just because you can.”
That said, don't slow it down altogether...
“The first step is taking action of some sort,” says Clancy, definitively. “There’s no point talking about wanting to meet someone and not doing something about it.” We couldn’t agree more; inaction and passivity don’t generally lead to anything good, gents. Luckily, though, Clancy has some pointers on how best to take action when it comes to how to find someone in a post-lockdown world.
“Ask your friends to go through their address book. Look at clubs [you could] join. Go on dating apps. Visit somewhere on a regular basis whether that be a coffee bar or gym as you don’t know who you might meet there. Be aware of who you pass in the street or on the bus. Smile. Be approachable. Re enter the world and be willing to take risks by not writing someone off immediately if they don’t fulfill all your requirements.”
That’s a lot of tips: no excuse now. There’s no need to dive headfirst into dating every second of every day (remember our caution against rushing); but if you’re looking to meet someone, you can start taking action — even if that’s just a smile, or visiting a regular coffee shop. Opportunities are everywhere.
Dating apps really are a gift to the dating world
We’ve extolled the virtues of the humble (or not so humble, these days — they’re taking the world by storm) dating app before; but that’s for good reason. Online dating is the present and the future, and there’s no getting away from that.
“Online dating is undoubtedly a permanent feature of our dating landscape, and a good one,” says Alpert; and Clancy agrees.
“Becoming social again and being open to meeting someone has to be a big starting point,” Clancy explains, “whether it be a dating app or [simply] taking up a hobby where you might meet someone who has similar interests to you.”
So if you’re ready to settle down — or even just ready to meet someone you can have fun with — we’d recommend whipping out your over-exhausted iPhone, and downloading your dating app of choice. At the very least, you’ll get an idea of who’s out there; and who knows? You may even toast us (and the dating app in question) at your subsequent wedding.
And as well as the apps, try to flex those social muscles as much as possible
Sarah Calvert is a psychosexual and relationship psychotherapist — and, while she thinks dating apps are a wonderful thing, she advises exercising the social muscles as well as those opposable thumbs.
“Online relationships have been so crucial to the majority of us throughout the pandemic, [as] we are essentially social beings,” Calvert explains. “Dating apps are a great way to connect with new people; however there’s a danger of idealising a new connection and developing a relationship, [and] investing time and energy, with someone who is relatively unknown to you.”
Calvert feels it’s unsurprising that romance has moved into the digital sphere, given the year we’ve all lived through; “COVID-19 has accelerated our digital lifestyle and conducting all our relationships online has, for many, become second nature,” she says. “It’s understandable that our social muscles may feel out of condition, and it may be tempting to stick with the comfortability of an online relationship or rush out and meet lots of different people.”
But ultimately, if you’re looking to meet someone in the post-lockdown world, it’s best to combine the apps with social interaction, wherever you feel comfortable with it. “I’d encourage people to start gradually taking steps to rebuild and flex their social muscles. Meet up face-to-face in a safe place (remember to think of personal safety as well as Covid safety!) as soon as you feel comfortable doing so,” Calvert concludes.
Looking for more insight into the world of romance? We asked a top relationship and sex therapist for her top sex tips…
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