It’s been a rough few weeks. Every day has felt like a chaotic stream of new information about COVID-19 or, as it is commonly known, coronavirus. In these times of uncertainty, our habits have changed to suit our environments. For many of us, that means spending more time practicing social distancing by staying home and minimizing interactions with our fellow humans. The stir-craziness and desire for connection is real.

It’s natural to wonder about how things are playing out for fellow Tinder members, whether they’ve had to leave college early, lost their job, or are working from the privacy of their couch. As they say, ask and you shall receive, so I spoke with eight Tinder members to see how COVID-19 is affecting their habits. 

A change in senior-year plans

“I’m feeling fine health-wise, but mentally it’s been a roller coaster of a week or two with school closing as a senior in college and having to say goodbye to friends so suddenly. It has been so hard amidst the anxiety of the virus itself. 

[So far as dating], I think I might postpone an actual meet-up until this settles down as I am immunocompromised, so I feel like we’d need to get creative if I was really interested in meeting ‘in person.’ I would consider for the time being just doing phone calls or FaceTimes until it was safe to meet in person. While I’m not currently meeting up with anyone, I do have more time to spend on Tinder with everything being closed. Many matches joke about it wishing we had matched at an easier time, but it’s at least a conversation starter.”  —Hannah, 21, Buffalo, New York

A new way to Netflix and chill

“For fun, I’ve been opening with ‘So we can watch a movie via FaceTime’ or some corny line like that. It’s surprisingly effective. At the end of the day it’s still a date to me. And even though I was at one time in a long-distance relationship that didn’t work, [it made me] realize there are ways to connect with a significant other virtually when we can’t meet up physically.” —Aurelio, 22, Tallahassee, Florida

Finding hope in future connections

“I am feeling anxious but I am well physically. I lost my source of income due to the pandemic, which is putting unnecessary stress on me and there’s not much I can do to go out and fix it.

I am messaging my matches on Tinder more than I would be if I wasn’t in self-quarantine. I actually clicked with someone, and we are talking about maybe setting up a Skype date. The girl who I am talking to and I are both in self-quarantine either because we live with immunocompromised elderly folks or have underlying medical conditions ourselves. She and I are saying that maybe in a few weeks we can meet up at her house since we will have isolated ourselves from the public for so long. It’s a small town, and we have mutual friends so it should be a relatively safe encounter; we’re definitely not going to swap spit right off the bat, though, given the circumstances.”  —S, 21, Prescott, Arizona

Not looking for a penpal.

The perfect match will have to wait

I’m frustrated. I just moved to London for the first time, so I was expecting to go out, see the city, and meet new people. There are a couple of people [from Tinder] I’d intended to meet once I moved, and those plans have obviously been delayed. Given that, I’m decreasing my use of Tinder. I don’t want to match with somebody perfect, only to lose the momentum when we have to wait weeks, if not months, to go for a drink.” —Catherine, 22, London, England

More time, less pressure

“I’m on Tinder more since I am home more often. It feels a lot more chill and low pressure since there is little to no expectation to meet. I am definitely not asking to go out on dates at this point, though I might throw caution to the wind for the right person.” —Caleb, 23, New Haven, Connecticut

Speeding things up 

“COVID-19 has increased [my Tinder use]. I’m not going out, but I check my app more often, more people respond faster, and it’s overall sped up. Now that everyone is basically on, I feel I need to pay more attention to my Likes and Nopes. [My matches feel] more romantic. People call me ‘love,’ ‘sweetheart,’ and ‘sexy’ way more often now. ” —Izzie, 22, Richmond, Indiana

Courtship in the 21st century

“I think COVID-19 has increased my [Tinder use] (lots of free time) but decreased my follow through and the amount of effort I put into those initial chats. Lots of people have said something along the lines of, ‘I’m not meeting up in person until the pandemic is over.’ I’ve gotten (and made) a few jokes about courtship — returning to a time of talking and talking and talking, going through a whole set of ritual norms of social interaction leading up to a proper date. It’s been hilarious, challenging, and sad all at once. But I’ve had some amazing conversations with people (I think) due to the implied delay in meeting up due to quarantine.” —Ben, 22, Washington, D.C

Drilling down on your wants and needs

“I’m feeling anxious but [am] trying my best to keep it together. COVID-19 has made me reconsider what I want in a partner, whether that’s just for this time period or for the rest of my life. At this time I’m not even considering first dates, but I’d probably be less weirded out if someone suggested video calls on Snapchat or other platforms. People are more willing to just talk rather than immediately trying to meet. It’s increased my willingness to [Like] anyone, because it feels like more people (including me) need comfort in this time of social distancing. Online communities in general are probably growing stronger during all this.” —Livy, 22, Muncie, Indiana