Love Locked-down: How to play the long game of online dating

New Zealand is in lockdown, and the days of quick hookups and having genuine excuses for bailing on a date are out the window. Here, Lucille McCart, APAC Communications Director for Bumble gives Nak-Ed the insider view of playing the long game of online dating. And more importantly how to politely decline someone when they know you have no plans or places to be.

So, we’re backback in lockdown and physical connections have been put on hold - How does the use of Bumble change when Kiwis are thrown back into lockdown?

While lockdown and social distancing restrictions mean that we can’t connect IRL, it doesn’t mean that the desire to connect, engage socially and meet new people goes away.

With lockdowns come increases in virtual dating and using the Voice Call and Video Chat functions in Bumble. This time around, we also saw a 45% increase in people asking potential matches about Covid symptoms or if they have been vaccinated in Australia. I imagine that similar conversations are happening in New Zealand as health and safety becomes more top of mind for people.

Quick meets areare now a thing of the past, what are your top tips for playing the long game on Bumble?

It’s all about slow dating right now! That means taking the time to get to know someone better before you consider meeting up in person. We see people messaging in-app longer and having deeper, more meaningful connections before they meet in person.

This is actually great as it means that you build strong foundations for a relationship. The thing to remember is to try and keep it interesting, as there isn’t a whole lot to talk about. Try some creative virtual dating ideas like cooking your favourite meal at the same time or doing a virtual wine tasting or cocktail making sessions – activities like this are great bonding experiences.

How do youyou politely ghost someone on Bumble when they know you have no plans or places to be?

This is a tricky one for sure. Just remember that a friendly message is always better than silent treatment. It’s kinder and more respectful to let someone know you aren’t feeling the connection, as ghosting can really affect the other person.

Even though it can be awkward and anxiety-inducing, being upfront about how you feel is less offensive to the other person than cutting off communication with no explanation. Rejection can be kind and compassionate in its delivery – just think about how you would like to be treated if the situation was reversed. An example of a good message:

Hey___, I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you but I’m not feeling a spark. I don’t want to waste your time so thought I’d be honest with you. I wish you all the best in the future.

Lockdown can bebe incredibly repetitive, what are your top tips for keeping the conversation flowing when we’re not doing anything worth talking about?

We have a few features in Bumble built to combat this exact problem. The first is Questions Game, where you can use our preloaded questions and you both must answer for the responses to be revealed.

We’ve also just launched a feature called Night In in New Zealand, which is a virtual trivia game you can play with your matches in app – nothing like some light competition to keep things exciting!

Cold opens areare tough when you’re lacking creativity in Lockdown - What are your best suggestions for opening lines or topics?

Questions are for sure one of the best ways to kick start a conversation – it shows that you have taken an interest in the person, and in most cases will generate a good back and forth as your match will usually want to fire the question back at you.

The first couple of times you do make the first move, you might freak out and spend hours analysing what to say and worrying you’ll come off too strong or not be funny. But you have to just give it a go! The more you do it, the less pressure you put on yourself as you’ll find your groove. I think it is always helpful to remember that every guy that is on Bumble signed up knowing that women have to make the first move – so why be shy? 

Being funny is always great, but if that doesn’t come naturally to you or you feel really stuck, anything that is personal to your match works well. For example, if they have said in their bio that they are a huge fan of a TV show that you also love, talk about that. If they have pictures of them on a hike and you love hiking, talk about that. Find where you think you might have common ground and start there (guys, this is a hint to make sure that you have an amazing profile!).

If all else fails, my go-to opening line is – what’s your favourite Arnott’s biscuit? High response rate, many controversial answers, and always gets a good chat going!