Dating through mobile apps in times of pandemic

46 per cent of single Indians surveyed say they do not date someone whose political views are not aligned

HYDERABAD: The Valentines’ week has begun and Bumble, a women-first dating app, has shared a few major dating deal breakers in 2022.

A total of 66 per cent of single Indians surveyed said having unclear dating intentions can be a deal-breaker. 46 per cent of single Indians surveyed say they do not date someone whose political views are not aligned.

Deccan Chronicle spoke to a few people who use dating apps, the majority of whom use dating apps either for hookups, one-night stands or just to make a friend they can talk to especially due to the pandemic. Not only men, but women too look for casual hookups.

"It is better to know the intention of a person before things start getting serious. Someone may be looking for something casual but the other person may not. It is better to avoid any misunderstandings on the first talk itself," said Viranjani Ghosh, 26, who has been using a dating app for four years. She added dating apps are great for hook-ups but not for anything serious.

However, Pooja Shamra, 28, added that she installed a dating app after a heartbreak and wanted to meet new people. Instead, she ended up finding love and dated him for three years and later married the same person. "Most of the people I found on dating apps are just for casual meetups and hook-ups, however, I also met my partner on an app.”

A significant red flag seems to be the difference in political leanings. "People get offended easily when political views do not match and they don’t tolerate different political opinions," said Madhumita Vyas, 27.

Bumble also mentioned that almost one in three (27 per cent) Indians surveyed prefer not to go on a date without discussing Covid safety precautions first, and as many as 42 per cent of people claim they do not go on a date or have a physical relationship with someone who has not received Covid-19 vaccine. "If things are going good after hours of chatting and we finally decide to meet in person, I always make sure to ask the person if she is vaccinated, however, people take offense," said Naveen Shetty, 27.

Youngsters, whom this correspondent spoke to, claim that there are many such apps just for one-night stands, same-gender sex and purely for sex chats. Most of the people started using it more since the first lockdown. "I downloaded several dating apps during lockdowns as I used to feel lonely and it was difficult to make new friends. Dating apps are good to make new friends and there are also friends with benefits," Sonali Sheikh, 30, said.

One major issue that people claim they face is the proliferating fake profiles. Sometimes they are sex workers who use fake identity for their business.

To help normalise and better facilitate conversations about dating during the pandemic, Bumble added a Covid Preferences Centre that can be accessed by tapping the profile icon within the Bumble app. After matching with someone, both individuals will be able to see what the other person’s dating preferences are - virtual-only or meeting outdoors and in uncrowded places only - and what precautions they want to take.

“To forge a meaningful connection, it’s important to be authentic about who you are and what matters to you. The last two years of lockdown restrictions and social distancing norms had a seismic impact on our dating priorities and choices when it comes to who, when and how we want to date. 2022 looks to be the year when people want to date the way that works best for them without compromises,” opined Samarpita Samaddar, India communications director, Bumble.

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