Experts: People look for meaningful relationships during pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Diners, cafes and restaurants that once sat friends and couples now sit empty in Center City. The only sign of life is those stepping outside to pick up or deliver a meal.

This has been the norm this past several weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the dramatic change in lifestyle for the masses, many are finding ways online to find some sense of normalcy. Especially online.

So, ahead of the weekend, Action News asked: "What are your plans for Friday?"

"Get outside every day, and join groups that we can Zoom into," said one couple in Rittenhouse Square.

"I'll House Party my pals, and we'll all play guitar together," said another resident.

There's also an uptick in those searching for love during the pandemic.

Popular dating app Tinder said on March 29, there were more than 3 billion swipes on the platform. It was the most in the history of the company.

Tinder officials told Action News that daily conversations have been up an average of 20 percent around the world. In the United States, conversations have been up an average of 19 percent.

The company also says they've made their "Passport" option free to all users.

"I'm happy we've been able to make our 'Passport' feature, which allows you to connect with anyone, anywhere in the world, available for free to all members," said Elie Seidman, Tinder CEO. "We hope our members, many of whom are anxious and looking for more human connection, can use 'Passport' to transport themselves out of self-quarantine to anywhere in the world. We're inspired by how people are using Tinder to be there for each other, and we want to fan these flames of social solidarity" she added.

Kristi Price, a Philadelphia based dating coach with more than a decade of experience, said it's time to really connect.

"I think people are now realizing they do want a relationship," said Kristi Price.

Price said singles now at home are using this time to not just connect in the short-term but possibly find partners for life.

"You definitely have to think outside the box," she said.

Many of her clients are also getting creative to meet for social distancing dates.

"Car dates where they will pull up beside each other six feet apart and have a conversation, or maybe go to a park and walk six feet apart," Price explained.

Of course, experts only encourage these dates if you have an established rapport, and to adhere to all social distancing guidelines.
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