The 26-year-old director of Prospect Heights can’t (fully) blame the long time frame for the bad pickup lines.
“I was stuck in so many phases of conversation [online] with women during confinement. None of this turned into a real date and it didn’t elicit the greatest feelings, ”said Buttelman.
He experiences FODA – a fear of dating during a pandemic.
According to a recent study by the dating site Hinge, more than half of app users have been struck by the new phobia.
“This is the biggest (new) trend we’ve seen among dating,” the May report read, noting that 44% of relationship seekers are stricken with FODA.
A recent Match poll also found that 38% of singles are “nervous about their social skills when it comes to dating in real life.”
“The wheels are rusty,” said Rachel DeAlto, chief dating expert for Match.
“Before COVID-19, people were in a dating streak. It was just natural, ”she added. “And then people came out of the practice. “
Thinking too much about the smallest detail, like postponing a date, is something one in three Hinge users admitted to doing, according to the report.
“Anytime you don’t feel like you’re practicing something, there’s anxiety around it,” DeAlto said. “I think there are a lot of people who express this concern of” I forget how to do this. “”
Daniella Orellana, a teacher from Astoria, confessed that she left handsome men who swept her Hinge profile into limbo for fear of returning to the game.
“Would I like [them] turn off my phone? Said the 30-year-old, who has not been out since the start of the pandemic. “That’s what I keep asking myself. I have dates stuck at 1000 percent because of this uncertainty.
Orellana even worries about not knowing when she is being picked up.
“Friends said to me, ‘You know he’s flirting with you, don’t you?’ and I had no idea, ”said the 30-year-old. “It was never a problem before the pandemic for me. “
For Victoria Pla, the new problem is approaching people – when she was bold enough to talk to strangers at her Trader Joe’s on the Upper West Side.
The 24-year-old copywriter had a one-off date last summer, but said the need to stay socially distanced was a buzzkill.
“It’s hard to do these one-on-one interactions,” said Pla, who took a nine-month hiatus before getting the shot in April. “You lose a bit of wit just being on a bland date. ”
Pla also admitted that the risk of COVID himself had played into his FODA. Since she received the jab, she will only go out with vaccinated guys.
” This [is] nerve-racking, ”she said. “I don’t want to date someone I could get really sick with, or who could be a spreader. ”
No wonder some single New Yorkers decided it was easier to stay home.
“There’s definitely a safety in not having to expose yourself,” DeAlto said.
But there is hope.
She suggests “baby steps” of short-lived activities for first dates – organizing a walk in the park instead of diving headfirst into a multi-hour dinner.
“It’s going to be very natural again,” DeAlto said. “Once you get back, real quickly, any feeling of ‘This is how we connect, this is how we build relationships’ will come back. ”
Buttelman finally broke his one-year dry spell last week by meeting a woman for a drink at a bar near Prospect Park. He was nervous beforehand because she had already canceled.
“She’s not going to show up. “I kept telling myself as I was heading for the bar,” he said.
“It was all in my head. We had a wonderful time together and plan to see each other again… at least I think, ”said Buttelman. “I will not be so anxious at the meeting n ° 2.”