Experts say winter is the best time for online dating, so start swiping
At 22 years old, most of my friends are single. We’re in that fresh-out-of-college-and-craving-new-experiences phase, and whether that means a new, serious relationship, or lots of new experiences with lots of new people, 99% of my friends are actively seeking dates. And even though I hear my friends say all the time, “I just want to meet someone in person.” I can’t help but wonder: Where do we find them?
Ideally, us 20-somethings want to meet our next love interest in person. But as we’re approaching the year 2020, is that too much to ask?
I, too, am guilty of this seemingly reasonable request of meeting a date “in the wild,” so to speak. Waiting for the train on the subway platform, standing in line to order coffee, or pushing my cart through the Trader Joe’s aisles are all scenarios where I imagine Mr. Right might along. We lock eyes, he says hello, and the rest is history—or for a few months’ worth of history, at least.
But the longer I’m single, the less possible these encounters seem. In order to find Mr. or Ms. Right, you have to be looking, and where is everyone looking during said “in the wild” scenarios? Down at their phones. Yes, maybe we’re looking up in the grocery-aisle encounter, but nine times out of ten, the hottie who is sifting through frozen bags of dumplings has earbuds in, and who wants to be the creep that shouts “Hi!” to a stranger who has intentionally shut out all outside disturbances? Not me.
So, since 20-somethings and older millennials are generally closed-off in public settings that don’t involve alcohol, where must we turn to find love connections? Online.
If you’re an online dating virgin, don’t fret. I lost my online dating virginity just a few months ago, and was initially terrified of popping my cherry. But after the first time, it’s not so nerve-wracking anymore. Sure, some butterflies will be swirling as you’re choosing your outfit and hoping your date looks the same in person as they do in their photos. But once you’ve swallowed your fear and gone on one online date, it gets easier. Plus, 40 million Americans are participating in online dating—that’s 40% of the country, from baby boomers to Gen Z. That many people are bound to be onto something, right?
The good news? According to dating experts, wintertime is the best time for online dating, so there’s never been a better time to take the plunge than now.
According to a survey conducted by dating.com in 2018, the site noticed that its online dating platform activity increased by 30% during the months of November through February. More traffic on dating platforms means more potential partners, which—you guessed it—means more engagement by users. Translation: More people will actually message you during the wintertime when they’re not otherwise concerned with which rooftop patio to hit up next. So, why exactly do the colder months offer increased online dating opportunities (besides the fact that people are generally more bored)?
Seasonal depression affects millions of people every year, but it actually affects the online dating world more positively. 75% of the 2000 users who participated in dating.com‘s survey—who happen to be between 21 and 40 years old—noted that they experience feelings of isolation and loneliness during the winter months, and of that 75%, a whopping 69% said that they felt less alone after matching with a potential date online. Basically, potential suitors are sitting at home on cold winter nights, bored and lonely, and eager to connect with someone who makes them feel special.
You’ve heard the phrase: “Cuffing season” is in full swing, and singles are logging online to find someone to latch onto.
Along with the fact that singles are lonelier during winter, they’re also not leaving the warmth of their homes as much. So, even if the unlikely event of an attractive stranger looks up from their Instagram feed to chat in a Starbucks line were to occur, it’s even less likely to happen in the wintertime.
As you probably deduced from my grocery-store-soulmate scenario, I’m an old-school hopeless romantic at heart. But even I realize that online dating is the best way to increase my chances of finding love nowadays—especially in the winter. I’ve decided to ditch my AirPods when I head to Trader Joe’s and try to look approachable instead, because you never know who might be just around the corner in the meat aisle. But when I get home, I’ll be scrolling through my dating apps.