Date with Social Distancing using Online Apps in Singapore

By Marcus Neo | Dating Advice for Men

Jun 23

COVID 19 hits, Singapore went into lockdown… and you are single. Suddenly you find yourself at the mercy of online dating applications such as Tinder. I am currently residing in Singapore and due to the Covid 19 pandemic and the Singapore government policies, there is going to be huge difference in how dating and relationships dynamics are going forward for minimally the next 12 months.

The Singapore government announced shutdown loosening measures that’s still pretty strict in the past couple of days. In short, most social gatherings are not allowed and most retail malls aren’t going to allowed to fully operate at scale.

This means:

  • You’re most likely not be able to approach women on the streets minimally till July 2020
  • You can’t rely on social gathering to meet women minimally till July 2020
  • You can’t rely on clubs and bars to meet women (this may be all year)

Your choices are severely limited. I do have my opinions on the loosening measures, I do think they are too strict, however, that’s not for this article and/or blog.

How to Date with Social Distancing and Masks 

If you’re in Singapore, social distancing and masks wearing are mandated by the law. (I do think it’s a little fascist, but oh well, what can we do). Let’s assume social distancing and masks are here to stay, because they are. You’re also not able to meet in social groups of five. Hence your probability of meeting another woman (or man) through social settings goes way down.

You’re not able to approach women in the day because of the covid 19 paranoia. Secondly, everyone’s wearing a mask. The pubs and clubs are closed. Hence, meeting a partner through those avenues are not available.

You may purchase a dating agency package and they may be able to set you up for 1:1 dates at a cost to you. That may work out. However, I’m not sure how that works in the long run, because I never used a dating agency before.

That leaves us with online dating and the forefront choice.

Tinder and Online Dating Shenanigans

The measures are not going to get less restrictive any time soon in Singapore and we’re going to take some time to return back to a ‘new normal’. The only thing you can do, is to… adapt. I haven’t relied on online dating apps for years and I reluctantly downloaded Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel. It’s time to re learn these platforms and run some tests. I purchased Tinder gold and I will be testing some of the functions such as Tinder boost moving forward.

Last month, I was finally co-erced by the pandemic to downloading all dating applications and tried my best at putting up a good presentation of myself online.

  • Tinder

The consensus around industry leaders agree that you’ll mostly only be able to get results from paying for the premium services on dating applications.  Last month, I tried out Tinder gold and Tinder boost.

You can get matches and conversations, however, you’re up for a ton of cat-fishing. There are a bunch of PRC China girls profile that are looking to scam you and take your money. I mean, some men can really be stupid when they are desperate. Some of my friend’s friends commented that they have been scammed before. For this reason, I hate Tinder. There’s too many of these Fan BingBing looking fake profiles.

Purchasing Tinder gold allows you for one Tinder boost. Yes, my matches increased after using the boost in the evening at strategic timing at 6pm. I got some Singaporean matches and a lot of Chinese matches.


Note: these results isn’t statistically significant because I only tested using one boost. However, I am guessing that most (high quality) Singaporean women aren’t on Tinder to find dates. This isn’t surprising. It’s stance I reinstated for years.

  • Coffee Meets Bagel

I also synchronised my online dating profiles across different platforms from Coffee Meets Bagel, Tinder and OkCupid. This is to get a somewhat statistical significance on the impact of certain variables of the profile from photos to words on the profile

Results: I managed one strong lead that went cold after 3-4 days on Coffee Meets Bagel.

I didn’t pay for their paid subscription. I am guessing that you can get higher quality leads from CMB. However, that’s yet to be confirmed as I haven’t used the paid subscription from there.

Note: I also hold true to a high quality threshold when it comes to online dating. If anything, I do not wish to date down when we’re forced to transition in unprecedented times. Simply speaking, I do not wish date lower quality women as compared to when I didn’t need to use online dating as a channel. I might be proven wrong in time though.

  • Okay Cupid

Okay Cupid makes a strong case by updating its app and user interface. I remembered using this app in my early twenties due to influence from another friend who was somewhat 100% reliant on, on online dating apps. He had no friends and hated approaching women.

He ended up dating a cute local University undergraduate girl from Okaycupid and I was thoroughly surprised. I’ll be testing this app moving forward.

No surprises here, you need to pay to get matches.

  • Bumble and Paktor

I also downloaded Bumble and Paktor. Not surprisingly, they both also require paid subscriptions if you want to get anything out of it. Paktor also seems to be a lot more localised and require the opposite sex to put up skin in the game as well. This may very well be a quality filter. That means that people on it are going to be a lot more serious.

Finally, as of today, I don’t intend to splash a couple hundreds of dollars on online dating apps at a go in attempt to figure them out all at once. I’ll be testing out Okay Cupid, Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel in the coming months.

Can You Still Day Approach and Rely on Bars and Clubs?

Let’s take a worst case scenario and say… clubs only reopen in 6 months. You’re not going to be able to get leads from clubs in the next 6 months or the rest of the year.

The Singapore government also mentioned phase one of reopening may take 4 weeks. This means don’t expect to get results from day approaches till July. This is hugely dependent on locations such as retail malls. Also, if everyone’s wearing a mask, it’s going to be extremely difficult.

This is why I have adapted and went to study online dating apps. (Results from one week of testing so far: I’m popular with PRC Chinese women, no idea why.) I’m guess ing they are stuck our island with not much friends or social circles, unlike our Singaporean women peers.

I wasn’t a fan of online dating apps because if I believed that the average man like me are going to get below average results with the Singaporean women population. Hence, I avoided them for years like the plague and relied on in person approaches.

However, as COVID 19 is here to stay, we have no choice.

Social Gatherings and Demographics

Since no social gatherings are allowed nor recommended minimally till July 2020, you can forget about getting leads through your friends or by joining interest groups. This may very well  last all the way till ‘phase 3’ of re-opening. Hence, gyms and places with recreational activities are closed in Singapore till further notice.

This option is out.

Learning Social Skills during COVID 19 Times

Finally, let’s not degenerate our skills in a semi shutdown. There are still ways to work on your dating life (or other areas of your life for that matter) despite a shutdown.

Firstly, by learning how to text, you can learn empathy and conversational skills. You can learn how to tease and how to flirt. How to connect on a deeper level and come up with creative conversational starters. No excuse.

Secondly, can you set up a FaceTime or a video call to move forward the interaction:

Thirdly, even after the shutdown is over, you can’t hit the malls or Starbucks for a coffee date. However, you can meet her at a park. You still need to be able to know how to escalate and close in those situations. You require relevant dating skills.

Still crushing it in love during Covid 19

Final Words and Some Personal Updates

On the business end, I was considering hosting consulting and dating coaching sessions online. So far, most of my clients that contacted me before the shutdown were interested in offline infield coaching. However, since the new measures are announced and I don’t expect them to change any time soon the business is going to take another hit on the offline coaching side.

That may, or may not change. If the measures are extended, then I may really look at a long term marketing plan for an online coaching model.

On the other hand, I have been focused on generate organic traffic from Google during the shutdown and plan to digitalize the entire business in the mid to near future. This has been the focus for the past 5 months and will continue on for the rest of the year.

Yes, you CAN still get results with women during a shutdown, in COVID 19 times. You need to adapt, as I have and am going to. Lastly, don’t let your social skills degenerate in such times. If you’re not honing your skills, they are weakening with time. It’s the law of entropy.

Stay safe, and I hope we find a new normal soon.

You Still Need Social/ Dating Skills

Now, assuming you’re going to have an actual date as opposed to having a virtual texting/ messaging buddy. You’re still required to meet her in person and charm her.

Once circuit breaker measures are lifted and you are allowed to go on dates (in groups of less of 5: pun intended). If you had invested in yourself before the circuit breaker and are competent with in person dating skills such as starting a conversation and flirting, then it’s a matter of switching the channel of lead generation.

Personally, I am in the transition similarly. Online dating is not my forte. I am much stronger in in person interactions. However, one needs to adapt. If everyone’s going to be wearing masks and social distancing in the next 12 months, then you have no choice. Finding love and dates through online dating apps are the new normal.


About the Author

Enjoys writing about dating, relationship, business, and psychology. Introvert yet extrovert. Likes martial arts and music, but never got around to the latter.

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