Dating During the Pandemic

This is Abigail and I at the prom that her family threw for us and her friends

Candice Frank

This is Abigail and I at the prom that her family threw for us and her friends

Drew Hardister and Abigail Frank

The pandemic and ensuing quarantine has changed how we do a lot of things, but not all these changes have necessarily been a bad thing. Here we share our story of dating during the pandemic.

Abigail: Over a year ago, I would’ve thought meeting someone like this would’ve been weird or crazy. I had never met Drew, I don’t even think I had seen him around campus before. But on the first day of school, this little box with his face popped up on my screen. And then the next day he popped up on my screen again, to my delight. We ended up having the two classes together, APES and Journalism. I looked at that little box periodically every day for almost a month.

One day we had this assignment in Journalism where we had to interview each other. We had one partner and we talked for about twenty minutes. Mrs.Castro, our teacher, assigned us to breakout rooms at random. The whole time she was setting it up, I kept saying to myself, please get paired with him, it’d be cool to get to talk to him. And with my luck, we did get paired together. We spent the whole time interviewing each other. I vividly remember talking about books, which was refreshing. No guy I’ve ever been friends with has wanted to talk about books before.

A week or two later, I don’t remember exactly, we were in Journalism. Drew privately chatted me on Zoom, during class, and asked how the APES test went the previous day. From that moment on, we have not stopped talking. The first few months after that, we would Zoom after school for hours on end. It was definitely different. Zoom was new to me, for the most part, and talking to someone like that was new too.

This is Abigail and I in a Zoom meeting after school. (Abigail Frank)

We talked about everything and anything. I also didn’t know how tall he was until I saw him in person for the first time, which was weird. He told me how tall he was, but sometimes it’s hard to process it and actually see it. So for about a month, all I saw was his chest and up. Talking on Zoom and then transferring that to in-person, took a buffering period. We saw each other in person for the first time when the school held something for students to get ID pictures. We saw each other, said hi very awkwardly, and I think that was the last time we talked during that day. And then we laughed about it a little later. I still laugh about it by myself sometimes.

The first time I officially met him in person, was around mid-November. I went to his house. We wore masks the entire time and stayed six feet apart. Seeing him in person like that was so different. I also couldn’t see his entire face, which was a little weird. But the rest of his face wasn’t as pixelly as it had been. That part was nice. We saw each other a few more times before the end of the year. We continued to wear masks and stay six feet apart. We would sneak a goodbye hug after the first couple of meetings.

This is later in the night after Abigail and I met for the first time. (Abigail Frank)

I honestly think that none of this would have ever happened if we hadn’t been on Zoom. I’m not a very outgoing person, so I would have never tried to talk to Drew. My plan for senior year was to keep to myself and keep my small friend group close. I wasn’t trying to make any friends, I didn’t want to either quite frankly. I’m kind of thankful we had school on Zoom. The relationship has added to my life in so many different ways and I’m a better person because of it. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

Drew: I remember the first day I saw Abigail, the first day of school I was looking for people I knew, and I knew quite a lot of them. But there was this girl that I didn’t know that actually had her camera on, and I remember thinking “She looks so pretty,” and I just wanted to have a conversation with her. And to my astonishment we had another class together the next day, so that, I thought, was just some really good luck. So I had a plan to start a conversation with her, but you know being over Zoom that didn’t really work out.

After about a month of seeing her every day I came to my Journalism class and the teacher said that we were going to have to do interviews of our classmates, and I was hoping against hope that I would get to interview her, because up to that point I hadn’t had any interaction with her, and I wanted to learn a thing about her. Wherever it got me I was going to learn all I could about this girl in the 10 minutes we had for the interview.

This is Abigail and I after a meeting at her house. (Abigail Frank)

I learned a lot about her in those twenty minutes that we talked, and there wasn’t even an awkward silence during that whole conversation. I learned that she liked to read as I did, so right there was something that we had in common. The next time I talked to her (worked up the courage to) I asked her about the APES test to start the conversation, and from there we haven’t stopped talking.

We used to Zoom every day for hours and hours, and I really got to know a lot about her. I don’t think I would have been able to learn these things had we been in person, I learned that she doesn’t like cheese, but she really likes macaroni and cheese, and pizza. I’m honestly grateful for meeting Abigail, there is no other person that I’d rather spend my time with, and I feel like I really know her, a lot better than I know most people.

A few other students weighed in on their perspectives of dating during this “new normal.”

Thomas says he met his girlfriend during the pandemic as well, but he already knew her, so he had an easier time, since they just had to get reacquainted. He says “I already knew her and I used to be really good friends with her, so I didn’t have to worry about her not liking me even if we didn’t end up dating each other.

James says, “I never thought that I would meet someone that I felt so strongly for during these crazy times, I wanted to meet her in person so bad, I couldn’t wait for the day I was finally able to.”

Harold says  “I  think it’s harder to date during the pandemic, but not because it’s harder to get to know people but, because it takes a lot longer to get to know the real person.” He says it’s not harder to get to know people because people already use dating apps, and this is just an in person block not an online one.