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Mar 21, 2020

Crisis Management and Online Dating

How Tinder helped me through the Corona Crisis

Just ten days ago I was planning spring break figuring out skis and hotel rooms. And now, like the rest of America, I'm sequestered with my two kids, in a rental house outside of New York City. All in all I can't complain. It's just strange being away from home and not knowing exactly when we will be back.

Back in January, the stories coming out of China scared me. Having lived in Shanghai for seven years, through SARS, I knew that something ominous was on the horizon. And yet, besides buying 15 bottles of antibacterial soap, I did nothing. The stock market was booming and the mainstream media didn't really think much of it either.

But as pressure mounted I lived with an increasing sense of panic. I remember sitting at my kitchen table not knowing what to do. I felt like I was just sitting on the beach waiting for the tsunami. 

I confided my anxiety to a close friend, David. A logic driven person, always calm and collected, he helped me come up with a plan. He asked me key questions and we broke down what needed to be done.

I was worried I wouldn't be able to get out of the city, so I rented a car. I didn't know where I was going to stay, so I rented a house close to my kids' friends.  As the plan came together I was invigorated with a sense of purpose. I was moving forward and taking the actions I needed to protect my family.

Days later rumors of a citywide lockdown took hold and the rental market exploded. Had I waited even a few days, I wouldn't have been able to secure a place to stay.

His advice made all the difference.

David wasn't always my friend. I met him on Tinder a few years ago. We went on a couple of dates but it fizzled. Sometimes we would see each other, sometimes we wouldn't. But he always checked in. And gradually we became friends.

Fast forward to last summer. My mom was hospitalized after a car made an errant left, breaking both of her legs. My brother came down from Boston. She was recovering well and we were exhausted by the stress. We decided to go to a concert to blow off some steam.

The concert was just what we needed. It was crowded, back when that was okay. The music was incredible and I was transported. Meanwhile, my brother complained of nausea. And just when I had settled in, he began vomiting. Food poisoning, he was scared. We hightailed it to the ER at the very hospital where my mom was recovering. 

By 3 am I was depleted. My brother, sleeping on the gurney and my mother, in a room on the 7th floor. I texted David and he was there within 30 minutes. He was drove me to his place, made me tea and I collapsed in his bed. His friendship carried me through one of the hardest nights of my life.

And now, through this new crisis, he remains my confidant and greatest supporter. I don't know what I'd do without him.

Which brings me to my point: you never know where a new connection will take you.

Back when we had our first few dates there were a list of things I didn't like about him, my deal breakers so to speak. It would have been easy to dismiss the relationship. I could have ignored his texts as an attempt to get together. It would have been easy to ghost him.  Most would because he wasn't The One.

That's how most people date. It's a transaction, a vehicle to the coveted "relationship." Either their match is the one or they aren't. Either you're attracted or you're not. There's always another match and you don't want to waste your time.

But people aren't a waste of time. In fact, when you see dating in this pass/fail way, you waste an opportunity.

Tinder didn't give me the love of my life, but it gave me a lifelong friend.