How to Meet New People during the Coronavirus Outbreak

coronavirus outbreak

Like most people, you’re probably sticking to social distancing because of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. While stuck at home, it’s understandable that you feel lonely and want to have friends. Also, you might be single and ready to mingle – if only you could go somewhere. Luckily, meeting new people is easier than you think.

Find people

Connect with potential partners through dating apps.

Dating apps were a common way to meet potential partners even before the coronavirus outbreak, so you may already have a profile. If not, then download one or more dating apps and fill out your profile. Then scroll through the profiles to find people to catch your eye. You can use apps like OkCupid, Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, or Hinge.

Use a friend finder app.

These days apps aren’t just for online dating. Luckily, you can join an app designed solely for finding friends. Download one or more such apps and create a profile for yourself. Scroll through profiles to find people you have things in common with. Try an app like Bumble BFF, Friender, or Hey! Vina (only for women). You could also try Meetup, which has some virtual meetings you can join.

Befriend or follow people on social media.

With much of the social sphere going digital these days, social media can be a great way to connect with others while stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Add people from the “People You May Know” list on Facebook, or make friends with people who comment on mutual friends’ posts. Search Instagram for hashtags you like and follow people who seem interesting. You can also search for people to follow on Snapchat, Telegram, or even TikTok. If someone accepts your friend request or also subscribes to you, they might be open to friendship.

EXPERT COUNCIL Life and Career Coach Annie Lin is the founder of New York Life Coaching, a life and career coaching service in New York City. Annie has over 10,000 hours of client support experience and her work has been featured in Elle Magazine, NBC News, New York Magazine and BBC World News. She offers her services in individual and group settings with a focus on career, relationship, emotional well-being and personal growth. She holds a Master’s degree from Oxford Brooks University. Annie Lin, MBA Life and Career Coach Our Expert Agree: Social distancing isn’t the same as social isolation — finding ways to connect with others helps us support each other and feel less alone. Get in touch with your family and friends via SMS, calls and video calls, for example. You can even organize coffee parties, brunches or cocktail evenings so that you can meet regularly in the virtual room.

Build a connection

To a possible friend about the app used.

Send a Message When you find someone you’d like to befriend or date, send them a short, friendly message to say hello. Mention something you saw on their profile and ask them a question to start the conversation. If you’re texting him on social media, tell him why you’re texting him so he can relax. For example, on a dating app, you might write, “Hi, my name is Zara. I love Wes Anderson’s movies too. What’s your favorite?” In a friendship app, you could say, “Hi, I’m Alex. I see we have interests in common. I just got the new Animal Crossing. How about you?” If you’re messaging someone on social media, say, “Hey! I’m a friend of Andy’s too and I’ve seen you comment on his posts a lot. I’m trying to make new friends to chat with now that we’re all social distancing have to exercise. Are you interested in that?”

Chat with your new contacts daily to slowly build a connection.

You probably have more time now, so use it to meet people. Send messages to your new friends or potential partners throughout the day to build a relationship. Ask them questions, tell them things about you, and send them funny memes. If you’re trying to date someone, get in the habit of texting them “good morning” and “good night.” Also, tell him what you’re doing at different times of the day so he can get a sense of who you are. When you make friends, send the person funny stories, ask them questions, or trade silly memes. You could also talk about common interests.

Play a round of 20 questions to really get to know each other.

One of the benefits of meeting online is that you can have deeper conversations with each other, which helps you learn more about each other. Whether you’re dating or making friends, ask your new connection if they’re interested in playing a 20-question game. If so, then take turns asking and answering questions via SMS or chat. You could ask questions like: “What is your dream job?”, “What would you do on your dream vacation?”, “What job would you want if you were on a mission to Mars?”, “What superpowers would you like to have and why ?”.

Make a video chat to see each other face to face.

When you’re both ready, set up a video chat so you can meet up without being in the same room. Use an app like FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger, or Zoom to video chat. Treat this like a real date or meeting by dressing like you are going out. Treat your video call like a face-to-face meeting to make it feel normal. If you would normally go out for a drink, suggest that you have a glass of beer or wine. If you like going out for coffee, make yourself a cup of coffee or tea.

Send each other videos and pictures from your life so that you can get closer.

Typically, you would introduce your pet to a new friend or partner, show them your area, or take them to your favorite restaurants and bars. These things, however, will have to wait until the coronavirus threat is over. Instead, take photos or videos of your everyday life and send them to your new contact. For example, you could take a picture of your coffee and your open magazine to show him your morning ritual. You could also make a video of yourself walking around your area.

Enjoy time together

Watch the same movie or TV show so you can talk about it.

Talk to your new friend or potential partner about the shows you enjoy. Pick something you both like and watch at the same time. Chat about it while watching via SMS or video chat. If you’re watching something long, texting is probably better. You could send messages like, “Oh my god, can you believe that just happened!?” or “I saw that coming haha”.

Do a scavenger hunt together (but separately).

Make a scavenger hunt list together, swap lists, or find one online. Then look for the items on the list and send each other snaps of them as proof that you’ve found the item. Enter a competition or try to work through the list together. For example, your list might include things like these that you might find while walking around your house and neighborhood: A bicycle, a flower, a cat, a piece of fruit, a board game, a band t-shirt, pajamas and Christmas decorations.

Connect via video chat for a date or a friendly meetup.

Video chat isn’t just for talking! Plan activities for your video calls so you can have fun together. Take turns coming up with ideas of what you want to do. Here are some ideas: Cook or eat together. Have a cup of coffee and tea together and chat. Have a glass of wine or beer together. Play a board or online game together. Take a virtual tour of a museum, such as the Van Gogh Museum or La Casa Azul.

Set up a group meeting on Zoom, Discord, or Slack for friends.

You don’t have to limit yourself to one-to-one meetings because it’s possible to do a group video chat. Invite both your friends and people you’ve recently met to a group meeting through a free provider. Set up a meeting, then send a link to everyone so they can join. Here are some ideas for things you could do: Have a drink together. Play an RPG, board game, or online game. Do arts and crafts together. Read a play. Start an online club for something like books, wine tasting, sharing recipes, or knitting.

Meet a date outside and keep a distance of at least two meters.

After chatting with someone for a while, you might be ready to meet up with them. Schedule a meeting somewhere safe outside, like a park. Go for a walk together, have a picnic, or just sit down and talk together. For example, you could take something with you for a picnic. Sit on separate blankets so you can talk and eat together safely. Use hand sanitizer before eating. To be safe, stay away from benches, picnic tables, and things in a playground that could harbor germs.

Warning: While it is safe to go outside, you must still keep a distance of at least 2m from anyone who does not live in your household. Avoid physical contact during outdoor meetings to be on the safe side.

Consider meeting at home once you know a potential partner well.

In general, it is best to postpone meetings at home until the coronavirus threat has passed. However, it’s possible that the pandemic could last 18 months or more, so you may decide to invite the person you’re dating to dinner or a fun activity. When you’re both ready, enjoy dinner, a movie, or game night together at someone’s house. It’s best to wait until you’re sure you’re interested in building a relationship with a person before inviting them.

Tip: Be careful when inviting someone over or visiting someone’s home. While the coronavirus is an issue, you’d rather keep home visits infrequently, if at all. Also, make sure the other person takes COVID-19 seriously and is taking precautions, such as washing their hands.


If you’re currently dating, treat your relationships like long-distance relationships until you feel confident enough to meet the people in real life. Set up a link to a virtual meeting on a site like Zoom, Discord, or Slack. Then post the link on your social media accounts to see who’s coming. You might make some new friends! To stop the spread of the virus, stay at home as much as possible and keep your distance from other people. Until the outbreak is over, it’s best to avoid meeting in person, even with friends.




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