The pandemic taught the single Indians how to do virtual dating right. It is the new norm but also a new reality. But as per a new survey conducted by Bumble, the women-first social networking app, around 83 percent of single Indians want to meet their connections in person. However, the study also states that around 40 percent of single Indians will still go for virtual dating in 2021. Also Read - Meet Kendall Jenner's Boyfriend Devin Booker, The Man Everyone is Talking About!

The survey has revealed how single Indians are planning on dating in 2021 now that India has unlocked and lifted restrictions across states. Also Read - Bumble, The Online Dating App That Lets Women Make The First Move!

Indians now going on pre-dates more than ever Also Read - Who is Whitney Wolfe Herd? World's Youngest Woman Billionaire at 31

Single Indians now go on ‘pre-dates’ where they explore virtual dating for the first time and use video dates to get to know one another before meeting in-person. Bumble’s internal research found out that 78 percent of single Indians feel the need to build trust before meeting in-person, which has given rise to ‘slow dating’ which means people are taking more time to get to know each other better.

Ideal first IRL (in-real-life) dates in 2021

For those who are meeting in person, the pandemic has changed the way they approach dating with a majority (47 percent) preferring more low-key first IRL dates as staying indoors (at their home, their partner’s, or a friend’s place) is the top choice for first in-person dates. Once comfortable to step out, going on a long drive remains a favourite among single Indians (43 percent) along with meeting at a local cafe/tea shop. Dinner dates at a restaurant (41 percent) are the next favourite for a great first IRL date choice.

Dating choices and preferences

When it comes to making a connection online, education and career choices top the list of preferences that matter most to single Indians, followed by dating intentions. However, the top most deciding factor when meeting someone in-person is compatibility (23 per cent).

Making boundaries and comfort levels clear

To help navigate new rules of dating in 2021, Bumble’s new badges give the Bumble community the opportunity to communicate what kind of dates people are looking for: virtual, socially-distanced, or socially-distanced with masks. This helps with the potentially awkward conversation by allowing the community to search for people who are dating in the same way as them. Globally, more than 1 million people have used Bumble’s new feature on their profile. People who share what kind of dates they are comfortable with through the new dating badges see a 43 per cent increase in the average number of monthly matches than those who don’t.

According to Samarpita Samaddar, Bumble India PR Director, single Indians are now feeling a strong desire to build trust online before meeting in real life with virtual dating becoming the new norm in India. “In fact, over 540 million messages have been sent on Bumble in India between January and November 2020. We saw a 38 percent rise in the use of Video Chats and Voice Calls with people in India spending roughly 20 minutes on average on video and voice calls.

“As India continues to unlock, we’re seeing an emerging trend of people getting excited about the prospect of dating in real life again in 2021. At the same time, there’s still nervousness about what the future holds. We will continue to support our Bumble community in India to write their own stories and take charge of their dating journeys.”

(With inputs from IANS)