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Sex with Dr. Jess


July 13, 2021

Post-Pandemic Dating Etiquette

This morning, Jess joined Carolyn and Jeff on Global TV’s The Morning Show to shares tips on post-pandemic relationship etiquette – from first dates to first meetings with co-workers.

Check out her notes and the video interview below.

How can you determine what’s appropriate in terms of physical contact as more places (like offices) open back up?

Many co-workers will likely be excited to get back together, but our comfort level with hugs, handshakes and proximity are going to vary. Institutions can help by making the rules explicitly clear

Individuals can simply ask with multiple choice questions: Are we waving, shaking or hugging? Rather than asking, “can I hug you?”, which some people won’t be comfortable declining, offer options — and always one that allows for distancing (e.g. waving).

These are norms that ought of have preceded COVID, but when you’re a hugger, it’s hard to imagine that others don’t derive the same sense of closeness and camaraderie from hugs as you do.


What about first dates? How do you know what’s appropriate?

You have to ask and it can be much easier via text: just so I know, are you a hugger or a waver? 

You can also talk about testing and vaccine status (there’s a badge right in the dating apps these days) before you meet up.

Remember that not everyone feels comfortable when asked about boundaries on the spot in the heat of the moment; some of us want to say no, but have trouble speaking up, so if you can check in before you meet via text, it gives people who are less vocal the opportunity to set boundaries via a different medium. And of course, you can pay attention to other cues like body language to gauge their comfort.

For weddings that were cancelled, can you assume you’ll be invited to the rescheduled one? 

Nope. Much has changed — not only venue size restrictions, but life, relationships, financial situations and priorities, so wait to receive another invitation. New rules and regulations means new guest lists.

If others have received an invitation to the rescheduled wedding and you have not, can try and not make it about yourself and consider the stress the engaged couple has endured over the last 15 months.

You can maintain relationships without attending every event.


Should you send a gift if you’re not invited?

That’s up to you. It’s always okay to send a gift even if you’re not attending. A gift is intended to express your love and support — it’s not an exchange for a meal and/or a party.

Think about these ifs:

  • If you want to celebrate their love, send a gift.
  • If you aren’t in the financial position to do so, don’t feel pressure.
  • If you already sent a gift, send your well-wishes in a card.

When invited to an (outdoor) get-together, can you assume a plus one?

We still have restrictions, so assume nothing.

“Is it an intimate affair for me to come on my own or should I bring Brandon?”

Ask: Is it an intimate affair for me to come on my own or should I bring my partner/kids/dog? 

They have a right to set limits and you have a right to decline; there is no universal right or wrong. Consider personal comfort over perceived logic; just because X number of guests are permitted, doesn’t mean they’re comfortable with a full house.