by Madison Malone Kircher
Getting to know someone new is fun and exciting, but also, honestly, it can be stressful! First dates were awkward even before a global pandemic. Now, you’re faced with the question of whether or not to ask your date if they’re vaccinated yet (that is, if your match doesn’t already have the Vaccination Badge in their profile). Disclosing medical history? Not exactly a sexy topic. But it doesn’t have to be a looming cloud of worry overhead. There are ways to get the answers you want and deserve while keeping your cool. Here, Bumble daters share their top tips.
Keep It Casual
You may well meet a match who brings up their vax status unprompted, especially if you live somewhere with an orderly vaccine rollout. “It’s actually been totally fine—at least right now it feels like very casual small talk to talk about vaccines,” Melissa, 36, says. “It’s not a big, awkward deal at all. It just kind of comes up naturally.” If you need an opener, maybe send a funny vaccine TikTok—like this hilarious and scientifically accurate mRNA explainer—to get the conversation going.
Offer Up Your Vax Status First
A good way to signal to somebody you want to know their antibody situation is to tell them yours while you’re still in the messaging phase, before you meet in person. “As we’re planning to meet up I usually volunteer, ‘I’m fully vaxxed btw,’ and they typically respond with their status,” Nick, 28, says. He says now that he’s fully vaccinated, he’s been able to feel less worried about going on dates, but still likes to get the details from potential partners.
Set Your Boundaries
If you’re not fully vaccinated yet, or are unable to get vaccinated, you might have different concerns. Make sure you vocalize them. “Before I was fully vaxxed, it was a more involved conversation: I was more explicit about what I was and wasn’t comfortable with doing,” says Nick. “Like saying, ‘I’m down for dinner if it’s outdoors and legitimately well-ventilated because I’m still waiting on my second shot.”
Plan a Socially Distant Date…
If you’d rather talk about vaccines in person, opt for a socially distant date. A walk outside. A picnic in the park on separate blankets. Asking about vaccine status is no big deal, but it’s totally understandable if you’d rather do some basic getting-to-know-you chatting before popping the question.
…And Then Slide It Into Conversation
On a recent first (outdoor) date, Kelly, 36, and her match hadn’t talked about vaccines yet. “Within twenty minutes he mentioned he was a volunteer at a food bank and that he was fully vaccinated,” she said. A few days later, after she got her first shot, Kelly texted to give him her inoculation update.
Don’t Make Them Ask At All
That About Me section of your Bumble profile? A perfect spot to broadcast your vaccine status so your date never even has to ask. Chances are good your potential match would rather know if you’ve got antibodies than about your deep love of hiking (for now, at least). Melissa says she’s seen plenty of people sharing their vaccine statuses before she’s even had to swipe. “Sometimes it can be a selling point,” she says. If you’re fully Pfizered up or halfway through a course of Moderna, let people know. It could work in your favor.
Recognize People Have Different Comfort Levels (and Beliefs)
In a perfect world, you and your date might align on how you feel about vaccines, pandemic precautions, and politics, but that’s not always the case. Asking outright is the best way to get a firm answer. You make any future dating decisions with that information as your guide. It can be as straightforward as: “Hey, are you vaccinated?” Or: “I’m fully vaccinated. Are you?”
If dating somebody who isn’t vaccinated yet (or never plans to get a shot at all) is a non-starter for you, the best way to save you both time and energy is to play it straight. If the answer doesn’t suit you, you can move on to talking with somebody else whose answer does.