It's assumed that most people would aim to have as little contact as possible with each other during a pandemic like COVID-19.
That is not the case for LSU sophomores Rickey Oubre and Jaira Hollins, who have been using dating apps to meet with others.
Oubre said, "I've only gone through Tinder and BLK. That's the only two that I feel like are reliable. I guess you could say that. Like, more trusting than the others."
"I've been using dating apps like Bumble or Tinder," Hollins said. "Have I been that successful? Not really."
Neither Hollins nor Oubre are scared of contracting the virus. However, they are aware of the risk. Hollins knows she isn't invincible, and that she has to be careful.
"I do enjoy my time going out, but once again, we have to consider the fact that it can affect any age group, and that's been proven," Hollins said.
Oubre likes to make sure that his romantic interests are being safe and taking COVID precautions.
"I guess it's kind of, like, it's up to your own judgment," Oubre said. "It's kind of up to your own personal judgment to be like, 'Okay, should I meet up with this person? Does this person sound responsible?'"
Assistant Director for Wellness and Health Promotion Kathy Saichuk stresses the importance of avoiding high-risk situations.
"Not putting yourself in high-risk situations – large gatherings, closed-up indoors, being one on one in an apartment or someplace where you would be isolated and you're more likely to start engaging in that sexual act," Saichuk said.
Saichuk encourages creative dating approaches during a time of COVID. She suggests going for a bike ride, walking on a trail, or viewing an outdoor movie.
Despite the high risk, both students crave human interaction.
"Not everybody wants to talk," Oubre said. "Not everybody wants to, you know, get into close proximity with anybody that they don't know, so that's kind of the only option."
"I'm an only child, so I do get bored, I do get lonely, and I do like human interaction," Hollins said. "I live for it."
Instructor of Record for Interpersonal Communication Deborah Ayme highlights the importance of making connections.
"It's absolutely crucial that people keep in contact somehow, so if dating apps are the way that they need to make a connection, I think that's great," Ayme said.
A real challenge exists – a risk of COVID for normalcy versus avoiding it altogether.