Once again, I am a dating hermit

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Not sure if this is the correct forum, but I have nothing to lose and potentially much to gain. Another year has passed, COVID of course, where meeting people is still a challenge. While some things have begun opening up, others remain closed. I am an older woman and have been told I am very confident, which cracks me up because I am far from it (personally). I used to do lots of volunteering where I was out and about, doing things I like, working on weak social skills, and meeting very nice people. I never met anyone (a guy to date) but I was out there.

Then COVID shut everything down and in-person volunteer things were severely cut back. Over these months I have found myself in quite a conundrum. I am a textbook introvert. I have no issues being on my own, I like quiet, I like small gatherings of limited time frames and hate crowds. And with COVID, even though I am vaccinated and boosted, I am hesitant to go out and risk infection. On the other hand I have to kick myself out of the house and have no problems going out on my own. I had planned on going to a recent Bruins game but that was postponed because of COVID. I went to a comedy club a few weeks ago (small club) but within five minutes of the show, I just wanted to return to my quiet apartment. The comics were yelling in a small room, the humor was spouse bashing and swearing (not my cup of tea). But I was out of the house.

I am lost. I am trying to get a basic social life but feel stymied. Zoom calls only go so far. I go to a yoga class but have nothing in common with people there, however, I am still going to yoga. I am trying to break old patterns but feel like I am beating my head against the wall. How can I shake up this apparent rut for 2022? Tried dating sites, a waste of time and money for me, and meetup things have been sparse in my area. How can an introvert not turn into a hermit?

– Hermit

Give yourself permission to take a pandemic break. Wait out this latest spike and enjoy your hobbies and alone time. This seems like a good moment to take a peaceful vacation from dating. I mean, it's not March 2020, but assuming you're in the cold, it's not great for anything right now.

Of course, when the stakes are low, it can be fun to interact online – to get on an app and ask for some Zoom dates, etc. It’s something to do, and when you're done with your small social interaction, you will most likely already be in pajama pants, ready to relax. Some people (clears throat) are built for Zoom dating because so much of the hassle and buildup and the "this better be worth all this effort and risk" is removed.

Also, many apps are free, and you can limit your time on them. You can give yourself from 7 to 7:30 to swipe, and move someone to text or set a Zoom date if they seem fun. Set a timer, if it helps. This should not be hours of your day.

You are in a small rut – I’d call it a pause – at the start of 2022. A lot of people are with you on that. Be kind to yourself and know that many of the introverts (and people trying to stay home during Omicron) are in the same place. It's just a matter of finding them, and there’s no deadline. This will change by the day, week, month. Your feelings will too.

– Meredith

Readers? Assuming there is unpleasant weather involved, what are some ideas for solving this problem? Also, is it one that needs to be solved right this second? Dating people, how are you navigating the world right now?