For Kish'sina Jackson, the key to finding love is getting on a plane.

An avid traveler, the New Albany resident has had success meeting men at events in other cities or in airports, which is why she always dresses to turn heads in the terminal, she said.

"It's still comfy, but it'll be like some distressed jeans, a cute blazer, a cute T-shirt and cute flats," said Jackson, 40, who has been everywhere from Miami to Dubai.

That's a problem in a pandemic, when stay-at-home orders were in place and many businesses were closed for weeks. Turned off by online dating and unwilling to risk an in-person meetup, Jackson took a new approach to finding love: She stopped trying.

"I have taken this time to focus on home projects," Jackson said. "At the end of the day, I just want to sit down. I don't want to talk."

The COVID-19 coronavirus has forced many single people to reevaluate their dating philosophies and, in many cases, get more creative in their approach, even as bars and restaurants begin to reopen.

Before COVID-19, video dating was already being introduced through such platforms as Match.com and the Bumble app, but more people are taking advantage of the option. According to Match.com's chief dating expert, Rachel DeAlto, interest in video dating -- in which people can do more than just swipe right or exchange messages -- has increased from 7% in April to more than 70%.

"(At first), people were like, 'Oh, we'll just wait it out,' " said DeAlto, who is based in New Jersey. "And then they were like, 'I didn't think I'd have to wait that long.' "

Bumble has seen a 69% increase in video calls between March and May, according to a representative. And in early May, the Tinder dating app announced plans to launch a video-chat feature later this year.

"People have realized that, pandemic or not, spending 15 or 20 minutes on video with someone to see if there's attraction and compatibility is saving them a lot of time that they would have spent on a bad date," DeAlto said.

That's not enough to entice some people to sign up for dating websites or apps. That includes Columbus attorney Niyah Walters, who still finds the experience too foreign to pursue.

"But I'm not above conversations in the DMs," the 29-year-old downtown Columbus resident said of the direct-messaging function on Instagram.

The funnier the pickup line, the more likely she'll respond, she said.

"(For) people that are not comfortable approaching people in person, this is the time for you to shine," she said.

It's not, however, the time to pick people up in bars, even though they are reopening, she said.

"I'm going to let that first batch (of people) go out," she said.

Some local singles said they have found comfort exploring connections they'd made prior to the pandemic. That was the case for both Dra' Tyson and Leon Johnson, who host a dating podcast, "That's Why We're Single," with their friend, Darius Beck.

Though they occasionally browsed dating apps while quarantined, Tyson and Johnson also reached out to women they already were dating casually.

"I was already comfortable enough to go over to her house, so I had a place to go if I needed to escape," said Johnson, 37, of northeast Columbus. "We both worked from home. ... We didn't have interactions with people that potentially may have had corona."

Both men agreed that being forced to stay inside made for deeper interactions.

"It definitely allowed you to get to know people better," said Tyson, 30, of north Columbus. "I am having a lot more conversations that are past the surface level."

For people like their podcast co-host Beck, who is in a committed relationship, the pandemic has inspired more creativity.

"It causes you to think outside of the box," he said. "For example, we went and bought bikes. Tonight, we're going to exercise over Zoom. ... This is our norm now. And so we either have to accept it or be depressed."

Feeling melancholy is not uncommon during the pandemic, especially for people who are single.

"It is absolutely OK to feel lonely and to acknowledge that," said Maria Avgitidis, CEO and head matchmaker at Agape Matchmaking in New York. "Right now is the perfect time to be online dating. ... If you feel frustrated by these websites, it's probably because you're not using the right website or you're not using it correctly. And there are professionals out there that can help you (with that)."

Avgitidis also encourages people to reexamine their wants and needs.

"So if you tell me he has to have a full head of hair, does that really matter during a pandemic?" she said. "(Or) 'He needs to be 4 inches taller than me.' Does that really matter during a pandemic? What you should be looking for is someone who's patient, open-minded, reliable and understanding."

These are the signs of someone's character, she said.

"That's what I would hope would come out of his -- that people will be a little be more fair about their criteria."

ethompson@dispatch.com

@miss_ethompson