The first speed-dating event took place in Los Angeles in 1998. This innovative way of meeting as many as 25 (though most events top out at 14 or so) possible love interests at one time was created by Antony Beilinsohn, a Los Angeles-based television executive and clearly very creative person.
Speed-dating brings together a group of folks in one space, who have a few basic things in common, including that they are each looking for a relationship. This could be long-term, casual dating, companionship, or some variation on these themes.
Baby-boomers and seniors, no longer into the bar scene or willing to go on a lengthy and possibly unpleasant blind date, have embraced this partner-seeking method more than any other age groups.
One of the benefits of being a mature adult is getting to know yourself and what you want from life and from those who are close to you; speed-dating is peculiarly suited for people who have a powerful sense of self.
How Does Speed-Dating Work?
The following are some of the most common characteristics of speed-dating events:
Before the Speed-Dating Event
- Pre-registration is required, during which you provide basic information about yourself, including age. Only do this after you have determined you are attending a safe and legitimate service. This helps to match you with those events that will most likely benefit you.
- Each event is designed for a specific age range.
- Expect to meet anywhere from six to 14 possible connections.
- Events are available for all ages, as well as all sexual orientations, and may revolve around a shared religion or other interest (work, hobbies, and so on).
Related: [Podcast] Dating and Finding Love After 55
During the Speed-Dating Event
- Give yourself permission to enjoy this experience and to simply “be present.”
- Each couple is allotted, a predetermined time slot, which can be anywhere from two to possibly as much as 10 minutes to chat and size each other up.
- When the group is made up of men and women, generally the women remain seated while the men rotate. (If there are, say, 12 women, then there will be 12 men.)
- Even if there is no chemistry, it should not be that difficult to keep up friendly chatter until the time is over. Once that bell (or buzzer) sounds, you two are done, and each get to move on.
- Try not to plan beforehand what to say; instead, just be in the moment. You don’t want to seem shallow, but a light-hearted attitude works; these few minutes are to be used to assess if you two want to get to know each better, not to delve to the core of the other’s – or your – very being.
- Do be prepared to change subjects if the other brings up something either off-the-wall or very personal in nature.
- Even if there is a strong attraction, no one is to give out contact information during the session.
- Again, even if there is a strong attraction, do not ask if the other person is going to mark your name as someone they want to get to know better. If they want to, they will; if they don’t then, just like you, they won’t.
- When the allotted time is over, the facilitator will indicate that it’s time to switch partners.
After the Speed-Dating Event
- At the end of the event, the participants each fill out a sheet indicating who they want to get to know better. Both parties would have to indicate a desire to meet again before the event planners would allow an exchange of contact information.
Why Should I Try Speed-Dating?
Here are some of the best reasons to give speed-dating a chance:
- Participants can be reasonably confident they are all there to make a connection with someone who interests them.
- The venue should be comfortable, permitting the participants to easily hear each other (unlike in, say, a bar or restaurant).
- The stress that goes along with a typical blind-date is greatly reduced. If any, or even all, of these “dates” go poorly, each will be over in just a few minutes. Plus, you never have to see these people again! So, enjoy the excitement of searching for treasure.
- It only takes four minutes (or possibly just a few seconds) to decide if you’re interested in someone. Why subject yourself, or anyone else, to a potentially painful hour or more when a few minutes will do?
- Each participant has the freedom to accept or reject those they meet, but only after the event is over and without having to do it face-to-face.
- You can attend as many of these events as are available, and as you choose to.
- There also is online speed-dating. The major drawback to this is that you can’t get the full sense of the other person via a computer screen. Body language, and other signals, however subtle, that would strike you in-person may be completely lost online.
- The rate of successful matches, according to assorted studies, ranges from two to three per in-person speed-dating event per individual. This is versus possibly one out of 99 encounters in traditional online match sites.
The Pros and Cons of Speed-Dating
As for the pros and cons of speed-dating, the in-person version seems to have only one possible drawback: the participation fee. This amount will vary depending on the who’s sponsoring the event, though the likelihood of a “match” is statistically higher at in-person venues.
An online speed-dating web site, in contrast, could much more easily be a sham, though there are some legitimate websites. Sites do come and go, but there are those that have been around for several years.
Even when considering those sites, peruse it carefully to determine how that site operates, what services they can offer you, and what is required of you. Never hand over personal or financial information until you are confident you can trust the site you are relying on.
Where Do I Sign Up?
Speed-dating is such a popular event that there are opportunities across the US. Ask friends and family – you could be surprised at who has used in-person or online services. For more information, search online to find speed-dating in your area. While you’re at it, look for client reviews that are available, as well.