Speed Dating 101: Ten tips for a good time

I’ve been single for about eight months now, and have been actively dating for most of that time. Dating in 2019 is definitely interesting. There is an overwhelming amount of online dating apps nowadays, and although each of them promises to be the next best thing, it’s just more of the same.

I go through phases where I am really excited about dating, and then other phases where I am just so over swiping left and right, matching with someone to never talk or only exchange a few words. Or endlessly chat but never actually meeting. Or again, meeting a number of people without ever feeling a spark of genuine interest.

I really believe that the best way to get to know someone, and to genuinely develop interest in them, is to get to know them in a “normal” setting. Maybe it’s at work, or through sports or other social activities. But I think it takes time to see someone for who they are, and there is SO much more to feeling attracted than their physical appearance.

Yet in 2019, everyone is so zoned into their phones that it is increasingly intimidating to go up to someone you find attractive and ask them out.

So I found myself googling “single events” and stumbled upon a few speed dating events. I had only ever seen this in movies and had a bunch of preconceived ideas about what it would be like. But then I thought “what the heck”! I don’t have anything to lose. So I signed up and off I went.

It was back in July, and at the time I had shared some details about it on my Instagram page. I had a fair few requests to share more of the experience, possibly through this blog. So as promised (and better late than never😅), here it is!

1. Just do it. Don’t overthink it, don’t debate it. Just sign up and show up (assuming you are single or available for dating in some way).

2. Bring a friend. I originally planned on attending the event alone. But when I told my single friend about it, she decided to join me on this new adventure. I was SO happy to have a partner in crime because dating is already intimidating, but then imagine going on about 10+ dates in one sitting!! Sharing the experience with a friend was super fun. Plus if all else failed, we figured it was a good story to tell!

3. Breathe into the discomfort. I realize that this may not be the case for everyone, but going speed dating was very much a new and uncomfortable experience for me. It felt unnatural and awkward. But instead of running away (which was very much what I wanted to do), I took deep breathes (subtly) and just let the uncomfortable feelings come, and then go.

4. Go in with zero expectations. Because then you won’t be disappointed, whatever the outcome! Plus, going in with the simple purpose of just enjoying yourself diminishes the pressure you feel to impress other people, and lets you simply enjoy meeting new people.

5. Have a drink. Because I didn’t and I really could have used that liquid courage to help me out!! At the time, I was trying to stay sober so I opted to go through the evening without a lick of booze. The bartender thought I was insane for going speed dating without even one drink in my body. I thought so too 😅

6. … But not too much. This recommendation is based on my observations of my friend who had a few drinks/shots during the evening. Nothing bad happened – but she did ask one male dater how old he was, which he didn’t appreciate. Now I am not sure if she asked because she was feeling tipsy, or if it’s something she would have asked sober. Either way, to save yourself from becoming overly intoxicated, and also to have memories of such a unique experience, I suggest not getting totally shit faced.

7. Leave your judgements at the door. It takes guts to go on a date with a stranger, let alone 10+ strangers!! Everyone is there for a good time, and everyone is likely feeling a little vulnerable. So instead of going in with a critical attitude (which sounds horrible, but when we are feeling exposed, it’s much easier to judge other than to humble ourselves), I suggest going in with a curious attitude. Interactions with strangers are so much better when you have genuine interest in finding out who they are instead of trying to prove your worth.

8. Be honest. With yourself, and with others too. If you aren’t feeling it, then you aren’t feeling it. You aren’t doing anyone any favours by forcing a connection that isn’t there. I ended up writing someone’s name down on my date card because I felt bad that I didn’t have any matches. He ended up e-mailing me, and I hate to admit this, but I never replied because I wasn’t interested. So as much as possible, keep it real.

9. Make new friends! Neither my friend nor I left with a man in mind, but we did make a friend! We drove her home after we all stopped at a drive through for some late night snacks. Not bad for a Monday night! It happened to be a girl, but it there is nothing stopping us from making friends with anyone at the event. Like I said before, I really think that the best way to nurture a romantic relationship is for it to be grounded in friendship. So don’t put too much pressure on the relationships you are building and just focus on enjoying them!

10. Go again! Now I can’t say I have followed my own advice on this one. But honestly it’s really not a bad time and it makes for an interesting story. Afterall, the more people you expose yourself to, the better your chances of meeting someone special!!

Anyone wanna join me!?