Looking to Try Something Different? Its Nearly Speed Dating Season Again

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Mike Douglas

I have had so many conversations with friends about speed dating, its funny how many would love to do it, but haven’t. Well, for those of you that haven’t read my previous speed dating posts at MikesOpenJournal.com, or maybe haven’t thought about such an activity, or maybe your even in a relationship? Heres your chance for an insight.

Summer is coming and that means its almost the second most popular time of year for speed dating! The new year, new me feeling keeps January and February as a clear leader in speed dater attendance months.

I originally found / attended my first speed dating event thanks to a friend that wanted to go. I mainly went along as a plus one, hoping to have a cool evening by doing something different. To me, I enjoy face to face interaction much more than swiping and online apps. I feel that I learn more about the person I am with and gain a better feeling for if there is any sort of connection when you are physically in each others presence. Talking at real speed without distraction and / or the advise of someone else on what to say or not say. Its just the two of you talking… and hopefully laughing. That evening was the first of a few for me. This however, was the only one I attended with friends. Ill explain why later.

I was interested and excited to attend my first event. Unlike other singles nights, speed dating often has age restrictions, so you have more of an idea about the other people going along, well at least their age.

That first event was booked through Speed Dater UK with a cost of £13. Now I’ve mentioned the money, I feel this is an appropriate time to mention one of the reasons I didn’t attend another event with a friend. You are paying to meet people! So what is the point of going with people you already know? Especially if, like me, you have more friends that are the same gender as the people you are paying for the chance to meet. That is just a waste of money in my eyes.

I really like my female friends I attended that first event with, so spending time with them is a joy. However, I was definitely feeling that I had two wasted dates, which equated to £2.60 of my booking free. Before you ask, yes I worked that out while I was there.

On arrival we grabbed drinks and made our way up to the event, which was in the function area upstairs. There were a couple of people there already, but a majority hadn’t arrived yet.

As people began to arrive there was a visible difference in the attire people where wearing, particularly I thought the guys. Having gone with the smart casual standard shirt and jeans, I was interested to see Gary (found out his name later) turn up in a suit and tie combo and another chap wearing t-shirt jeans and carrying a bag. A couple of the girls seemed to have come together and where dressed in similar fashion, so there wasn’t as much of a difference in their attire.

Now, another reason why I haven’t been with friends since is the pre and post dating chat. This is where a lot of evenings decisions can be made. So when possible get there early and have time to stay at the end. It can take real confidence to walk over to someone and start talking, but remember everyone is there to chat and meet people so chances are you’ll get a positive response from saying “hi”.

After about 15-20 minutes the event host provided an overview of the evening and how the dates would work. Ladies would sit at a table for the evening with men rotating tables every four minutes, the four minutes would be sounded by a bell. We had been provided with the scorecard, which we could make notes on following each date. Along with ticking if we were interested in dating this person, being friends or not interested. Again this is very much the standard, dates seem to vary from 3 to 4 and half minutes and your warning that its time to move around could be a short two ding bell or an actual bell being rung (still makes me laugh).

You start on the table that matches your number, so for example girl 3 starts with boy 3. Personally I haven’t always been keen on the room set ups, I didn’t feel the space is always optimised. Some dates have happened within two feet of each other, making it super hard to hear what each other are saying at times. Equally some venues are lovely and have a great balance of creating an atmosphere while giving you enough space to talk.

I don’t think I have ever really managed to take ‘notes’ as I went around. What do I do? I manage with noting down the dates name and table number. I think its different as the guy because you move around the room. So there is a visual and physical part to your memory of the dates and the evening. If, like the ladies, I was sat in the same spot for the evening I think I would struggle much more with remembering the dates.

As an experience I have enjoyed every speed dating event I have attended, each one has been slightly different too. Speed dating is different to what I had expected. I though you’d be able to chat with people, but you may need to think of a topic or question if the conversation stalled. However I found the opposite, it has been easy to talk to 99% of the people there. The time goes so fast, it can be difficult to fit much in if you go for the job interview technique of name, job, hobbies. Informal is much better! I did actually have one date that started with a hand shake, haha.

So its important to move the conversation on to other topics sometimes, otherwise you learn nothing about the person other than a hobby or their job. Personally I think its hard to know if you want to talk to someone again based on that. Plus who wants to talk about their work on a first (4 minute) date in the middle of the week? Hands up anyone?

The end of the evening is super important too, if there is someone you really like this is your chance to get a bit more time with them before they go home and decide they don’t like you. So make an impression. Even if they look like their leaving, let them know you would like to have chatted more and wish them a safe journey home. Being the last person they talk to on the way out means you will be more memorable.

The next day you go online to enter you ticks, theres usually a 2-3 window to do this. Fingers crossed you get the match or matches you wanted. Then its on to arranging a ‘real date’. If not, theres always next time.

I believe these are great events for meeting and chatting to new people. I think the pressure comes when you go hoping to meet someone that night. It puts so much pressure on you that theres no way you can give the best impression of yourself and you will not enjoy the evening as much.

Speed Dating is good for confidence building because you have to talk to everyone at the event. However it can be restrictive if you want to spend more that a couple of minutes with someone. Then you really need to catch them at the end of the dating and chat a bit more.

Have you been speed dating?

What are your impressions with speed dating? Do you have any nightmare or success stories? Let us know in the comment box below!

Mike’s Open Journal
I hope you have enjoyed my insight into speed dating. If you would like to read more posts from me I have a blog and podcast at MikesOpenJournal.com. You can also find me on twitter @Mike_Douglas_


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Looking to Try Something …

by Mike Douglas time to read: 6 min