I’ve told you what it’s like to go to Singles Mixers, but what about speed dating? Is it easier or harder, more awkward or less awkward? Well, I hate to tell you that all singles events are kind of awkward, but it’s all a matter of experience. You try it once or twice, and you start to get it. You know what to expect, and you know if it works for you.
Speed dating can be hit or miss, and, after giving it a shot, here are the tips I can offer to help you navigate the evening successfully:
- Look for a group that matches your needs. Just like with singles mixers, it can really help if you select a speed dating event with a narrowed age range and a theme. I went to one for singles with advanced degrees, for example. This ensured I already had at least one thing in common with the person across from me — we both value education and know how to work hard. I thought this was great, and I honestly left feeling like everyone I had met was smart and interesting, even if they weren’t a perfect match.
- Smile and be polite to every person you talk to — even if you aren’t interested. Yes, you will meet guys you have absolutely no interest in and who you aren’t attracted to. This doesn’t mean you should sit there silently and be rude. You only have to talk with the person for five to six minutes — it’s not hard to at least be friendly. Ask the person questions and adequately answer the ones they ask you. Unless they are rude to you, don’t be rude to them.
- Prep yourself with a series of open-ended questions. If you’re afraid you won’t have anything to talk about, plan some questions in advance that you can fall back on. For example, “Where is one place you’d like to travel?” “What is your favorite spot in the city?” Asking everyone “Have you done speed dating before?” can get old, so try to mix it up a little.
- Take note of who you really like. You can get caught up in the moment and start marking yes to anyone who is attractive and made you laugh. Then you go home and think, “Hmm, maybe he’s not really what I’m looking for.” It happens, and we’re busy people — no need to go on dates with someone you aren’t excited about. I have made this mistake too much, and marked down people who I really only would have wanted as a friend. Rather than disappointing someone, mark down only those you really, really can’t wait to see again. This will also happen to you — people will change their minds after the fact. Accept that it is part of putting yourself out there.
- Beware of the guy who lingers. Just like at singles mixers, I’m turned off by that guy who hangs out long after the event is over, talking to another woman. He’s very clearly interested in her. So, if that guy is a mutual match with me, and he does e-mail to ask for a date (and sometimes he’ll do it two weeks later, after it doesn’t work out with the other woman), I do not go out with him. Make the choice that you’re comfortable with.
I will admit that speed dating can be a little overwhelming. You repeat a lot of the same answers to a lot of the same questions, but it is a great way to put yourself out there. Try it at least once and see what happens. If anything, it’s great practice for making conversation.