One of the best things about speed dating is its clear boundaries, expectations and rules. But what are these and how do they work? While it’s a very easy-going, safe and straightforward way to meet singles in your area, there are some speed dating do’s and don’ts. This makes sure everyone has the best chance of success - and a fun night out.
If you’re in need of a few tips & hints either as a seasoned speed dater or newbie, read our guide on what - and what not - to do.
Firstly, don't worry about being nervous - everyone else will be too, at least to begin with. To help you feel more relaxed, ensure you plan your journey in advance allowing some extra time so that you’re not late. You also need to book in advance - the organisers keep an equal balance of men and women, so it needs to be planned ahead of time, and because of this nights often sell out tickets for one gender or the other, or both.
Here’s a pre-date checklist of the do’s and don’t for speed dating:
You’ll possibly arrange a safety person (someone you let know your movements and contact after the date to let them know you’re safe) and have a way of recognising each other when you get there - remember the old cliche about wearing a carnation?!
Then at the end, you have to make contact or have a chat about whether you take it to a second date, which can be awkward if one of you feels different from the other. At a speed dating event, all of this is taken care of for you. But there are some similarities. You’ll still have to consider aspects such as your outfit and what you might talk about when you arrive.
They run the night and give you the opportunity to spend several minutes chatting to each man or woman in the room. The host rings a bell when it’s time for the guys to move along - so you don’t need to worry about getting stuck with anyone.
Turn off your mobile phone and put it on your pocket or bag, out of sight. It’s distracting for you and can come across as rude to the other person if you even have it on the table. If you don’t want to turn it off, put it on silent with the vibration switched off. The same applies to any smart technology you may be wearing.
Enjoy your drink, but don't overdo it. It can be part of the fun to enjoy a beverage - this is why most events take place in nice bars. But being drunk or tipsy is a definite no-no. You won’t come across at your best. It might feel like it’s taking the edge off the nerves (and a drink or two is fine for this), but don’t use alcohol as a crutch for relaxation. Instead, try some meditation or mindfulness and positive thinking.
Don’t push anyone for their contact details, or to reveal whether they’re going to mark you down as a match. The system is there for a reason and deviating it can and will make people uncomfortable. If someone is hassling you or being pushy, do speak to the host, who is there to deal with any problems like this.
Think of a few different questions that you can ask on the night rather than the same old ones, like ‘what do you do for a living?’. You also want to stand out and be memorable, so what do you do with your allotted time? Try to be original with your questions. It’s ok to be flirty if it feels right and there seems to be some instant chemistry, but don’t go over the top - never, ever do anything that could possibly be construed as offensive. Always aim to put the other person at ease. And if you can make them laugh, all the better. Unlike online dating, you won’t have already established a connection, so you need to do this on the night.
Here are some of the best ones, ideal for that first meeting.
And don’t forget to think about how you might answer. A rookie mistake would be to line-up sparkling questions, but then go quiet when having to respond.