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.
What are the do’s and don’t of dating?
As with any social event, dating and in particular speed dating has an etiquette. It’s very simple and designed to create a stress-free, seamless experience for daters living busy, hectic lives. So while you don’t have to spend ages preparing for it, it is helpful to know what’s what in terms of the things you should and shouldn’t 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:
- Do book in advance
- Do plan your journey in advance and
- Don’t be late
- Do follow the host’s instructions
- Do turn off your phone
- Don’t ask people if you’re a match
- Do speak to the host if you’re made to feel uncomfortable by an attendee
- Do dress to impress, but not too formal
- Don’t drink too much
- Do ask some interesting questions
- Don’t ever be offensive
- Do think of possible answers as well as your questions
- Do relax, be yourself and have fun!
Do’s and don’ts in courtship
A major advantage of speed dating is that you don’t have to worry about many of the more general do’s and don’t of dating. If, for example, you’re meeting someone from a dating site for the first time, you need to consider where and when you’re going to do it. This includes thinking up a public location, suitable for a first date.
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.
What are the rules of speed dating?
If you have security concerns, then this type of dating is perfect for you. No one gets your contact details unless you want them passed on – and it’s not a conversation you have to have with the person or people in question. You pass your information to the company or organisation hosting.
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.
At the end of the night, you fill in a form letting the hosts know who you’d like to see again. If you the match with someone, they will pass your details on – and vice versa. But if there isn’t anyone who takes your fancy, no one gets your details -even if they wanted to date you again.
What should you not do while dating?
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.
What do you wear for speed dating?
There is no dress code, but remember that first impressions count. You don’t need to wear formal clothing but likewise, don’t be too casual. Dress to the day, time and venue too – Saturday nights in upmarket bars will be slightly more dressy, than a weekday in a cafe. Use accessories to help you create a memorable impact – a statement piece of jewellery, tastefully patterned shirt or colourful sweater can be all you need for this.
How should you dress for a date?
Wash and iron your outfit beforehand. Grabbing a crumpled t-shirt from the bottom of your drawers won’t result in a good look. By all means, work a more bohemian or quirky style that reflects your personality, but in a way that communicates you take care of yourself. Similarly, do your hair, make sure you have clean nails – and don’t forget the deodorant, especially if you’re coming straight from a day at work.
What questions do you ask at speed dating?
The only area other than clothing that calls for some definite preparation is in your questions. Remember, you don’t have long with each person, so you have to really harness that time. And the best way to break the ice is to ask something to get the conversation ball rolling. It shouldn’t be so tricky that it takes ages to come up with an answer, but neither should it be something they’ve been asked by every other person they’ve met that night.
Speed dating tips – questions to start a conversation
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.
- How successful is speed dating?
Speed dating has been the start of many long term relationships and successful marriages. This is why it thrives across the world. Slow dating has an 80% match rate, with 90% of attendees recommending it.
- How long is speed dating?
This will depend on the number of participants and the length of each date (usually between two and eight minutes each). But in general, you can expect an event to last two to three hours, including a break mid-way through.
- How does speed dating rotation work?
The host will invite you to take a seat. You’ll sit opposite someone at a table. Then when the bell rings, after several minutes of chatting, the men will move one seat along, until everyone has met and dated. It’s designed to be fair and reassuring.