I recently decided to get more pro-active about getting out there and meeting women, so I thought I'd give Speed Dating a try.
This is where you front up to an organized gathering of other singles, and have a few minutes with each woman to assess whether you'd like to get to know them better. At the end of the evening, you fill in a card saying whether you'd like to exchange contact details with each person you've spoken to. If both of you tick the “yes” box to each other, the host sends you each others contact details. Speed Dating turns out to be really fun! There were some really great people at the event I went to, and I spent the evening joking around, chatting away, and having a great time.
I'm haven't always been the world's most out-going guy, so I was wondering whether I'd enjoy it or not. But it turned out to be was way more fun and less stressful than I expected. I'd really recommend Speed Dating to anyone interested in meeting some new people in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. So here are my tips when it comes to being successful at speed dating:
- Don't take it too seriously! You're there to have fun. When you're having fun, you're much more interesting, approachable and attractive than when you're stressed out.
- Grab a drink as you arrive; but not more than one. You want to be relaxed, not tipsy. The women there have paid money and given up their time to meet real you; not inebriated you.
- Arrive a little early to give yourself some time to warm up before the main action starts. Pick a woman that you think you are likely to be able to chat to without finding her intimidating, and initiate a conversation with her with the aim of simply making her laugh. All the women at speed dating are there specifically to meet guys so you are guaranteed of a positive reception. The purpose of this conversation is to get your social juices flowing, let any initial nervousness subside, and experience feeling good about meeting women. If you feel intimidated by the hottest girl in the room's looks, warm up with the less appealing prospects instead and get in a good mood so you can be your relaxed, friendly, approachable self when you rotate to the hot girl during the business part of the evening.
- Joke around about it. Let's face it: Speed Dating is an artificial construct. You don't normally meet people in such a structured environment. There isn't usually a guy with a bell walking around telling you that your time is up. I made jokes about the previous guy (who always seemed to take too long when told to move), the woman's profession, the notes I was taking, and the whole situation we were in.
- Aim to make the girls laugh. Women love guys with a sense of humour. They love guys who can make them laugh. Go in with the intention that you've got 5 minutes to make her laugh. This takes the stress off you trying to impress her with your great job, big bank account and wonderful personality; all of which may or may not actually be the assets that stack up in her eyes anyway.
- Have a couple of fun, interesting questions up your sleeve. I went with asking which Flintstones character they thought would make the best partner (Fred or Barney), and which wife they related to most strongly (Wilma or Betty). Then I got into a discussion about their characters: Fred the workaholic, Barney the easy-going cool guy, Wilma the dominant woman, Betty the sweet naive girl. The women who went along with the question seemed like fun people to get to know better; the one who declined to answer even after I teased her about it wasn't so appealing to me. You can ask just about anything interesting and off-the-wall; it's not the answer they give, but the way they respond that gives you insights into them. Are they fun and spontaneous, or judgemental and fearful of anything that's a bit out-there?
- Don't ask what they do for a living. Snap judgements based on a person's stereotyped career aren't helpful in actually getting to know someone; and when you have such limited time, all you can really do is get a sense of whether this is someone you'd enjoy hanging out with or not. Knowing that they're an accountant or lawyer doesn't help. When they told me what they did anyway, I generally teased them about it and changed the subject. “Hey, you don't need to be ashamed about working for a bank you know! Really.” Smirk. Who wants to talk about work on a weekend anyway? At the end of one conversation which we both laughed the whole way through, the girl said “Hang on... I still don't know what you do!!!”. Perfect. A little mystique never goes astray.
- Worry about who you want to contact later. Stay relaxed, take notes as you go around so you don't forget who is who, and fill in the contact card later. Of course taking notes about people is unnatural, so that's just another thing to joke about. “Right, I'm writing down 'Stalker. No sense of humor'” got them laughing every time.
- Pre-arrange to meet up with an existing female friend for drinks later the same evening. Knowing that you have other options makes you more appealing, and subconsciously takes the pressure off you to "hook up".
I used to be sceptical that a few minutes was long enough to get to know someone well enough to really know whether you liked them. But first impressions count, and it does give you a feel for whether you want to spend more time finding out. There were some people I clicked with more readily than others, and these turned out to be the people who I was most interested in contacting later... and sure enough, they also said they wanted to contact me.
Everyone at Speed Dating is there because they want to meet someone, but I suggest you simply to go with the intention of having fun instead of hooking up. This takes the pressure off you, and sets you up for a great evening. There were some women who I totally didn't click with, others who I clicked with but didn't find particularly attractive, and others who both clicked with and found attractive. When the results came through, it was those in the latter group who I had mutual matches with. I was very happy to find that the two most engaging, attractive women in the room both wanted to meet up with me. So that's a success in my mind. Now I just have to get back to them by email...