Speed Dating | What Is It and How to Find an Event near You?

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If you are in the mood for love, speed dating is a really good way to meet lots of compatible (fingers crossed) single people–all in one night and one place! It’s fast (hence the word speed) and convenient–all you have to do is show up and be ready to meet 10-12 people in the space of an hour. 

Ok, that sounds intimidating when we explain it like that. Try not to think about it as a round-robin of potential matches being swapped out at a rapid-fire pace and having to give them a thumbs up or thumbs down when the event is over. Instead, think of it as a buffet–you can sample a lot of people and don’t have to commit to just one. 

Interested in trying your luck at this fast-paced dating activity? If so, you’ll need to be prepped with what exactly speed dating is, the pros and cons, what you talk about during these quick mini-dates, and where to find events both in your area and online.

We will teach you everything you need to know about the sport of speed dating!

Speed dating graphic

What is Speed Dating?

First things first–you need to know what speed dating is if you are in the dark. At speed dating events, singles engage in quick dates with various compatible singles–at in-person events, these tend to be people who are close in age and live in the same area.

And during a typical speed dating event, you can expect to meet 10-20 new individuals in an hour–it’s super fast and can be a bit overwhelming. Traditionally, speed dating events have been held at bars, event spaces, or cafes–however, online speed dating–usually hosted by dating apps–is gaining popularity as a convenient alternative, enabling people to meet and interact with potential compatible matches via short video calls.

How Does Speed Dating Work?


For in-person speed dating, when you arrive at the hosting venue, you’ll register with the event organizer, who will give you a scorecard–this is where you’ll record the outcomes of each speed date. The venue usually sets up small tables with about three feet between each.

Where you’re seated usually depends on when you get there, and when everyone gets settled, the host or organizer will maybe give some guidelines before the dates begin. And then it’s off to the races–speed daters will have anywhere between 4-7 minutes to get to know the “dates” sitting across for them before a timer buzzes, and it’s on to the next single. 

After each date, you’ll mark your scorecard with a “Yes” or “No,” depending on how you felt about the person across from you–it’s sorta like Tinder, only IRL. Then the men move on to another table, while the women stay where they are–and this goes on until the end of the event. It’s like musical chairs but for dating! 

In person speed dating

When the speed dating concludes, if two people give each other a mutual “Yes” on their respective scorecards, or if one of you has ticked off the “Maybe” box, you can exchange your contact details through email.

We can’t say for sure how many people attend in-person speed dating events, as this varies, but in general, it’s safe to say there are usually about 25-40 people in attendance. 


And while online speed dating is similar to how in-person events work, there is one big difference–it’s done through live video rather than face-to-face. Online dating events have the benefit of being able to host a larger number of singles, as they aren’t limited by physical space constraints–a single online speed dating event can attract anywhere from 100 to 200 people.

Online speed dating

Users register online with the hosting website, whether it’s a dating app or another platform, wait for the event to begin in a “lobby” (basically an online waiting room), and then go on short video dates with other attendees. After the video date, you’ll be given a chance to say “Yes” or “No” to the person in question and then head back to the “Lobby” to wait for your next date.

The software or matching algorithm will automatically match you with a date based on the preferences and age range you have selected. Online dates are a little bit speedier than in-person–they usually last between 3 to 6 minutes. This means you can meet more potential matches during the speed dating event!

Once the event ends, you’ll receive your matches either right after the event or within 24 hours, depending on the website or platform’s guidelines. 


What Kinds of Questions Should You Ask on a Speed Date?

So you have decided to try speed dating, but now you’re wondering what on earth you should say or ask during the date! You only have a few minutes to find out about the person, so you have to make sure the questions you ask, and the answers you give to their questions, count!

The best questions to ask are those that encourage your dates to open up and share more rather than simply responding with a quick yes or no. Find out what you have in common and keep the convo light–even though it’s a speed date, it’s still a first date, and you don’t want to kill the vibe by being too serious.

You can come up with your own questions, but we recommend sticking to a tried and trusted method for initial chats and first dates–the icebreaker. Icebreaker questions are perfect for speed dating–they promote thought and encourage fun chats between matches! And they’re great for shedding a little light on a person’s character, views, and lifestyle.

Icebreakers can be funny and allow the people on a speed date to see if they’re compatible, along with being a perfect way to begin a conversation–if you need some inspiration for speed dating, here is a list of icebreakers to get you started!

Stop graphic

Now that you know what kind of speed dating questions to ask, you should be aware of the topics to stay far away from on any first date:

  • Politics: don’t do it
  • Religion: absolutely not
  • Exes/Marriage/Kids: no
  • Work: why would you do this?

The Pros and Cons of Speed Dating

Pros 

  • You can meet multiple potential partners in an hour!
  • If you have chemistry, it’ll be obvious.
  • It’s quick and convenient.
  • Because everyone at a speed dating event is there for the same reason, it makes it less awkward or uncomfortable.
  • There is safety in numbers–you won’t have to worry about meeting a stranger for a first date in a restaurant or bar.

Cons

  • You will probably feel rushed–it’s called speed dating, not tortoise dating.
  • It may be too overwhelming if you have social anxiety or are more of an introvert.
  • It’s all about the first impression (but to be fair, this is how it is on dating apps and IRL first dates).

How to Find Events Near You

The easiest way to find speed dating events near you is to Google “How to find speed dating events near me.” It’s literally that easy–the search will return with results depending on where you live!

You can also join a dating app like Meetup–it’s a platform that is dedicated to people who plan group events, is there are always speed dating events among them. 

For online events, we also suggest a Google search and checking out The Fun Singles, which “Throws weekly get-togethers. We have a lot of fun, and you can be a part of it! Our events bring together single professionals who are interested in expanding their social circle.

Meeting new people can be intimidating. Our goal is to make it as fun and easy as possible. We host social mixers, speed dating events, game nights, and other fun activities in a fun & no-pressure environment.”

Takeaways

If you are a busy bee and can’t seem to find the time to date or meet anyone new, speed dating could be the answer to your dating prayers! You can connect with potential partners during face-to-face (or face-to-video) interactions.

Keep an open mind and arm yourself with some fun or interesting icebreakers to a speed dating event–and try to relax if possible and be genuine! You could meet someone special, and if not, there are always other speed dating events.

confused woman looking at phone with question mark background and a heart-shaped speech bubble with a surprised face emoji inside of it

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