Move Over Apps––Speed Dating is Still A Thing and Here's Why

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While modern dating is all about the apps these days (we're looking at you Match, Tinder, Bumble, Hinge!), speed dating can still be a great way to meet potential romantic interests in your area. Now, you might have paused mid-matcha latte and thought, 'Wait––is speed dating still even a thing?' But think about it: While dating app users can often go through a tedious swiping and messaging process before actually meeting face to face, speed dating helps you instantaneously meet multiple people to feel out an immediate attraction and connection. "Nothing can compare to actually meeting someone in person for the first time," says relationship expert Celia Schweyer of DatingScout

Fun fact: Speed dating was invented in the 90s by a rabbi, and it has since expanded to more secular communities and is woven into the fabric of modern pop culture (think: The 40 Year Old Virgin, Hitch, Sex and The City). Read on below to learn about how speed dating works today, and what to expect during a speed dating event.

Is Speed Dating Still Even a Thing?

A 2017 survey found that 22 percent of millennials are more likely to consider technology as a barrier to finding love. That said, with much of our day to day lives spent increasingly online––from working, to banking, and streaming entertainment––the literal face to face format of speed dating feels fresh. Plus, while there's nothing wrong with online dating (in fact, it might be a go-to option for introverts or individuals with anxiety), speed dating offers you and the person you’re meeting a clean slate without the preconceived notions that can come with prior, online contact. 

Does It Actually Work?

"Speed dating events are still relevant because they provide a lot of data on potential dates in a short amount of time," says Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a licensed psychologist and marriage counselor. And more data means more and better cues to determine if you've met a potential match. And rather than waste your time on an awkward date only to be preoccupied during conversation conjuring up an graceful exit, the time you spend with each individual during a speed dating event means it's super low stakes and an efficient use of your energy, which is oh so precious, and not to mention finite. 

How Speed Dating Works

If you’re interested in taking speed dating for a spin, here's how the process typically works. When you arrive at a speed dating event––which is typically held in a restaurant or bar––you’ll be given a sheet of paper as well as a name tag. You’ll then spend approximately five to seven minutes each talking to a dozen or so potential matches one-on-one. When the time is up, your event host will announce that it's time to meet your next date ("Imagine a game of musical chairs," Schweyer says). And after each conversation, you’ll mark “yes” or “no” on the piece of paper to signal who you are interested in seeing again in the future, or not.

If the feeling is mutual, you’ll receive each others' contact information. After that, you are now in the driver's seat, and it's up to you to turn your speed date encounter into a (potentially) real courtship. While you can also drive the conversation topic during a speed dating event, the compressed time limit encourages individuals to bypass pleasantries and get straight to the point. Although that isn't to say you have to put too much pressure on yourself and the people you meet. Many speed dating hosts say that the point of speed dating is to put yourself out there and meet people.

The Actually Sounds Fun, Tell Me More

If you’d like to attend a speed dating event in your area, a quick Google search will turn up many different companies and services hosting these get-togethers. In many cases, you can find events that are tailored to specific interests and pastimes, such as by religious beliefs, occupational pursuits, sexual preference, and by age range.

How Much Does it Cost?

It’s also important to note that speed dating events can typically cost around $30 to $40 per person according to a brief internet search, depending on which service you choose. And of course, rates will likely vary by region. Usually, the cost includes perks provided by the establishment hosting the event, like specialty drinks, appetizers, and/or desserts.  

How Can I Make Speed Dating a Success?

Many traditional first-date tips apply to make your speed dating experience fun and rewarding. They include keeping an open mind, approaching the event with a positive attitude, and the belief that you have something unique and meaningful to offer a potential match. While you may feel nervous or anxious about having to talk about yourself to complete strangers, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to have an interesting conversation. With the time limit in speed dating, says Schweyer, you might be more brave and spontaneous, because you "don't have time to overthink or pretend to be someone" you're not. First impressions go a long way in speed dating, and by giving everyone a chance (yourself included), you will increase your chances of meeting someone special, no swiping required.