Online dating may be more popular than ever, but in-person and virtual singles mixers are still around too. Speed dating is a very specific kind, in which singles have mini, bite-sized dates with several people over the course of one night and then get to choose who they’d like to exchange information with to get to know better. It can be a great way to make new connections, especially for people who are short on time or would rather skip over skimming dating profiles to have an actual conversation. Whether you’re heading into your first or tenth event, these speed dating tips can help you feel more relaxed, have more fun, and—most importantly—make more matches.
1. Pick the right speed dating event for you.
As the online relationship counseling site ReGain points out, speed dating is such a popular format for singles mixers these days, there are likely many different events, both in-person and virtual, that you can choose from. Age groups may be the first qualifier that comes to mind, but with research you may also be able to find events that are specially designed for people in your field or who share your interests. “If you cannot find this information online, do not be afraid to reach out to the event organizers and ask questions,” ReGain advises. They should have an idea of the daters their events draw.
2. Wear something you already know you love.
“Dressing comfortably isn’t about looking sloppy or not putting any thought into your appearance,” says the dating site eHarmony, “it simply means wearing something that makes you feel good and at ease.” While speed dating should be more fun than stressful, you will likely experience some nerves; and you’ll want to be concentrating on what your date is saying and not a strap digging into your shoulder. So though you probably want to look your best, this isn’t the occasion to take a brand new outfit out for a spin. Choose something that makes you feel comfortable and confident, and those are the qualities that you’ll project.
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3. Have some questions ready to go.
AskMen.com suggests that you come prepared with a few fun icebreaker questions that deviate from the yawn-inducing, “So, what do you do?” Not only will the person across from you be more likely to remember the dater who asked about the best vacation they ever had, it’ll also help you get to know them beyond the base specifics. (Those, you can cover on your actual, full-length date.)
4. Forget your “type.”
Most speed dating events end with people listing the other daters they want to talk with further, and the organizers connecting those who named each other. A New York City event organizer told Glamour readers that the daters who end up with the most matches are the ones who think outside of their “type.” Following up with attendees after one mixer, “a couple of participants noted that they met people they liked whom they know they never would have met outside of the ‘controlled’ dating environment.” So forget counting people out because of their job, body type, hair color, or anything else that’s limiting.
5. Don’t leave without saying goodbye.
According to the dating advice site WayToo Social, one of the easiest mistakes to make while speed dating is to rush off as soon as the time ticks down. Instead of feeling frazzled and taking off mid-sentence, look your date in the eye and tell them you enjoyed meeting them. It will make your short interaction—and the event itself—feel more personal.
And for more advice you need for finding love, this is The One Word You Should Never Include in Your Online Dating Profile.