For many singles seeking to meet new people for romantic liaisons in 2014 the internet, it’s established, is the obvious place to start. Online dating sites are the newspaper personal columns of our time. Vast directories of willing singles, all in one convenient place. But here, the listings are searchable and filterable by every possible metric imaginable. For the right-thinking single this is the obvious hunting ground, surely.
Tap in a locality and a comfortable radius, indicate your penchant for willowy blondes into travel and hit the search button and bingo! You’re hit with a list of potentials longer than war and peace. From here you delve into the profiles your search has presented. Attractive photos lead you to a shortlist so it’s time to pen a message. Though you’re nobody's poet, what you written doesn’t seem half bad so you hit send. The deed is done.
You’ll probably repeat the above step a good few times and then it’s simply a waiting game until that first reply comes through.
Days, sometimes weeks may pass but you’re still enthusiastic. Eventually you receive a response. Cutebabe54232567 has replied to your message. The rapture! A one word response consisting simply of “Hey” it might be but it’s a reply none the less. You can feel the passion building between you already. You respond. A few more weeks go by and this rather unnatural process continues until you manage to strike up a conversation. As the messages go back and forth the tempo increases to the point where it’s appropriate to ask your new friend for a date. You might finally meet them.
The big day comes and the venue is set.
What happens next normally slots into one of 5 categories.
Your date is totally awful. No thanks. Get me out of here.
Your date is lovely but there’s no spark between you. Never will be.
Your date is charming and witty but doesn’t remotely resemble their profile pic. Who was that picture of anyway?
Your date is charming and witty but is 15 years older than they stated online.
Your date goes well. You’d like another one to find out more.
Just to get to this rather elementary stage has taken absolutely ages. And this is the biggest failure of online dating. It’s so unbelievably slow and for most people it’s nothing but a catalogue of disappointment. Sure, many people do meet through online dating sites but as a percentage of the total number of users the success rate is pitiful.
The owners of online sites know this all too well and it’s because of this it’s very profitable as a business. The longer you stay hooked to the site, the more it will cost you. It’s not really in their interests for you to find a date.
You might detect that I have a slight problem with the concept of online dating. I do because I know that the events we organise offer a far better solution when it comes to meeting someone.
Book a dating event, speed dating or singles party of any kind with us and you can be assured of one key point. You will meet people. This point is important to I’ll say it again. You will meet people. Lots of people in one night. A sociable and dare it say it, pleasurable night where you can have a drink in a good venue.
There’s various misconceptions about dating nights I should probably address. Some people worry about the calibre of people they will meet. I can’t speak for other organisers, but what we do attracts very high calibre people. Often seriously impressive people in fact. These are people that have realised that trying to meet people online is most often a huge waste of time. Choosing the direct route of meeting people first at events appeals to them allowing them to decide who they liked and finding out directly if there’s any kind of spark before wasting weeks sending messages back and forth.
Speed dating can be awkward. I won’t lie, you won’t like everyone you meet. The beauty of speed dating and parties however it that you’ve only got to spend a maximum of 4 minutes with someone if you don't hit it off. If it’s not gone well you simply tick them as a no, be civil and wait for your next date. That said you won’t meet many duds. Most people we meet are lovely and our system tells us that over 80% of people get at least one match. Not bad for one evenings work.
If you’re serious about meeting someone for a relationship dating events offer the best possible chance. By signing up you know that you’ll meet a bunch of people that by virtue of the fact they are at the event with you, share that goal. You’ll also know they have the confidence to meet new people (unlike some strange beasts from internet land) and there and then you can find out if you have any level of interest in them before you invest an evening having a proper date.
Of course the one issue I’ve not yet mentioned is that lots of people find they get two or more matches when they go speed dating. Decisions, decisions. Compared with the misery of online dating, this is a nice problem to have.
Check out our forthcoming events here. Be brave and take the plunge. You won’t regret it.
WORDS BY ANDREW SUMMERSGILL