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Top 5 Tips for Speed Dating Success

Monday August 10, 2015

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While everyone from PUA’s to advice columnists are keen to give step-by-step practical guidance in how to achieve success at speed dating events, John argues that these mean nothing without a deeper appreciation of how and why such techniques work. 

Dating columns and lifestyle magazines are cottoning on to the re-emergence of speed dating as the best way to meet people. Online and app dating is losing favour and more people are turning to real, face to face meets.

And yet, most column inches dedicated to advice on how to get the most out of the experience rely on little surface tricks and techniques to make you appear more attractive or desirable.

While not in themselves wrong, I believe a slightly deeper approach is needed.

So here are my five top tips for having an awesome experience speed dating.

1. Use the icebreaker
Many of our events are themed. This is because there’s no better way to break the ice than to have something in common that will start the conversation.

If you don’t like reading, perhaps the literary night isn’t for you. While Pick Up Artists (PUA’s) claim it’s really only a numbers game and you should take every opportunity, I’m here to tell you that PUA actually stands for ‘Probably Under the Influence’.

They’re wrong.

The icebreaker is there for a reason. Use it.

Bring a book to the literary event; Play a track to your dates at Stereo Speed Dating; Have a travel story or an idea of your dream destination for travel bug speed dating. In other words, avoid awkward silences and stand out from the crowd.

Don’t be the speed dating equivalent of the person who stands in the corner of the party talking to nobody and then leaves early complaining the party was rubbish because no-one spoke to you.

2. Negativity is negative
Keep things positive.

Not only do people enjoy the good news and general happy vibes, explaining how your terrible dating experiences in the past have led you to speed dating as a last resort is not going to engender you to anyone.

Likewise the morose, silent, and brooding look you’ve been cultivating ever since the Smiths broke up is less an indicator of a strong, intelligent and mysterious inner life and more a suggestion you’ve yet to leave puberty.

Or if you have left it, it’s only being temporarily stored at the mental health unit from which you’re on day release.

3. Don’t plan but be prepared

I’m assuming that if you’re at one of our events you have a few years behind you.

In those years, you’ve had a variety of experiences. These are the things that make you who you are. Hopefully, they’re the things that make you interesting. Talk about them. Or at least talk about the ones that interest you.

You’re speed dating to get to know somebody. If you asked someone about themselves and they had no response you’d be concerned. It’s the same the other way round. If you really have no interesting experiences or thoughts and you know you’re going speed dating, take a helicopter flight or go bungee jumping before you come.

4. No means no – but it’s not personal
This is perhaps the single most important piece of advice I can give you. It will save the people you meet from feeling really awkward and it will help your self-esteem no end.

Sometimes people just aren’t into each other.

There is no magic formula – despite what PUA’s and all manner of advice columns try to tell you – to ‘make’ someone fall for you. It’s not personal. You don’t need everyone to fall for you while you sit back and select the ‘best’. At worst this is sociopathic and objectifying. It suggests you view everyone as an object for you to claim as your own.

If someone isn’t into you it’s fine to continue to have a good conversation. You haven’t been rejected. Enjoy the fact the pressure of attraction is no longer present. It’s not a reflection on you or them.

5. Stay alive number five
At some speed date events, you can meet up to 20 people.

No matter how you approach it, meeting this many people is tiring. Leave some conversational brilliance in reserve. By the time you’re meeting last few dates, they will have been subjected to the same questions over and over again.

Try something new and fresh. Re-engage with the evening, if only to save your own sanity. Relevant but mildly humorous news stories? Why not. If they could be anywhere else right now where would they be? Give it a try.

So there you have it.

By all means grab your copy of Cosmo or Men’s Health and work through their step by step guides. Now take a breath, combine them with what I’ve written here and then take a look at what we’ve got coming up.

Not only do I guarantee you’ll have an amazing evening, I also guarantee you’ll meet someone you’ll click with and want to see again.

WORDS BY JOHN DAVIS