Speed dating first evolved over a decade ago, but it has become much more popular in recent years, especially among baby boomers and seniors. Perhaps the increasing need for companionship is to blame, or maybe the adrenalin-pumping nature of the event makes it so attractive. Whatever the case may be, speed dating for older adults is more common and more useful than ever before; it has transformed into an art, where those who can master its style are most successful. Now you might be wondering, how does one speed date? Where can I find a speed-dating event? Oh, and what is “speed dating” anyway?
Keep reading and we will catch you up to speed (no pun intended).
What is Speed Dating?
Speed dating is a quick form of dating, designed for meeting multiple individuals in a short amount of time. It is a formalized process in which the participants are broken up into pairs and rotate partners every 3-8 minutes (depending on the event). Each pair sits down and gets to know one another, or “date”. When time is up, the coordinator will ring a bell, blow a whistle, or clink a glass, at which point the participants switch seats to meet the next person. After the “daters” have done a full rotation and met one another, each individual will write a list of who he or she would like to see again. If two participants have written down each other’s names, the event organizer will forward the contact information to both parties. (The idea is that the participants will not feel pressure to accept or request contact information face to face.)
The first organized speed-dating event took place in 1998 in Beverly Hills, California. Since then, speed dating has spread across the globe. Most speed-dating events specify a certain cultural background, religion, or age group as a requirement to participate.
Among the over-50 population, this style of dating is especially common. With greater wisdom and dating experience, older adults tend to know exactly what they are looking for in a partner. For this reason, they benefit from quick dates; they know what questions to ask, and after just a few minutes, they can usually tell if there is potential for a relationship, romantic or non-romantic. Needless to say, adults over 50 have hopped onto the speed-dating bandwagon and have come out victorious.
The Perks – Why is it so fun?!
First and foremost, speed dating eliminates pressure – pressure of giving out your phone number even when you don’t want to, pressure of avoiding awkward pauses in conversation, pressure of telling your life story to a stranger you just met. You won’t get stuck with the date that never speaks or the date that talks non-stop, because every date just lasts a few minutes. Granted, you may not get as much time as you’d like with the person you do enjoy, but you have the chance to spend countless hours with that individual after the event is over.
Second, it’s exciting. There’s nothing more exciting than meeting a ton of new potential dates in one evening. And even after the event, the suspense of finding out who has put you on their interest list is thrilling. Nothing beats the feeling of knowing the date you most enjoyed is into you as well.
The Art of Speed Dating
Speed dating might seem simple, but there are four tips you should consider before embarking on your next speed-dating adventure.
1) You are going to meet plenty of new people, so be prepared for anything. At the risk of being boring, many dates will throw some pretty crazy questions at you. Of course, you don’t want to divulge too much personal information to a perfect stranger, but you can politely answer the questions and simply move onto the next topic. When in doubt, smile and nod – fear not, a new date awaits you in just a few minutes!
2) Agree to disagree. Hopefully, your date will not engage in political discussion or religious differences given the short amount of time, but as mentioned before, be prepared for anything. If any disagreements arise, simply avoid them by politely changing the subject. You certainly do not want to be thrown off guard and in a poor mood when meeting the next potential partner. Keep your spirits up! After all, you never know what set of eyes from across the room may be on you.
3) Make time to both ask and answer questions. Since you will only have a few minutes for conversation with your date, it is important that you get to know each other as efficiently as possible. If your date seems to be talking about him or herself for far too long, try to chime in with a relatable experience you have had or an interest you have in common. On the other hand, if you find that your date is asking too many questions, simply reverse the same questions back onto him or her. That way, you both will get ample time to divulge and learn information about one another. In the end, this will make your decision process much easier!
4) Lastly, follow your heart. Cheesy, we know, but by far the most important. Speed dating is all about first impressions; simply trust your instincts about those you meet. If you feel a connection, there probably is one! In speed dating, only you are the best judge of who is right for you.
Sign Me Up!
Now that you are fully prepared for your next speed-dating extravaganza, you are probably asking yourself, ‘Where can I find a speed-dating event near me?’ Good question. Lucky for you, we can help!
Stitch is currently organizing speed-dating events in select areas. If you would like to be notified about when and where future events will be taking place, make sure to sign up to receive the Stitch newsletter. At this time, we are only inviting registered Stitch members to our events, but we will be extending the speed-dating fun to others in the near future. Sign up for our Stitch newsletter here, and we will keep you in the loop!
If you are interested in the digital version of speed dating, or “speed stitching” as we like to call it, check out our Stitch website. Stitch is the real-life version of speed dating over 50; through our service, meeting people is quick and simple. You won’t feel any pressure, and you certainly won’t be stuck with a bad date. If you are not interested in a profile, no problem… onto the next one! If both you and your potential companion express interest in one another, then we will introduce you two! Stitch helps you speed date from your home or wherever you please. Interested? Click here to register with us.
Still unsure of how the whole speed-dating thing works? Click here to watch a movie clip about speed dating for older adults!