First Impressions are often wrong but lasting! I think that phrase is totally accurate in speed dating. If you have seen the movie Hitch or 40 Year Old Virgin there are scenes in those movies that highlight speed dating but it is best viewed in person. It was a true step out of my comfort zone, as I am not typically up for such events in the social community scene, but I’m a new man now. As I was on my way to my first speed dating experience, I was texting a friend and mentioned how “nervous” I was…. the response ” be yourself, be confident, don’t set high expectations, you’re going to meet new friends”. I asked “do I wear a jacket?”…. no jacket was the response. I trust my friend so I went with no jacket. I arrived early, but that is standard for me, and scoped out the room and the process, which was new to me.
As the room filled, a balance of men and women packed the room, about 54 total people. Each table, or pairings of tables, had a table number and as I checked in, my name badge had a number, lucky number 13. The process was to move clockwise around the room, men moved table to table the ladies stayed put with a 15 minute break at the halfway mark. Happy Hour was in force and most were sipping on a beverage of sorts.
This was quite an experience for me and wondered why it taken so long for me to look into this process. I had been in several long-term relationships, so that may have jilted my interest, but I am a believe now. I’d say don’t knock it, until you try it, you only live once right? The process started on time with a few ground rules, mostly about having 5 minutes to interact, and move on, when the buzzer sounds, as everyone is moving at the same time. My challenge with the event was it was only 5 minutes per person, and how can I keep my questions fresh enough/ unique enough to pique interest and at the same time, determine the “First Impression”. Within that time you also needed to document with one or two words, who you just met and whether you want to connect with them in the future.
As you move from table to table pleasantries are exchanged and then you basically had enough time to ask one question, because each has to answer. Depending on the question, the answer can be quite lengthy. During my experience, there were several groups of ladies that came together, like a girls night out experience, and one group was celebrating a birthday party. This is an arena where everyone is accepted, and while you may be competing with other guys/ girls, you have to set what your expectations are.
Some of the questions ranged from: How would you spend $1,000,000? What brought you to Colorado/ Denver? Have you been married before? What exotic country have you traveled too? What is your favorite beer? What is your favorite restaurant in Denver?What is your occupation? What are you looking for? A unique question I had been how did I feel about marijuana being legalized? All the questions were great, and some had prepared for more than one question in case you find yourself in that odd awkward moment of silence. Remember, you only have 5 minutes, and less if the guy in front of you is a bit chatty.
So the tips? Dress to impress, it’s the reason you are there. Arrive on time, but if you arrive early, you can meet and greet a few up front. Firm handshake, smile, speak clearly. Be ready with your questions, prepare 3-6 depending on time, to switch it up, and in case of that awkward silence.. Be yourself, sincere, interested in who you are talking to, not the next person, or the last one, but the one you are with right now. Don’t drink too much, maintain eye contact. Have fun, enjoy life.
It’s funny, I look back on that night, and I don’t remember any of the other guys, but I remember the ladies that “piqued my interest”. Remember I mentioned to keep track of who you met, a quick one word reminder…. you turn in your “matches” sheet at the end of the evening, and within the next day or so, you get your matches, names, and contact info. Out of the 27, I was interested in 10, and got “matches” with 7. Of the 7 I have had dates with 6, and will likely stay in touch with one of the 6. At least that’s how I see it now.
I would definitely do the speed dating again, after all, I’m looking to meet new friends, and maybe that special someone may be there. For now, I’m content with where I am, I have great friends near and far, and I have is time on my side. Don’t knock it, until you try it!