How Speed Dating Works

Speed dating is a formal dating process or matchmaking system the purpose of which is to encourage people to meet a large number of new people for the purpose of dating. Its origins are credited to Rabbi Yaacov Deyo as a way to help Jewish singles meet and marry. The word has sense gained a larger meaning, referring to any organized dating event where people meet in a “round robin” fashion to determine if they want to date any of their fellow speed daters. There are speed dating events around the world, and a simple web search can lead you to an event near you.

Speed Dating History

“SpeedDating”, as a single word, is a registered trademark of Aish HaTorah, the Rabbi Yaacov Deyo’s company. “Speed dating”, as two separate words, is often used as a generic term for similar events and is not trademarked in any way. The first speed-dating event took place at Pete’s Café in Beverly Hills, California in late 1998. Soon afterward, many restaurants, bars, and commercial services began offering non religious related speed dating events across the United States. By 2000, speed dating had gained enormously in popularity, probably because of its portrayal in popular TV shows like Sex and the City and Psych — in which speed dating is shown as glamorous and fashionable. Supporters argue that speed dating saves time, as this type of dating allows people to quickly decide if they are romantically compatible. You know what they say about first impressions –and speed dating is all about first impressions.

Why Speed Date?

How Speed Dating WorksSpeed dating has some immediately apparent and obvious advantages over meeting people at bars or clubs — for one thing, everybody at the speed dating event is there to meet and potentially date someone. Also, at these events, people are grouped into compatible age ranges, gender ratios, ethnic similarities, political affiliations, etc. Speed dating is efficient (in terms of time), and the structured interaction eliminates the need to blindly walk up and introduce oneself. Unlike many bars, a speed dating event will take place in a quiet enough environment for people to talk comfortably. No more shouting in a person’s ear and straining to hear their response.

A speed dater can attend the event alone without feeling out of place, or a group of friends can go to a speed dating event in a group to provide pre speed dating moral support. This “group speed dating” also gives you a chance to gossip about the speed daters after the event is over with, and your friend can help you decide to pursue a certain person.

How Speed Dating Works

Men and women meet at a predetermined location after “registering”. They are then rotated to meet each other over a series of short “dates”, usually lasting from 3 to 8 minutes depending on the organization running the event. At the end of each “date”, the organizer rings a bell or clinks a glass to signal the participants to move on to their next date. At the end of the entire event, participants turn a “worksheet” in to the organizers — a list of who they would like to provide their contact info such as email or phone number and potentially make a date. When there is a match, contact information is forwarded to both interested parties. It may seem impersonal and even kind of emotionally “numb” to some people, but speed dating takes the guesswork out of the dating game. Contact information cannot be traded during the initial meeting, in order to reduce pressure on a person to accept or reject a future date.

These events typically require advance registration, often an online prepayment by credit card or some other method. However, speed dating events may also accept a few “walk ins” when a balance is needed to complete the gender ratio. Some services make use of waiting lists when users attempt to sign up, to attempt to achieve an exact gender ratio — still other speed dating services have a more “party” atmosphere, and merely create a kind of social “mixer” where the gender ratio may not be exact.

There are many speed dating events now in the UK, Canada, and the US. Many of these simply specify an age range for their customers, sometime they’re looking for equal ages, sometimes the events are geared toward women looking for older and more “mature” men. Many speed dating organizers also offer specialized events such as nights for college graduates only, gays and lesbians, younger men with older women, book lovers, ethnic group related events, and speeed dating according to religious affiliation.

The actual match making takes place after the speed dating event, and because of this, people don’t feel pressured to select or reject each other up front or in person. None of us like rejecting people to their faces — that’s why so many breakups happen on Facebook or via text message. In speed dating, feedback is delayed, as participants must wait a day or two for their results to come in, and the pressure is completely off. The time limit imposed on each date means that you won’t be stuck with a terrible date for very long, and the short date time prevents participants from taking too much of another person’s time. The only downside of this random coupling? A pair who decide early on in the speed date that they are incompatible will have to sit out the duration of the round. Worst case scenario, this means 6 or 7 minutes of awkward silence and drink sipping, as opposed to an entire evening of vain attempts to make a date work.

Most speed dating events match people at random, and participants will meet different types of people than they might normally talk to in another social situation. Open up your dating horizons, and look for a speed dating event near you. As mentioned above, you can even choose to attend a specific speed dating event, such as Speed Dating for Liberals or Christian Speed Dating. That 6 or 7 minute date may be all you need to find Mr. or Miss Right.