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Speed Dating

By Joanne Elliott

Speed dating is basically a broad term that describes an organised gathering of single people who would like to meet other single people. There are several different formats including the number of individuals who are there, the venues, theme nights etc but the set up of the events generally follow the same sort of pattern.

Upon arrival at the speed dating venue, the individual signs in and is given a name tag, a number, or both. Usually there is some sort of complimentary drink and an informal area where everybody congregates until all attendees have arrived. Specific rules of the evening will be explained, and then couples will then be paired up at random by the organiser. This is often done in a large room where tables and chairs are laid out in a circle.

When the speed dating session begins each couple will then have a set amount of time to talk to one another. The couple can talk about anything they would like, as if it were a first date. Common questions and topics of conversation are almost always fairly straightforward, such as interests, career, hobbies, family etc. There are no guidelines for this and each conversation will differ, however it has to be noted that overly personal or intrusive questions should be avoided at all costs. You are perfect strangers after all and social rules of etiquette still apply!

During the course of the speed date each individual will make notes on the other person, and possibly give them a rating out of ten on specific areas. Common examples include 'attractiveness', 'personality', 'common interests' etc. This is all done privately and the information is not shared with the other party. Then after a specific amount of time the date is over. This could be as short a length of time as three minutes depending upon the size of the group. Then each couple will move round one table to their side so that they are sitting opposite an entirely new person and the process starts again.

At the end of the speed date session everybody is given time to look back at their notes and make their decision. Usually the organiser will give out an envelope to each person so that they all have the opportunity to ask a person from the group out on a date. There is never any pressure to do this and it is entirely optional so if you haven't happened to meet anyone you'd like to see again you don't have to!

While you are all relaxing in the communal gathering area the organisers will then collect in all of the envelopes and put the information together. The next stage will depend on the kind of speed dating event that it is. Sometimes the envelopes are given to individuals so that the contents are secret, and they can choose to follow up on the offers without the risk of public refusal. For more adventurous occasions the results will be announced publicly, and the most popular participants are named. So if you feel you may be uncomfortable with public compliments then be sure to check with the organisers of the speed dating events first before taking part!

Get ready... your time starts... NOW!


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