I have gone on several maybe 10+ of your speed dating events in Boston and have received only 1 match, which did not progress. At this point I am at the stage where I am not signing up for any more events since they don’t work. Advice?
I understand your frustration, Niru. Much of it comes down to chemistry. Either someone feels that click in those five minutes or they don't. There's not much you can do to control that, but there are things you can do to improve your match rate at a speed dating event.
1. Respect the age ranges - This goes for both men and women. I don't mind if someone is 1 - 3 years older or younger than a stated age range, but more than that and people get really upset. To be blunt, nobody cares how old you look, they care how old you are. They registered to meet people within a specific age range. If someone even slightly looks like they could out of an age range, I hear about it. People seem to get VERY irritated at spending five whole minutes talking to a stranger they feel is "old." Personally, I think ageism has a lot to do with most of these complaints.
2. Dress to impress - You don't need to wear a slinky cocktail dress or suit and tie, but a wrinkled button down or athleisure won't cut it, either. Dress up. Iron your clothes. Wear something that makes you feel confident and attractive. Think about a speed dating event as eight to twelve five-minute first dates. You wouldn't show up to a first date wearing a wrinkled t-shirt and jeans, would you?
3. Write your "bio" ahead of time - Just like on dating apps, you need to have some kind of intro to go along with the visual. Since you only have a few minutes, cover the basics.
Hi. I'm Niru. I'm thirty-eight, live in Cambridge but I'm originally from Seattle and work at an advertising agency.
Not only have you optimized your time by answering likely questions, you've given your date a jumping off point. Now they know something about you and can ask more targeted questions. Also prepare a list of hobbies, favorite vacation spots and movies and one or two fun questions to throw out there and take your speed dating round to the next level. Examples:
If you won ten million dollars in the lottery, would you travel the world for the rest of your life or bank the money and keep working?
Do you prefer dogs or cats and why? You can't say both! (But if they say neither, run! Who doesn't like dogs??)
What do you do to treat your self?
4. Avoid getting personal - Speed dating - and first dates in general - are not the place to unload your personal problems or back story. Conversely, don't ask people if they've ever been married, how often they see their family, or when their last relationship was. That stuff is nobody's business, at least not before you even know if the interest is mutual. You don't want to put anyone on the spot or make them uncomfortable.
5. Don't ask if they're going to select you as a match/Don't tell someone you are selecting them - To put it simply, this makes you look over-eager and aggressive. Nine times out of ten, the other person will lie simply to avoid the ensuing awkwardness.
6. Don't select all your dates as a match - Just like a dating app algorithm, we ding you for that. Your matches are automatically discarded and not tabulated. We don't allow this for one reason: it leads to giving people false hope. Get your ego stroked somewhere else.
7. Pay in advance - We require that people register to monitor the gender ratio. The other, more pertinent, reason is that someone who doesn't want to use their credit or debit card is more likely to be someone who doesn't want to leave a paper trail. Who, for example? Cheaters, for one. Grifters, for another. Along with accounting purposes, this is why we don't accept at-door payments.
Keep in mind that speed dating is very similar to Tinder or Bumble in that you encounter multiple people in a small amount of time and either swipe left or right. What I prefer about speed-dating is that the person is sitting right in front of you. You don't have to worry if you're being scammed or what they look like in real life. You also know if there's a spark or not, something you can't determine by exchanging tedious messages on a dating app.
And finally, you have to remember that it only takes one match to change everything. It's not a statement to your desirability that your match rate is low. It means you haven't met enough potential matches yet. Many of the people that get 2-3 matches per event still come back a few weeks or months later to try again. Just because matches are made doesn't mean they all lead to relationships. This is true for speed dating as well as dating apps. However, I will say that a match at a speed dating event holds more promise than a match made on a dating app, as most of the stuff that makes people ghost - the extended messaging, the inability to determine attraction or chemistry right away - are out of the way.
The problem isn't the method people use to find a match, it's the mentality of the people using it that has made the process more frustrating. Right now, it's all about keeping your sanity and avoiding burnout so you stay in the game and not quit. The platform - speed dating, Bumble,. OKCupid, whatever - will deliver the people. Your job is to keep showing up.