Slow Down When Speed Dating


by Alina B

Jconnect puts on some awesome speed dating events, so I’d like to share some tips on how you can get the most out of speed dating.

Most people go speed dating hoping to meet ‘The One’… and I think this is the number one mistake you can make. Seriously, why would you put so much pressure on a 7-minute conversation?  After 2 months I still wasn’t sure if my current partner was the one - all I knew is that I wanted to speak to him again, and so I kept going with it, one date at a time. And we’re still here!

This is the same philosophy you should adopt to get more out of your next speed dating experience… or any date, for that matter. Stop trying to figure out if your date is ‘hot or not’ and just focus on the conversation. All you need to be asking yourself is - could I bear another-7 minute conversation with this person? If the answer is yes - then circle their name! And approach your fledging relationship 7 minutes at a time…

Now, 7 minutes can be a LONG time if you don’t have anything to talk about, so get innovative and break the ice. I’m not really down with pre-prepared questions - unless you really need them. They tend to stifle conversation and make it a little awkward, no?  Why depend on something planned when, given the chance, your conversation can genuinely evolve?

Start out simple, a lot of people hate the dreaded “What do you do?” question, but I actually don’t mind it - I think people’s work is so interesting! We spend most of our life at work, so we would definitely have something interesting to say about it… Do they love it? Hate it? Run their own business? If they dislike their work, what do they dream of doing instead? There is your 7 minutes right there!

As you chat, watch your date’s body language. Notice their sense of humour and their energy.  It’s not what you talk about, it’s how the story is told that can create a connection. You can talk about bin liners for all I care - you will still charm if you do it with personality.

Another great topic that seems to get everyone talking is travel. Where have you been? Where are you going? What’s on your bucket list and why? Did you take a gap year? Travel talk is always full of funny and inspired stories. “Plan on going anywhere this year?”  is an easy question that should lead to some great conversation.

So what NOT to talk about? That’s easy - past relationships or future expectations. Seriously - too soon, too much pressure! Save it for the (5th) date. Don’t discuss how long you’ve been single, what you're looking for in a partner or what when wrong in your last relationship. You are meant to be getting to know each other as friends right now and that type of talk so soon can make everyone feel kinda icky.

In general, 7 minutes is enough time to quickly connect and bring your A-game. Treat every person with genuine respect. Even if they are not your ‘type’ (careful what you wish for!), you never know who they know. They can become an amazing friend, career contact - or introduce you to your future spouse. Be present, kind and courteous and give each person your undivided attention.

Speed dating is an incredible opportunity where like-minded people are under one roof, seeking the same goal. Everyone is open to meet you and talk to you! By approaching these conversations as new human connections, rather than your potential soul mates will take the pressure off your evening and ensure you have a great night.