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Speed Dating Tips: What to Ask, What to Wear, and More

BY: Andy Seifert |Jun 1, 2018

180 seconds. The clock is ticking. You're sitting face-to-face with someone who could be your next girlfriend or boyfriend or your future husband/wife and the start of a lifelong relationship ... or it could be someone who you aren't compatible with at all. And you've got 180 seconds to figure out if this person is worth a second date. So, what do you ask?

That's how speed dating can feel for some people: like the pressure is on. If that's what it seems like to you, we wanted to offer some speed dating tips to help you feel relaxed, plus answer some basic FAQs to tie up any loose ends. Read on, and we hope you find someone special:

First off: how does speed dating work?

Before we can get into the nitty-gritty of how to get the most of out of speed dating, we should probably answer the question "what is speed dating, exactly?" for any newbies.

So how does speed dating work? There are some variations, but generally it follows this pattern:

  1. When you arrive, you put on a name tag (often with a nickname) and take a scorecard.
  2. You start your first date, meeting someone for a set amount of time (almost always between 3 and 10 minutes).
  3. After your time is up, the organizer will ring a bell. You'll mark down how much you enjoyed your date, then move to the next table to do the process again.
  4. At the end of the night, you'll share your scorecard with the organizers. They'll match your highest marks with people who felt the same about you and share their contact information.

And that's it!

Where can I go speed dating?

Speed-dating events can happen anywhere, but they usually take place at local restaurants and bars. To find speed dating events near you, click here.

What to Ask on a Speed Date

You want to stand out to your prospective dates. One of our best speed dating tips is to avoid asking the same old questions that you (and the others) are going to hear over and over again all night long, namely "what do you do for a living?" or "what are your hobbies?" Try these questions to start a memorable conversation:

  1. "Where are you from?"
  2. "What are you drinking? or "What's your favorite drink?"
  3. "What's the best part of your day?"
  4. "What's the last book/movie you read/saw?"
  5. "Why did you decide to start speed dating?"
  6. "Where do you want to travel to the most?"
  7. "What's a seemingly random childhood memory of yours?"
  8. "Is this your first time speed dating? How do you like it?"
  9. "Are you a morning person or a night owl?"
  10. "Dogs or cats?"
  11. "Country or the city?"
  12. "Did Han shoot first?" (note: maybe save this for the second date)

What to Wear to Speed Dating

You want to make a good first impression, so don't be too sloppy with your clothes.

That said, you also want to be comfortable, so don't go overboard and wear something too formal. Wear whatever you might wear on a date to a decent restaurant. For guys, that might mean a button-down or polo shirt, with an optional jacket. For gals, perhaps a dress or a nice top with jeans.

How to Act at a Speed Date

Here are some general speed dating tips for making a good impression and increasing the likelihood of finding a match:

Smile and laugh.

Hopefully, you'll do this naturally, but even a polite smile at the top of the conversation will help your date feel at ease.

Don't get too intoxicated.

This should go without saying, but a prospective date will want to judge you sober. Plus, you'll be a better judge of them while you're sober. Keep it to one drink—two drinks max.

Don't talk about heavy stuff.

Like religion, politics, death, or metaphysics—that's second-date stuff.

Don't hog the conversation.

Do your best to keep your discussion at an equitable 50/50 share. Remember, you might only have 180 seconds, so don't spend all three minutes going on and on about something frivolous, like George Lucas's disastrous decision to make Greedo shoot before Han, which doesn't make any sense within the context of Han's character.

How long do speed dating events last?

This depends on how many people attend the event. The more attendees, the longer the event. But with 20–30 people per event, you can generally plan on it lasting about 60–90 minutes.

How old do you have to be to speed date?

It depends! Most events will specify the age range of attendees, but they can range from young adult to much older. If you're unsure, contact the organizers.


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