By Katherine Lee, LCSW
As millennials, many of us have grown accustomed to online dating. In a busy metropolitan city, particularly, online dating seems “the only way” to meet someone these days. While online dating can have success rates, it comes with its own set of challenges familiar to many of us. Maybe you thought you had a connection with someone over messaging, only to find out that you didn’t click in person. The pictures looked different online, or the chemistry is just not there upon meeting. Repetitive online dating disappointments can lead to an overall weariness, and desire to throw in the towel when it comes to trying to meet someone.
I am a huge proponent of speed dating in that it can cut the amount of time spent uncertain about whether there will be initial chemistry with a person. Seeing and chatting with a potential mate face to face (albeit for only a few moments), certainly gives more of a clue as to whether there is, or may be a spark. Questions asked during your moments together can also provide important information about dating intentions. “What is the one thing about yourself you’d like me to know,” or, “tell me what you’re looking for in a relationship,” are questions that may indicate this person is looking for more than a fling, for instance. And if you’re turned off by a date’s choice of ice-breaker questions or feel they’re not the right match, you get the privilege of moving on rather than wasting an evening.
Are there flaws unique to speed dating? Absolutely. Aside from the fact that instant attraction doesn’t always lead to long-term compatibility, there’s a possibility you may not match with folks. Some studies have garnered interesting data about selecting dates during speed dating events, based on the format of the event itself. One such study found that the person who rotates seats (frequently the man in a speed dating event) chooses to match with more dates on average than the individual who remains seated. http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090602/full/news.2009.537.html. Another study found that when the number of participants in a speed-dating event increases, people tend to select dates more often based on visuals, i.e. age, height, physical attractiveness, etc. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/shopping-for-love/. While this may not necessarily be such a bad thing—it can certainly lead to missed opportunities.
While speed dating is hardly a perfect science—I believe it offers the opportunity to help waive some of the frustrations I commonly hear people talk about when it comes to online dating. Other than that, it can be a fun experience, especially if you go with a group of friends. Try it and you may find yourself developing a renewed zest for getting back out there into the dating scene.
by Katherine Lee, LCSW.