Everybody wants to fall in love. We spend our money at the movie theater watching actors pretend to fall for each other. We buy books full imaginary high romance. Love is in the air, it seems, for everyone but us. That isn’t true, but it can feel that way. In our high tech society, work is more efficient and leisure is more remote. It’s very, very hard to meet new people. No one really wants to open up the can of worms that comes on the side with an order of office romance, but a lot of us still dig in out of sheer desperation.
Fortunately, there is a better way to make that magical connection. Once upon a time, speed dating was laughable in the world of romance. Who would want to make a decision about a potential partner so quickly? It seemed too formulaic for those hoping to swoon into the arms of a kilt-wearing Scotsman on a cliff over the sea. Compared to today’s other popular forms of dating, however, speed dating is downright slow. You get to look into someone’s eyes and have a conversation rather than trying to determine if someone’s profile picture is even real.
We can’t promise you’ll fall in love when you go speed dating, but your chances are actually pretty good. At the very least, you’ll have a good time. No one who’s turned down a date on an app really feels like they enjoyed the time it took to swipe left. Here are a few of the reasons speed dating might just introduce you to your perfect partner.
You Actually Meet Face-to-Face
Every now and then someone makes a creepy movie about someone who falls in love with a painting. It’s unimaginable for most of us, because we’re attracted to actual, breathing, 3-D people, not two dimensional images. This is why so many people have a hard time connecting online. A collection of pixels isn’t going to show you someone’s real expressions. You can try looking deeply into a profile picture’s eyes, but all you’ll get is eye strain and a lecture from your optometrist. Developing an idea of your date through an online profile almost always ends in heartbreak. Meeting is a disappointment. They’re never going to be the person you imagined. When your first meeting is face-to-face, however, all of that changes.
Speed dating is like joining a forum for local singles without the delays, confusion, and outright lies that go with online flirting. As you sit down and introduce yourself to different singles, you can shake hands and make direct eye contact. Everyone wants to have love at first sight, and while you may not feel that instant connection, you’d be surprised how quickly chemistry develops. Just a few minutes of sincere, steady eye contact during a conversation is far more seductive than a hundred instant messages.
Your Relationship Begins with Fun, Not Fear
Our parents always told us not to talk to strangers, especially ones we met online. They usually had good reason for those warnings. We’re quick to forget the risk when we’re flirting with a pretty face through instant messages, but once it comes time to meet in the real world, things can get a little too real. Fear in these situations is perfectly validated.
The news likes to remind us of the danger involved with meeting strange people from the faceless void of the Internet. It’s a very real risk. However, the nerves that go with that anxiety can spoil even perfectly nice, safe dates. It’s hard to know if you’re having dinner with Mr. Right when all you can think about is whether or not he’s a serial killer.
Speed dating is a group exercise. You get to date all the available singles without ever leaving the safety of the herd. This means you get to relax and focus on what the person across from you is saying and doing rather than imagining what weapons they keep in the trunk of their car. All of this boils down to a lesser need for immediate trust. You can get to know interesting people without throwing yourself on the mercy of fate during your first real meeting. If you’re still feeling skeptical, think of it as a party focused on dating. That’s essentially what speed dating is anyway. You’re all there to have fun. Some may find a special someone, but you’ll all have a good time regardless.
You Move Through Options Quickly
There’s nothing like meeting up with an online date and realizing within five seconds that everything they’ve ever said about themselves was a lie. They don’t look like the picture, they clearly Googled the answers to all the Friends trivia you sent them, and they smell distinctly like an older woman’s basement. We don’t know exactly what that smell is, but we know it when it hits us.
Speed dating never leaves you to suffer through an awkward date for more than a few minutes. Once the gong rings or the buzzer buzzes, you’re free to dive back into the dating pool. If you didn’t feel comfortable with someone, you never have to see them again. A bad connection ends almost as soon as it begins. Then you get to move on in search of love. Since speed dating attracts such a variety of singles, you’re unlikely to repeat the same experience twice.
You won’t find your love when you’re sitting alone at home, and as much as we all love wine, you won’t find prince charming at the bottom of that bottle of Prosecco, either. Speed dating is a no pressure way to get out, meet people, and have actual conversations. Direct eye contact is a bonus. Maybe you’ll find someone your first time out, or maybe you’ll find him after a few visits. You’ll never know who you’re missing if you don’t give it a try.