Social media and dating apps like Tinder have allowed people to hide behind screens while they get to know each other. Exchanging messages via keyboard makes it easier for those looking for love to send a flirty message or two. But would you feel the same way if this communication took place face-to-face, without the time to type perfectly fitting answers?
The idea of speed dating is a simple one. During the event, men and women rotate around the room in a series of short dates that last from three to eight minutes. At the end of each one-on-one interaction, the bell rings as a sign for participants to change seats.
At the end of the night, you provide feedback by noting down the dates you enjoyed most, to let the organisers know who you would like to see again. If the other person agrees, your contact information is shared.
Speed dater Amy Gonzalez, 28, said: "When I first heard about speed dating, I couldn't figure out why I spent all these years limiting my Saturday night potential to just one man. Speed dating gave me the opportunity to meet 20 men in one hour and choose the best one out of them."
Kate Mirkin, another speed dating lover, found the idea absurd at first.
Kate was single for six months and had become addicted to dating apps. She’d spend hours on endless online conversations that turned out to be a total waste of time.
Finally, her friends convinced her to give speed dating a try.
"Speed dating is an efficient way to meet people. As an introvert, I like the fact that I'm forced to talk one-on-one with someone, as opposed to going up to a stranger and initiating conversation. It's the best way for people like me to connect," she says.
In comparison to dating apps and online conversations, Kate adds: “It's much more efficient. You get a better sense of the chemistry between you and your date up front. A five minute chat is the best way to determine if you want to see someone again or not.”
Nevertheless, there are still some who consider speed dating a waste of time. Ruth Rainer, 33, was not impressed by any of her five-minute dates.
“I tried speed dating four times. It was awful. I wanted to walk out. Last time I asked for my £22 back,” she says.
Her experience was similar to that of Anastasia Elefth, 27.
“Most speed dating events attract people that cannot find what they are looking for in any other social setting. Their lack of social skills immediately becomes obvious when they start talking to you face to face,” she explains.
Despite the naysayers, speed dating still remains a popular way to meet people. The UK’s biggest speed dating company, SpeedDater, has organised over 10,400 events in the last 14 years and introduced over 204,000 singles to potential suitors. According to SpeedDater, over 80 per cent of attendees find at least one match at their events, with the average age of participants ranging between 21-40 years.
So, if you are single and keen on trying new ways of meeting people, why not give speed dating a try? You never know what could happen.