Now that Do Sask has passed the milestone of over a dozen speed dating events in Saskatoon, I’ve gotten to interact with hundreds of singles. Many of them are frustrated with the modern dating scene (and most loathe online dating). As a professional speed dating host, I see the differences between the people who are successful in finding their match and the ones who aren’t. This post is about the five biggest speed dating blunders that all attendees should avoid.
What has really stood out to me during the past year is the behaviour patterns that surface in the individuals who aren’t finding matches. Many of these can be improved with a little effort and self-awareness. My hope is that everyone who has been disgruntled about their matches (or lack thereof) will read this, so that they don’t make the same mistake(s) again.
If you’ve attended a speed dating event in Saskatoon, you already know that it can be a really fun way to meet new people. We have two rules to prevent dates from going down the slippery slope of repetitive, superficial small talk.
So how are some people mucking it up?
Here are five of the biggest speed dating blunders you should totally avoid:
Setting sky-high expectations of the people you meet.
Case in point: this individual who rated speed dating as a garbage event, “1 out of 5 stars . There were no [people] I was interested in.” This is the first (and last) time someone has given speed dating lower than a 3 out of 5 stars.
What could be the reason no one measured up?
Sadly, a holier than thou attitude towards every member of the opposite sex in attendance is a fairly common speed dating blunder. If this rings true with you, it’s likely that more internal work needs to be done before you consider speed dating.
No one is perfect. You shouldn’t expect one person to immediately check all the boxes on your long list of wants. And I don’t screen everyone who buys a ticket to be perfect for you. That’s the beauty of it!
Instant attraction is not a good indicator of match potential. To dismiss the thought of going for a coffee with someone because they couldn’t impact your brain chemistry in 4 minutes or less will deprive you of a whole segment of the (completely dateable) single population.
Long-term compatibility is a whole lot more complex than visceral attraction. Keep your mind open to forming a more meaningful bond with the people you meet. You never know how the sparks would fly if you won’t take the time to find out more about someone than their looks over a coffee or two.
Note: you should listen to your gut if you’re completely repelled by someone. Obv.
Neglecting to show off your best side.
Before every speed dating event, I send a message with a few friendly reminders to attendees. One of the most important things on the list is to show up as your best self.
There is no dress code at speed dating because I want people to be completely comfortable. However if being comfortable means you haven’t brushed your teeth , or put on deodorant today; forgotten to change after hot yoga; or kept a stained/ripped shirt in your dating wardrobe – that’s a speed dating blunder.
Don’t be surprised if your dates forget to check your name as a ‘yes’.
Putting in a bit of effort not only shows your dates that you care about yourself, but it could make a difference in your match results.
Lacking the ability to live in the moment.
I will never forget the speed dater who constantly asked me every 4 dates when speed dating was over, so they could go to the next event they had planned that night. They even brought a friend who had to wait for them in the pub downstairs. A few days later they emailed me to ask why they hadn’t received any matches.
When you sign up for speed dating you’re indicating that you’ll be present for 2 hours. It’s a speed dating blunder to constantly check your watch, tear through Q & As, and lack the wherewithal to give your full attention to the task at hand: your 4 minute date. Focus on each person to get the most potential out of the night.
Your dates will notice if you seem like you’re in a rush to get on to the next thing. If you’re stuck on how to break this cycle of distraction, check out this article.
Passivity, or aggressiveness.
It should come as no surprise that assertive communicators tend to get the most matches. But I see a lot of speed daters go to extremes of passive or aggressive behaviour because they’re feeling very nervous.
Passivity is best summed up when one of the two daters recedes from the conversation, or doesn’t know how to engage. This occurs when one of the dates makes up their mind that they’re not worthy of the other person’s attention, in other words “giving up too soon”.
This passive behaviour can creep up after the event has ended. For example, when you have your match’s contact details in your inbox and you decide to endlessly text/email instead of making a move to set up your first real (i.e. over 4 minute) date. Spoiler alert: your match wants to be asked out!
The best thing to do with your match’s contact details is to set up a date at a time that works for both of you.
Aggressiveness can rear its ugly head in many ways.
Once at the end of the event when all of the match cards had been handed in, an aggressive attendee called out one of their dates for an innocent comment that was made during the 4 minutes. One of their date matches discretely asked to adjust their match card immediately before leaving.
Another night when everyone was playing an ice breaker game, someone asked some too-personal questions like, “who’s been divorced?” and “who’s an alcoholic?”
People avoid those who are too hostile towards other attendees, even if it is a joke.
It’s totally normal to feel nervous at speed dating, but you’re in control of how you behave. Make sure it’s assertive, or you could lose your matches.
Taking anything you can get.
In contrast to my first point on high expectations, some people will make the mistake of connecting with everyone they meet at speed dating. This is what I call “the shotgun approach”.
Attendees who mark every date as a ‘yes’ or ‘friend’ usually email me overwhelmed with their options. They typically say they made a mistake on their match card and don’t know how to let the other person down without hurting their feelings.
On the other hand, some attendees call to ask me to amend their match card to mark everyone as a ‘yes’. They do this to learn who marked them as a yes, if anyone at all. If this sounds familiar, it’s best to take some time away from speed dating and learn to love yourself a little more. There’s a reason you marked someone a ‘no’.
One of the most valuable lessons speed dating taught me was learning that not everyone is for me. I talk about this point in nearly every speed dating introduction ‘how-to’.
Remember: dates you mark as a ‘yes’ could likely mark you as a ‘yes’. Be cognizant of that when you’re finalizing your decision after every 4 minute date.
Learn from the mistakes of others and avoid these speed dating blunders. I hope these tips will help you improve your results the next time you attend a Do Sask speed dating event.
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