“It’s a crapshoot. You never know what’s going to stick!” – George, past attendee and speed dating match
On April 18, 2017, the first Do Sask Saskatoon Speed Dating event took place on the third floor of the Hose & Hydrant Pub.
In celebration of my first anniversary, I invited attendees from the very first speed dating event to share their success stories. With 11 people in attendance it was an intimate crowd. Fast forward twelve months. Speed dating has had more than a dozen successful events, hundreds of matches, and lots of singles ditching their smartphones for some real face time.
Do Sask began with a goal to help people get connected on a deeper level to the community around them. With all the buzz, I’m sure you’re just as curious as I am about how speed dating has an impact on attendees once the event is over.
This week, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from two of my very first attendees, a lady named Kate* and a gentleman named George*, who are now in a long-term relationship.
Kate and George have been seeing each other since meeting at speed dating last year. When I asked them if they would let me interview them on their experience, they agreed. I talked to each interviewee separately and encouraged them to give honest answers.
Read on if you’re interested in learning about how a real speed dating match develops into a relationship.
“Speed dating for me was far better than using POF or Tinder, it was a lot more personal and allowed for a better chance at a good first impression.
I matched with Kate and we’re still together. We were friends for the first little bit and then started dating later in the year. I think the benefit of speed dating is putting people together in a room and taking away the ease of making a quick judgment call and moving on, it forces a bit of conversation and getting to know the other person a little bit more than you would see on a dating profile.”
“I am happy to say that George and I (whom I met that night) are still together. It was 7 months of being in a relationship as of April 1st. We wanted to be friends for a little bit once we met and he asked me to start a relationship on September 1st at the fireworks festival.
I’m so happy I took a chance and went, took a chance and checked yes and I have you to thank 🙂 so Thank you! I hope that mine and George’s relationship continues to bloom and see where this adventure takes us :)”
What did you think about speed dating before you came?
George: “I heard about speed dating from the movies, but I didn’t know what to expect going into it. I was going in with an open mind.”
Kate: “Honestly the first thing that came to my mind was the scene in the movie Hitch when they have speed dating at the end of the movie. I knew it was meeting someone, you talk for a couple of minutes, then you go on to the next one. Check yes, or no. And if you match ‘yes’ you exchange numbers. I didn’t know what to expect as far as the kind of people I would meet, or anything like that.”
What did you want out of speed dating?
G: “I was single and I was going into it looking for somebody to build a relationship with. [I attended the first event] which only had a few girls to choose from, but it was far better than the online dating apps. Apps are super impersonal. It’s way better to have that face-to-face contact. You get more of a chance to actually get to know the person.”
K: “I was interested in going out for a night just to have fun and possibly meet some new people. I wasn’t expecting to meet someone that I would end up dating for the next 7 months. I was also really craving wings and a Caesar, so I thought, “Oh, this is a great opportunity.””
Were the rules of speed dating (don’t talk about profession or where you live) difficult to follow?
G: “[‘What do you do?’] is an easy conversation starter, so it was difficult at first to avoid that. But it made sense. It’s a bad conversation unless someone happens to have a really cool job. A job is just a means to an end in most cases. It’s far better to get to know the person’s passions and interests first.”
How’s your life been since attending?
G: “[I have been seeing] Kate the whole time since speed dating, so afterwards I wasn’t playing the field. She mentioned that she wanted to take it slow at first as friends and I was fine with that. I deleted the dating apps and I wasn’t planning on actually using them until I knew what was going on with Kate. I wanted to pursue Kate.”
K: “I obviously met George and things have gone really well. We were friends for about 4 months after we had made our first “date”. About a week after speed dating on April 25, we set a coffee date. I wanted to take things slow [and] he wanted to take things slow. Then on September 1st at the fireworks festival, he asked me if I wanted to be in a relationship [with him]. I said ‘yes’ and it just kind of went from there.
I hate this cliché, but the [phrase] ‘it happens when you least expect it’ is kind of true. I met someone! It was fun. There was no pressure to check ‘yes’, so I didn’t leave thinking I made a bad choice.”
How do you feel about dating apps?
G: “I’ve used them before, but they weren’t all that effective. I went on a few dates, and maybe it was because the dates didn’t go well, that I didn’t find them to be all that great. I was also hesitant to move past chatting online. From talking with friends, there are very few relationships that start from that. It doesn’t give you enough information.”
K: “Prior to speed dating, I tried online dating. I was in several relationships from that and none of them ever worked. There were so many options to meet guys. [Speed dating] is a smaller pool to choose from. I wasn’t thinking, “I need to find someone right now” whereas when I was online dating, [I was thinking] “is this going to be the next guy?”
I was mainly on POF because it was free. I had tried online dating for 4-5 years. I tried the paid sites like eHarmony, Christian Mingle, and Match.com, [too].
The funny thing [about] comparing speed dating vs. online dating is…
When I went to speed dating I met these people and I knew nothing about them. I was so used to having a guy’s profile and knowing as much as I could about [him]. [I] could potentially Facebook creep [him] to learn even more before meeting.
At speed dating, you’re going out on a limb and you know nothing about the other people [in attendance] at all. Even age was [a mystery], but it worked out. The person you meet at speed dating has a clean slate. You’re getting a first impression only and it’s nice.
We have so much technology in this world that we’re actually becoming more disconnected than connected. You can connect with someone across the globe, right? So speed dating actually [forces] you meet them face-to-face.”
George and Kate had differing experiences with online dating and apps before attending speed dating. George said dating profile information didn’t give him enough substance to take the relationship offline, whereas Kate felt that the online dating experience leads to information overload and a disconnected society.
Their relationship began when they both set aside their expectations for a night out and decided to take a chance on speed dating.
Do you feel like four minutes in person is enough to make a decision?
G: “You get more of an [idea] of who they are than the picture and a profile. When chatting, you get a sense of what they’re like with eye contact, real interaction, body language, interest, and chemistry.
I find [speed dating] to be way better than online dating. [Speed dating] is a lot more uncomfortable, especially at the start. The ice breakers force everybody to go and talk to each other, so you’ve already learned a little bit about them before the speed dating aspect of it.”
What was the most frustrating thing about dating before meeting your speed dating match?
G: “The quick judgments. People would just stop messaging because they have a lot more options. I don’t know for sure, but it seems like males outnumber females, so it’s difficult to crack through and stand out.”
K: “I guess at first [I’m thinking], “omigosh am I texting him too much or not enough?” or “omigosh he said this what does that mean?” I’m just being a girl and overthinking things. Getting over that period of [wondering if it will] work or not [is tough].
I have a faith-based aspect – I am religious – and that was a big issue with a lot of guys I dated. A lot of guys said it’s a nice idea, but “it’s not for me.” So that was slightly frustrating. George and I have similar beliefs when it comes to [religion], so it’s really nice. It’s kind of weird how that worked out. The chances of [matching with someone religious] seem quite low, but [we are] an exception to the rule.”
Why would you recommend speed dating to others?
G: “You don’t really meet anybody at a grocery store or out and about anymore. You go in to a [speed dating event] with an intent of starting a small relationship. Everybody knows why everybody is there.
There’s something to be said for getting out of your comfort zone and putting yourself out there. And you don’t know what’s going to happen at that point. You have one night where you can meet  or more girls. It allows for more opportunities.”
K: “I’ve recommended it a lot because people ask how George and I met and I say “speed dating”. They [are surprised] that we have that [here in Saskatchewan]. I know two people who are going to be doing it this week.
I definitely recommend it because it’s a different experience. Online dating is always gonna be there, but [Saskatoon] hasn’t had speed dating. And it’s fun!”
Last year, I started Do Sask with a goal to help people get connected on a deeper level to the community around them. Everyone that works up the courage to attend speed dating provides fuel for this idea to continue to grow right here on the prairies.
Thanks for stepping out of your comfort zones. Here’s hoping Saskatoon speed dating has many more match success stories to come!
UPDATE FROM KATE, MAY 27, 2019
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think how lucky I am to have met George and took that leap to go and try speed dating.
I will admit there was a small part of me that day I decided to go to it, where I looked at the event and thought that would be fun but not go. I think that happens lots with people, where they think it sounds good but not follow through with it whether it be fear, not thinking it’ll be worth it, laziness or whatever. But I’m so glad I did it!!
And we are doing soooo good 🙂 I love him to the moon and back! He is my best friend, we talk about anything and everything. His family loves me, my family loves him. It’s amazing. It’ll actually be 2 years and one month as of today (May 25th) that we went for our first meet up after speed dating on April 17th. And it’ll be 2 years of officially dating as of September this year. ”
UPDATE FROM KATE, SEPTEMBER 3, 2019
“I’m happy to announce that George and I are engaged. He asked me Saturday, August 31 on a picnic/hike in cranberry flats.
Needless to say it feels so right!! And he did a good job with the ring picking too.
Anyways I thought I’d share this awesome news before posting it since it was you who bravely started an event to help people possibly meet someone to spend the rest of their lives together. So thank you for doing what you do and I hope you have many more success stories.”
On the night of speed dating, there are always a few people who chose not to show up. It can be difficult to gather the internal motivation to see it through, but Kate and George’s story proves that it’s worth the effort.
DO YOU have a speed dating match SUCCESS story? share yours Now.
*Names have been changed to protect the couple’s privacy. Testimonials have been lightly edited for clarity.
Speed dating match testimonials are honest and genuine. However, they don’t guarantee similar match results.