Speed dating a cure for internet dating?

Speed Dating

My now good friend Northern Lass 32 (well she feels like one) is writing again… This time about speed dating after I advised her that speed dating with online dating keeps things interesting and quite real.

The Manchester based dating blogger Cubic Garden had mentioned to me that he had more success meeting suitable dates speed dating than he had internet dating. So we figured it was worth putting any preconceptions to one side and giving it a go.

Not quite what I said but close enough. I’ve found the dates have come from both about equal but maybe speed dating wins out by a couple.

Preconceptions out the way and they go for it… Its a weird one, I’m not sure whats worst in most peoples minds? Online dating or Speed dating? To be fair I’ve done more than enough of both to go well beyond most peoples preconceptions.

On the way to the club, Dan was also growing increasingly conscious of what to ask when it came to opening questions. It was beginning to dawn on him that this was a night of intensive small talk. “Dunno,” I helpfully advised. “Pay them a compliment, then hopefully they will start asking questions?” We hadn’t thought this through … Dan doesn’t like small talk and I’m nosey so would probably seem a bit interrogate-y. But we had arrived and there was no point backing out.

What do you talk about is the number one question most people ask me… And I refer to the Stanford research on speeddating

Two researchers at Stanford University in California were just as intrigued by speed dating as I was. They found that there are a few key factors of the standard four-minute speed date that predict whether two people are likely to hit it off. They rounded up students to take part in a series of recorded speed dating sessions, then analyzed 1,100 transcripts of the subjects’ dates.

According to the study, men and women most often said they clicked when their conversation focused mainly on the women. Women were more likely to report connecting with men who used appreciative language (like “That’s great!”). Women also reported greater levels of connection with men who interrupted them — but only when they did so to show understanding and engagement (like “Exactly”).

Counterintuitively, asking questions was not necessarily a hallmark of a good dating conversation. Asking questions actually signals a lack of connection, most likely because it indicates that the participants feel the need to put effort into keeping a boring conversation going. Signs of a good conversation are much more subtle, like the variation in speech volume.

While some previous research on speed dating has found that physical attractiveness is the most powerful force determining whether two people are initially attracted to each other, the Stanford study proves there’s more going on. Another study found that speed-dating couples with similar speaking styles were more likely to report a mutual connection.

Its the small talk between a small number of questions. Too many questions and some-things up. To be fair if you can get a load of questions in 3-4mins then your questions are pretty crap and very much yes/no questions leading no where fast.

From inside the cubicle I could hear two girls discussing Dan and how nice they thought he was. Resisting the urge to be the source of mad squealings from behind the toilet door – “Yes – date Dan … both of you … he’s ace!” – I casually walked out and then ran off to the bar to tell him. Apparently a kind of friendship paradox had just occurred, as he too had stood next to a couple of blokes who were discussing how they would like to “give me one”. Aaaaawww … this was turning out to be dead romantic!

This is the factor which is really interesting… After the main event, specially on a weekend. Its a good time to hit the city with a bunch of new friends and a love interest. If your good you might even turn some of those no’s into yes’s in your love interest’s mind. Of course its too late to change the written sheet of but its been known to maybe walk away with a number or three after a night out. For love or forever friends.

It really depends how you look at things but the night is young and opportunities are abound.

The funny thing about speed dating is its almost the total opposite of online dating. You know nothing about each other and your thrust together for a short while face to face. Can you sink or swim?  Can you hack it or will the hackles get you? Its certainly not for everyone but that’s like online dating too I guess.

It works for me, (meeting lovely women and all)  with a certain amount of caution required, as you can see in my last post

Lastly… interesting and lovely to hear Northern lass has found someone and it seems to be going well…

I looked at the details of my match on the email. I knew I wasn’t going to call him. While all this had been going on, I’d been on a couple more dates with the man I’d met on a dating site a few weeks previously.

I’d been honest with him about everything from the start, the Facebook stalking of him before we met to ensure he wasn’t a mass murderer, the writing of this column, the speed dating with someone I had met dating, and he didn’t seem fazed by any of it.

We had entered into that relationship grey area. Though there had been no discussion of us being an item, it just didn’t feel right to be contacting another person

Looks like her post months ago was maybe a little rushed/misguided (remember how it irked me and irked her) and of course adds a little more strength to my argument that Facebook is online dating’s biggest threat.

Hope it all works out Northern Lass 32! Honestly… we’ve only known each other a short while but through her writing and our brief date I feel like I know her a lot more. Good on you…!
And remember 32 isn’t far off 34 *smile* I’m still here and can always be tempted to give out more hints and tips I’ve build up in my wikipedia of dating memory *smile again*

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.