When I signed up for speed dating, I had nothing to lose…
I don’t date. Like ever. It’s not that I don’t have an interest in dating, it’s just that I’ve never really put myself in a position to date. I always made up the excuse of never having enough time, wanting to wait until I finished my studies or at least until some handsome guy came along and knocked me off my feet. But when a colleague suggested we try speed dating as a little experiment that could maybe lead to more, I thought, why not give it a try? I mean, Drake said it best: YOLO.

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So the days leading up to it, I was particularly nervous, but actually kind of excited to meet new people. The only thing I know about speed dating is what I’ve seen in movies, where the result was never great. To say I was a bit apprehensive was an understatement.

So, How Does It Work?

Before I get down to the nitty gritty, here’s a quick 101 on speed dating. Usually the women are asked to disperse themselves around the room and the men would come around and chat to you for a few minutes. But because the turn-out for this particular event was poor, the four guys who showed up sat at the tables and the five women had to make their rounds, spending five minutes chatting at each station.

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We were each given a piece paper on which we were told to write the person’s name and tick what type of relationship we might want with him. The categories were: romantic, friendship or business. At the end of the event, if you have a match with someone, you can exchange details and take it from there.

My First Thoughts…

I’m not going to lie, if you asked me, “What’s the first thing that comes to my mind when you hear ‘speed dating?'” I would have told you desperate singles. Now, after just one experience, I can’t tell you that I’m completely wrong about that, but the people I met didn’t give off that vibe at all. Not that it stopped me from thinking, “This is so sad.” And I included myself in that.

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I would’ve thought that speed dating would be someone’s last resort, on par with allowing your mom to set you up. But I have to admit that the guys who attended gave some pretty good reasons for speed dating. One mentioned that he never had time to date as he was completing his studies in biochemical engineering. So, for him, speed dating allowed him to meet a bunch of women in one convenient space. Another guy admitted to having tried a popular dating app and just not finding the type of relationship he was looking for.

I realised I might have been too quick to judge the whole speed dating thing. It actually makes total sense to try it out. We live in such a fast-paced world, where things are always changing – and that includes dating. If you find yourself not having the time to date, not ever putting yourself in a position to date or just not having a big dating pool, then speed dating might be just the thing for you. The best part: if things don’t work out, you never have to see those people again!

Awkward Conversations

Talking to complete strangers can be awkward. Talking to someone you know could be dating potential – awkward AF. Now, I’m no introvert, but talking to guys can get me a bit tongue-tied. One of the tips they gave us was to think of questions that would tell you if the other person could be a potential match. Okay… what does that even mean? Was I supposed to ask him if he was a feminist? (Because if he said no, boy bye.) The best I could muster was, “So, why are you doing this?”

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But once the initial questions were asked, it wasn’t that bad. The guys weren’t bad conversationalists and although I didn’t hit it off with any of them, I discovered it could be pretty easy to talk to strangers. The fact that you never have to see these people again gives you the confidence to say what you want to say and the time restriction allows you to cut to the chase and skip the small talk.

Not That Bad

All in all, this experience was not horrible. Would I do it again? Maybe. I think this means of finding a partner, be it romantic or friendship, can work. It’s fast, and once you get past your initial nervousness, it’s quite easy. And in all honesty, you have nothing to lose and a potential partner or friendship to gain. Either way, its a win-win.

If anything, you’ll walk away from this experience feeling more confident about dating. For me, this was a fairly good dip in the pond. It gave me more confidence about talking to men in a setting that could potentially lead to romance.

I realised that you can know if you’re compatible (or not) with someone in minutes. And that sometimes you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone if you want something.

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At the end of the night, I didn’t go home feeling giddy about a cute guy I met. I fell asleep as single as I was two hours before. But I also fell asleep a bit more confident about this whole dating thing and with the hope that maybe it wouldn’t be so hard after all.

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com