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What is Speed Dating?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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Speed dating is an organized social event that allows a single person to meet many other single people at once rather than just going on a date with one person. Typically, speed dating sessions are held at a club, restaurant or other venue and people speak to each other in groups of two while enjoying a drink or some food. Usually, each group is limited to less than 10 minutes of chatting before one member rotates to form a new group of two.

Speed dating participants are often allowed to discuss whatever they wish as long as certain rules are followed. Typically, the participants cannot exchange contact information during the speed date. Instead, they must make a note of the people they are interested in seeing again. A few days after the speed dating event, participants are given the names and contact information of those that would like to see them again.

The invention of speed dating is credited to Rabbi Yaacov Deyo who tried the method on Jewish singles in his congregation to help them find potential marriage partners. Most speed dating sessions today require pre-registration with a credit card. Pre-registration is important because there needs to be an even number of males and females. Of course, in same-sex speed dating events this isn't necessary. Prequalification is important in some speed dating groups if the group is targeted to certain ages such as seniors only or under 30s only, although many speed dating groups are not age specific.

Fairly common in both North America and Europe, speed dating can be a real time saver for singles looking to meet that special person. The method is designed to be organized and regulated and typically up to 100 singles participate in any given speed dating event. Meeting so many people at once can also be good practice for those wanting to develop their skills at talking with new people. Plus, when the couple meets again they will already know a little bit about each other.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By dega2010 — On Jan 12, 2011

@dinoleash: I actually tried speed dating once. It took place at a restaurant/bar in the town that I live in. It was very organized and they actually gave us a hand out with some questions that we might want to ask our potential “dates”. Some of the questions were:

Where do you call home? Are you currently attached to anyone? What is your occupation? What do you like to do for fun? What is the most interesting fact about you that your friends might not even know? What are you looking for in a dating relationship? What are your religious views?

Those are some tips that might make your speed dating a success. I would avoid online speed dating.

By DinoLeash — On Jan 09, 2011

My best friend told me that I should try speed dating services. I am not sure that I want to go that route, though. During the few minutes that you are with a person, what should you ask?

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