1. Come with a lap full of tennis balls.
Not literal tennis balls, of course. The tennis balls represent questions that you can continue to throw out at your date when silence falls. Avoid typical questions like “What do you do for fun?” Instead, try reframing that question to say, “What is something you’re passionate about?” Come prepared, or you could find yourself discussing awkward topics such as, cats, her dead plant or everything you ate last night.
2. Keep it light; don’t interrogate your date.
Though there’s a good chance speed dating will lead to marriage, asking questions about wedding colors, middle names and desired number of grandchildren tends to scare off prospective spouses. This is not a litmus test to evaluate someone, but a conversation to get to know someone better.
3. Pay attention to your date.
It can be very tempting to continue to acknowledge the partner with whom you just had the best one-minute conversation of your life. Don’t. It’s disrespectful to the person sitting across from you and may look creepy to the one with whom you just conversed.
4. Make yourself memorable – in a good way.
Intentionality is a good thing. But if you only ask the other person questions, you may come off looking like a creeper. A minute is not a lot of time, so allow them time to ask questions, too. Make the most of every second by revealing what makes you distinctive. You like sports and music; so does everybody else. Instead, talk about your unique ability to lick your elbow or impersonate monkeys.
Junior Glory Bensen, attended last year’s speed dating. She and a small group of friends dressed up and made a night out of this annual NW tradition. “We wanted to look cute,” Bensen said. “Some of the guys dressed up in suits and it was funny.”
Last year, the event was held in the Hub, which caused crowding issues. “It was super packed,” Bensen said. Another problem that came up was the lack of male participation. “There were more girls than guys, which made it hard to rotate. There was a line of girls just waiting to sit down with a guy. It took a really long time,” said Bensen.
Bensen reports that “the funniest moments were when guys weren’t taking it seriously, when they were trying to act suave, charming or just goofy.”
Though it may come as a surprise, not everyone who goes speed dating is single. “It’s always a little awkward when you find out a guy has a girlfriend,” Bensen said. However, she stressed the importance of not taking the event too seriously. “It’s all about having fun, meeting new faces and maybe finding a common interest in the minute you have.”
Senior Jeff Lanser also attended last year’s speed dating. “I went with my friends for something to do on a Friday night,” Lanser said. However, he admitted it wasn’t exactly what he expected. “I thought it was going to be serious with people trying to find their spouses.”
Lanser, who has had a girlfriend for three years, said he was “just there for fun, but some people go all out.”
According to Lanser, speed dating comes with its fair share of awkward moments. “Many times I would have to do all the talking and then I’d get one word answers in return. I’d be looking at the clock every few seconds.”
To help ease some of the tension, SAC provided games and questions. “They made it fast . . . for people who were there to be serious,” said Lanser. Lanser’s strategy for avoiding awkwardness? “Go with your friends and sit next to them. They can bail you out.”
This seasoned speed dater also offered some other advice. “Try to remember people’s names. Go with questions planned, and watch out for the desperate, single seniors. They’re on the prowl.”