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Does the Thought of Speed Dating Fill You with Anxiety, Panic, Confusion?
New Tips to Prepare You for Fun and Enjoyment Instead
I’m creating a Speed Dating event (not your run of the mill Speed Dating event, mind you), with my friend, Cassie, of Cassie’s Calendar and the key organizer of the Single and Looking in NJ meet up group and I have been thinking about the feedback I’ve been getting from friends and clients about the viability of such events.
In my heart of hearts, I believe in the power of speed dating events. We are all active professionals, busy with our kick-a$$ careers and our families, sometimes with scant time to sort and screen all the thousands of online dating profiles featured on some of these broad-stroke online dating sites. Plus, we all know that the best way of forming connections is face to face interactions. That’s why Speed Dating is such a brilliant option.
I know it can work – I have a friend who is happily ensconced in a relationship with a man she met at one – yet I also know that Speed Dating is a tool (aka a strategy), and can really only work well if the person using this tool is doing so skillfully. How many times have I heard from people who have given it a shot, only to walk away frustrated, confused, panicked and/or angry over the experience. One woman I know went home and curled up into a ball for a full day, after such an event.
You don’t have to be mired in misery. None of this has to be painful. NONE OF IT. Like all things, SKILLFULNESS is key.
SO here are some pointers (oy! Am I giving Advice…!?) to help you become more adept at Speed Dating … (and hopefully you are joining me for my webinars to increase your level of skillfulness).
1. DRESS FOR SUCCESS. Image is extremely important. Speed dating relies on first impressions and “chemistry,” so dress sharply. Wear a shirt the color of your eyes to make your eyes stand out. Or wear a color that makes your complexion glow. Whatever you decide, just remember to dress like the professional, well-put-together person that you are. Save your football jerseys for a time when you both are on closer terms.
2. KNOW YOUR TOP 6 REQUIREMENTS – the 6 things you must experience in a relationship for it to be happy. And – part two – KNOW WHAT DISTINGUISHES THEM FROM YOUR TOP NEEDS & WANTS. Requirements are what you must have in a relationship for it to work for you so ask questions that revolve around what you must experience. Finding out this information from the very beginning will give you an idea if your lifestyles are matched up.
For example, lets say that you are someone who leads a healthy lifestyle and considers experiencing great health and physical fitness to be a Top Requirement. In this case, you would want to determine how the person across from you stacks up to your requirement around healthful living. (And even if someone promises to “change”, the only thing that matters is what’s true in the Here and Now.) By orienting your conversation around your relationship requirements, it’s easier to select people who are better suited for you, without the negative energy usually associated with saying “no” to someone. Not sure how to separate your requirements from your top needs and wants? Work with me prior to the event if you’re not sure about your 6 “must-haves.” Or – consider attending my webinar on November 19th: Your Ideal Realionship: What do you want, need, require. https://www.eventbrite.com/event/8734544257
3. ASK QUESTIONS RELATED TO YOUR TOP REQUIREMENTS & NEEDS. Speed dating can be great for practicing one of the essential skills of Conscious Dating© – sorting – to quickly separate the “wheat from the chaff.”
Because you don’t have much time with each person you meet at an event, make sure to ask important questions that qualify the person would meet necessary requirements for you to be happy in a relationship, AND also be prepared to provide information that reflects your lived values, not your espoused values (i.e. your values are being fully expressed in your life). This can help you select people who would be a good fit and, at the same time, it can open up further possibilities for those who have requirements and values, which are highly aligned with yours. Have at least 5 questions at the ready.
4. BE AWARE OF DATING TRAPS©! Speed dating events combine both the good and the bad of dating. It’s good because you can meet a group of people in a short amount of time. It’s bad because, if you are not clear on your top 6 non-negotiable requirements, you’ll likely fall into common dating traps that result in dysfunctional dating and relationships. In particular, Speed Dating events makes it WAY TOO EASY to fall into the Packaging and Attraction Dating Traps. The Packaging Trap is when you focus on someone’s looks, while the Attraction Trap is when you make your choices based solely on feelings of attraction. When you focus on looks or expect to feel a certain way when you meet someone new, you lose your ability to make mindful choices necessary to predict a relationship’s potential.
To overcome these traps, ask questions that will give you a lot of good information in a short amount of time. Here are two examples:
#1 “Tell me about a goal you accomplished or an obstacle you overcame in your life.” Learning how your “dating” partner has dealt with challenges or hardships tells you about her ability to adapt and change. Knowing what she has learned as a result of reaching a goal or overcoming an obstacle lets you know how she may handle them in the future.
#2 “What do you like about your life?” It’s important to know whether your “dating” partner is happy and why. Find out what gives her life meaning. This gives you a window into her attitude and mind-set, important qualities that can have a great impact in a relationship.
Remember though, you only have 8 minutes, so don’t probe too much! Plus, the other person gets to ask you some questions, too. The goal of speed dating is to determine if you want to go out on a real date later.
5. REHEARSE NATURAL SEGUES. You don’t have a lot of time with this person, so, rehearse ways to introduce, after the common introductory openers, your power questions that are related to your requirements. Remember to be natural – it’s not about interrogating everyone. Also, come prepared with four things you want people to know about you. Make these facts items that are funny, memorable, or admirable. For example: a special award you recently won at work, the fact that you skydive, that you were the State Disco Dance Winner of New Jersey in 1992, or that you published a book – anything that makes you stand out from “the average Joe.”
6. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY LANGUAGE. Mirror and match your date’s body language to make them feel comfortable with you. Open body language (no crossed arms) and direct eye contact are very important when making a good impression. Use the “eyebrow flash” (quickly raising eyebrows) as you say “hello” and introduce yourself.
7. STAY FOCUSED ON THE PERSON IN FRONT OF YOU. Your “date” will feel important and you’ll feel less nervous. Listen carefully to whom you are meeting, notice their vibe, their humor, their seriousness, and their pace. Mirror back to them what you just heard by saying acknowledgment statements such as: “I love your story about your vacation with your family to Disney World – I can see how much they mean to you.” Your “date” will feel “seen” and you will vastly improve your chances for a second meeting.
8. SPEAK POSITIVELY. Don’t talk negatively about your work, your ex(s), or anything else for that matter. Your intention is to get to know the other person, not to rant about what’s not working in your life.
9. BE OPEN. Be interested in everyone, even if that person is outside of your usual dating choices.
10. LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS AND OUTCOMES. Attend this speed-dating event with no expectations, and in the meantime, talk with me to get some coaching on how to become an Empowered Dater. Show that you are gracious and mature and are there to create connections – not merely to lasso a mate. If you express interest in someone and that person does not reciprocate, think about how you can react in a mature manner. Avoid beating yourself up (I’m not good enough) and avoid petulance, sulkiness or bad temperedness … (however, if these feelings DO show up, please note that this is an opening for you to do some work on your self-esteem).
Speed dating can be enormously fun if you relate to it with the proper spirit. Getting to know – fairly quickly – several new potential dating partners or friends in one evening is a great opportunity if done well. Most of all, enjoy the humor and ironies of a fun and almost paradoxically silly environment as speed dating, while understanding that getting to know somebody is a process that can involve years.
To identify your requirements, needs and wants, enroll in my upcoming webinar: Your Ideal Relationship : what do you want, need, require? https://www.eventbrite.com/event/8734544257
To educate yourself on the principles of Empowered Dating, enroll in one of my Conscious Dating© programs – email me at Linda @ aurorasana.com for more details.