So why are you here? Are you single, widowed, or over the pointless dating app swipes? I once caught my partner cheating and after a devastating breakup I’ll admit it can be hard getting back in the game. But how are we meant to find someone, especially when all the good ones seem to be taken? And before you start buying cats and solidify your Facebook relationship status as single, have you considered speed dating in Melbourne?
I get it, there’s many challenges to finding a new romantic love interest. And you definitely shouldn’t rush into things. Like current interest rates, divorces are steadily rising with a further 13.6% increase in separations in 2022. Yes, I know it sucks but you’re not alone. So if you’re thinking about dating again, even with kids or after divorce, just be sure to take it slow. But before you get back with your ex or ignore a bunch of red flags on Tinder, why not meet your next long term partner at a singles event?
Essentially they’re hosted singles nights were you meet around 6 – 20 potential suitors in quick succession. My friend jokes about their assembly line efficiently, but being introduced to a bunch of singles in and evening definitely has its advantages. For one, you know everyone’s paid so they’re serious and less flaky. And you can select an event based on age group, lifestyle or ethnicity; such as over 40s nights, LGBTQ and Christian events. But before you dive in here’s all you need to know about speed dating in Victoria.
Pick the right age bracket
The most popular way speed dating events are arranged is according to age (think 20s, 30s, 40s and over 50s events). So instead of a fresh university graduate in their 20s meeting up with a retiree in their 60s, you’re more likely to be at a compatible age. Some events do have a 1 or 2 year leeway either side but always check and stick to the age requirements as ID’s are checked by the organisers upon check in.
As a rule of thumb females are be evenly distributed throughout an age range while males tend to gravitate towards the higher side of an event. Something to be aware of is a scarcity of females for the 20s events, with the inverse being true of the 50s and even over 60s nights. So if you’re a young guy or mature woman it can be hard securing a spot. I’d recommend either booking super early, putting your name on the waiting list or bringing a friend of the opposite sex. That way you can secure a joined ticket without disrupting the already skewed ratios.
Choose the right event
I know Rabbi Deyo invented singles events in 1998 as a way for Jewish singles to meet. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick to your race or religion. I always recommend starting with a broad night of similar age ranges. For those searching for something particular, there are tailored events for ethnicities such as Asians which often emphasize family involvement and long-term commitment.
Alternatively Greek dating nights usually reflect Mediterranean social norms, like close-knit social connections. Finally Christian singles nights are for those seeking partners outside of church who share their religious beliefs like abstaining before marriage. Whatever your preference, picking the right event will increase your chances of meeting those more compatible to you.
Straight or LGBTQ?
Love is love. Whether you’re straight or seeking romantic relationships with anyone identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer, everyone deserves to find love in a fun safe environment. Sadly there has been some stigma towards 4% of the Australian LGBTQ++ community. That’s why many companies like Dear Pluto have set up specific gay dating nights.
Queer events are great as everyone is from the community so you won’t accidently hit on someone who’s straight. Also unlike straight events who’s ratios are at the mercy of attendees booking and no-shows, gay nights can only be out by a maximum of one attendee.
The main disadvantages are when an organiser books both gay guys and queer girls for the same event. I mean hello, putting those two groups together just because their ‘queer’ can come off as a bit insensitive. And be aware non straights make up a minority of the population so there may be less attendees, leading wider age groups to attract better turnouts. Ultimately it’s up to you to choose a sexual orientation that aligns with your dating preferences.
Pick a location near you
Location location location. It’s just like they say in real-estate but how do you meet someone near you? With 5.235 million residents, Melbourne is a big place. Roughly speaking you’ve got the CBD bars, while the Northsider’s can meetup at the Noisy Ritual in Brunswick or for those in the South East there’s Mother’s Milk in Brighton. You might be tempered to to stay close to home like setting your radius to 2kms on Hinge to avoid long distance relationships. But there might be a better way.
With the possible exceptions of the North and South Eastern suburbs, I’d recommend hitting the CBD events. Yes I know you gotta pay for parking or jump on a smelly tram but there’s a reason. Central events are the most popular nights drawing the biggest crowds. And at the end of the day the whole point of speed dating is to quickly meet as many singles as possible to see if you like them.
So if you’re vibing on one of your 5min chats, there’s no harm in checking if their suburb is close to you. Just don’t start with intrusive questions like ‘where do you live.’
At the end of the day love is blind and for a newly wed couple in their honeymoon phase distance might be no problem. But I’d start with a CBD venue like Ladida or Charlies bar, and if the mood is right, use their location as one of your screening questions before determining if they’re the one for you.
Plan your outfit
What to wear on your date? Well maybe six to fifteen fast dates, but don’t stress, just find something smart casual. But not too casual, I’ve seen many guys wearing hoodies, shirts, a singlet and even bringing backpacks. Did you just leave school?
Like it or not, people judge you on first appearances, at speed dating you’re literally trying to sand out of a crowd. Yes there’s lots of dates but there’s also plenty of competition, so wear something nice and make it easy for them to choose you.
Guys, that means button up shirts, or a tee shirt with an unbuttoned over shirt and even a nice jacket if the weather permits. And leave your runners behind, we’re not at the gym.
Ladies, I know its a big deal picking what to wear, your accessories and even deciding what to do with your hair are all important decisions. But don’t let it overwhelm you, just wear something nice that you feel comfortable in.
It’s the early bird who gets the worm and depending on your preferences you might also be after a worm of sorts. After you’ve selected an event always arrive a bit early. The main benefit is you won’t be stressed or rushed and as a bonus you’ll have first choice of any canopies and complimentary drinks.
The pre event mingling is also your opportunity to loosen up, meet a few other attendees and basically get in the zone before practicing your dating game. But again just be yourself, with the goal of having fun; you’re just here to meet as many people as possible and ditch those cheesy pickup lines.
Let the Dating Begin
Ding! It’s 7pm and time to find your table. The start of speed dating can be the most exciting or terrifying part of the night. After all the fear of approaching and chatting up a stranger can be debilitating but that’s exactly why blind dating was invented.
During check in, organisers would have scanned your ticket, assigned your table number and given you a name card. On a quick side note, please book the right gender tickets. Booking a female ticket to a hetero event if you’re a guy puts out ratios and you might be awkwardly denied entry before the event even begins.
When the night starts, simply take a seat at the table number you were assigned to. Then roughly every 5mins hosts will use a whistle or bell signalling the guys to rotate. Gentlemen, that means you stop talking and move up one table. So if you started on number 7, simply move up to table 8. If you’re a female, just chill unless you’re attending an LGBTQ++ night were one gets to be a ‘stayer’ and the ‘mover’ keeps rotating.
Make interesting conversation
I get it, you’ve got two life times to catch up on, so inevitably you’re going to want to ask them some questions. But if your goal is to find a new lover or partner there are definitely some questions that you shouldn’t ask when meeting someone new.
To increase your chances of having more successful matches you should always practice good conversation. Even if you’re introduced by the host you’ll still need to open them. Guys this does NOT mean jumping into 50 question interrogation mode about where she lives and works… Creepy! Instead make playful statements, like guessing if they’ve been to an event before or even where they last travelled. Basically don’t heavily question someone you’ve just met, as it can come across as intrusive and is a poor way of creating rapport.
Next if you’re hitting it off with one of your dates, step it up and steer the conversation to fun role playing topics about future relationships. Definitely don’t’ ask if they want kids. It’s only a 5min chat, tell them how you’ll break into Disneyland for your honeymoon and ride all the rollercoasters. Future pacing your relationship is a fun technique that can lead you more matches or at least more interesting conversations.
Make use of Intermission
And the whistle blows signalling half-time! Not your favourite footie match but a chance to rest between all your dates. The 10 minute midway intermission is a welcome reprieve to those busting for the bathroom or dying for another drink. But there are some who blow their chances in this misunderstood portion of the night.
Intermission is your chance to light up the room or set it cold, the choice is up to you. I’d always recommend quickly touching base with any chats that went well. Because on average, a speed date only lasts 3 to 8 minutes. Reinitiating chats with anyone you connected with is a great way to stay in their mind, leading to more first dates. It’s also your chance to show your worthiness as a potential partner by demonstrating your social prowess otherwise known as social proof.
I know working the room is tiresome, but as good as in person events are, there’s still plenty of competition like online dating. So stand out from the rest by chatting to everyone; talk to guys, girls, the staff – it doesn’t matter. The point is to be fun and the life of the party. Of course the inverse is also true, you definitely don’t want to stay seated by yourself while everyone else is grabbing a drink. Just talk to someone, it’s not that hard and that way it won’t look like nobody likes you.
Select your matches
You got a match! Those 4 magic words we all work so hard for. From choosing your perfect outfit and accessories, to building up the courage to actually meet a stranger. And yet approach anxiety can make it the scariest part.
Traditionally some companies like Singles Events Melbourne use the old school pen and paper. Where you literally write down your dates name and tick yes or no, the same way you’d grade a high school test or score a round of golf. Other companies like Cityswoon use an AI matching app, in that you simply select whoever you like on your phone and they next day you’re emailed their contact details.
Yes, it is possible to attend a speed dating event and not get any matches. But any worthwhile endeavour always carries the potential of failure. After all if you can’t handle rejection how did you hand in an assignment, pass your drivers test or even get a job? Yet there are a few small tweaks to increasing your matches, let me explain…
Always make your selection after each chat. Otherwise you might forget or worse, select the wrong person leading to some very awkward first dates. On that note, also tell the person who you are so they can select you. After all matching is a two way street, much like Bumble, you’ll both need to say yes. Finally be yourself and focus on enjoying each chat, and definitely steer clear of any needy behaviour. Yes it can feel like a lotto winning numbers game. But unlike your end of semester finals, even if you fail, you can just try again at another event.
Hang around at the end
So you made it, you booked a ticket, braved the crowds, got off the apps and met a bunch of singles in person. But now what? Well that’s the best part. As soon as a blind dating night is over the ice has been well and truly broken. And more importantly now’s the time the real winning is done, well from those that know how.
Instead of running out the door, hang back, thank the organiser and touch base with anyone you’ve already met and find out how their night went. After all everyone is single, and those that hang back will be more receptive to meeting someone new. And without being rotated every 5 minutes you’ll have time to really get to know them.
At best, stay back and have another drink with any dates you’re interested in. If it’s not too late, see if you can bounce them to another bar or restaurant nearby. That way you can continue your date and not be hassle or compete with other attendees. And of course the next day follow up your matches with a text or a call.
Contact your matches
I know it can seem pointless at times, but always follow up with your matches. It’s natural to be scared of starting a new relationship but we’re guaranteed to miss 100% of the shots we don’t take. And we’re not in high school so ditch the 3 day rule and text your matches the next day. Or at the very least text them back if you’ve had a change of heart. Whatever you do, don’t ghost or ignore someone. We’re all adults, let’s grow up and bring the joy back to getting out there.
If you are setting up any subsequent first dates, I’d recommend something casual like a bar or a coffee at one of Melbourne’s famous DeGrave’s street cafes. Just remember to take it slow, steer away from the awkward dinner dates and definitely don’t push for sex.
So if you’re thinking about ticking speed dating off your bucket list, it really is a terrific way to meet a lot of people in a short time. So why not give love a chance. Try an event in Melbourne or Sydney, because you never know who you might meet.
Does speed dating work?
Does speed dating work? What a question. You know what else people have asked me, does gym work? Are you kidding me? Lift weights, eat right and you’ll get fitter. It’s not rocket science, and yet we’re so scared of trying something new.
Yes, unfortunately it is an almost too human trait to worry. That’s why so few people go after their dreams, but does that group of doubting no hopers really need to include you? If you want the honest answer, yes, sometimes when you go to a speed dating night you will get no matches. It will suck, it can make you doubt yourself and get depressed. But the only true way to guarantee your failure in life is to give up and not try.
So the only way to make a blind dating night work is to go. What have you really got to lose? All you’ll be missing is another lonely night sitting on your couch. And it definitely can work, why do you think it’s called getting lucky? But what negative people don’t realise is that it actually always works. It works because it builds your social confidence, and there in lies the secret to success. It’s like a cunning door to door salesman, every rejection just brings them one conversation closer to getting a sale.
Thomas Edison didn’t fail 10,000 times in trying to invent the lightbulb. He found 10,000 ways that lead him to the discovery that literally lights up the world. The sooner you realise every speed dating night brings you 15 chats closer to meeting the love of your life, the better. So stop doubting, build your social confidence, and take the steps that ultimately guarantee you’ll find that someone who’s right for you.