Speed Dating For SeniorsAre you new to the dating scene or re-entering the world of singles?
There are many different ways to meet people…online dating, through friends or volunteering. But if you’re looking for fun ways to make new friends, expand your social networks and maybe even make a romantic spark, try speed dating. It is finally available for the 60+ crowd!
Speed dating has been around since the late 90s and was started by a rabbi as a way for Jewish singles to meet and marry. Since 2000, speed dating became very popular in large part because it was depicted on television (Sex and the City) and in movies (Hitch, 40-Year Old Virgin). Yet until now it has only been available to younger people with a cut off age of 55.
How it works:
Compared to online dating which can be an isolating, monotonous experience of scrolling through hundreds of 4” x 4” profiles all striving to stand out from the rest, speed dating is a refreshing alternative. It is live, face-to-face, social and open and it has captured public attention and gained popularity for being a modern method of making introductions.
Speed dating events bring together an equal number of men and women. Each person spends six minutes of “get to know you” talk time with a partner. If you would like to see that person again, you check off his/her name on your match sheet. Usually, the men get up after the conversational exchange and move to the next table to meet another woman. Contact information is only given out if there is a mutual match, thus protecting confidentiality and saving people from awkward moments of having to reject someone or feeling obligated to give out a phone number.
Speed dating vs. online dating:
1. Speed dating has many advantages over online dating. First and foremost, there is that instant in-person chemistry that you don’t experience via cyberspace. There is a connection--a feeling that can’t be faked when you’re talking across the table with someone. First impressions are lasting. Within those precious first few minutes, you know enough to decide if you’d like to see the person again.
2. It is also a social experience compared to the more solitary experience of online dating. These are events where you can also meet and become friends with the same sex. Even if you don’t end up making any matches, it is always an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon or evening and meet several people at the same time.
3. Speed dating also has an advantage over online dating in that it is safer. Meeting people face-to-face in a social setting is safer than meeting people online. Speed dating events bring together a group of people in a relaxed, controlled environment. Because it is in person and you’re dealing with real people, participants are generally more concerned with how they come across and how they present themselves.
4. Adding to this safety feature, speed daters are only connected up if there is a mutual match. You don’t have the awkward moments of feeling obligated to give your contact information out to someone you’re not interested in seeing again and you don’t have to reject someone face-to-face. Whether you make a match or not, speed dating can be a fun, pleasant way to spend a few hours and make new acquaintances.
Remember: Not everyone is Prince or Princess Charming. Don’t be discouraged and treat others as you would like to be treated. Be positive and you’ll enjoy yourself no matter what the outcome. With an investment of time, patience and optimism, you can meet new friends, companions and maybe a romantic partner. The journey may even be more fun than the destination.
Five Tips for Smart Speed Dating
1. Guard Your Privacy: Use caution when revealing personal information. Don’t give out information such as home address, phone number, income, and details about home ownership.
2. Stand Out: You need to be original and stand out from the rest of the participants. What are you going to talk about? How are you going to distinguish yourself so that you are unique among many?
3. Friends or Lovers: Be cautious when checking off someone you would like to see again as a friend. People are there to meet a romantic partner. Be discriminating.
4. Get to the Point: You usually have only three minutes of talk time to see if you have any chemistry.
5. First Impressions: Remember, even though you only spend a few minutes with someone, you are still on a date. Careful what you say and stay away from taboo subjects, like religion, money, and politics. Don’t drink too much and make sure you dress to impress.
* * * * *
By Michele Cauch, Executive Director, SageHealth Network
SageHealth Network is an organization dedicated to promoting sexual health awareness and positive aging in older adults, care providers and seniors’ organizations.
SageHealth Network will be launching SilverSparks Speed Dating for individuals aged 60-75 on Tuesday September 6, 2011 at the Duke of York in downtown Toronto. For event information visit www.silversparksdating.com, email: [email protected] or call: 647-831-6630.