Does Speed Dating Work? Do People Go To Speed Dating Alone? Is Speed Dating Better Than Online Dating? Is Speed Dating For Losers? Singles Mixers vs Speed Dating

It’s been ages since I have attended a speed-dating or singles mixer event, but I know what it’s like to attend them through client stories, friends or just talking to strangers at bars and cafés.

The first event I attended was by accident and it was a Jewish singles mixer at the Cellar on Geary in SF over 15 years ago. My friends convinced me to check out this awesome happy hour offering from 8-10pm for $10 on a Saturday night – all you can drink.

Hardly anyone was drinking, and my friend and I stood out as we were the darkest people there. It felt like an awkward school dance. Things picked up after a while when the singles event converted to a regular club night after 10pm.

The more recent event I attended was over 10 years ago, and it was a singles mixer that was more of a town hall meeting regarding expectations, differences between sexes and trying to unravel stereotypes from across the aisle. It was a hot mess as strong opinions were expressed, particularly from one gentleman who claimed women will only talk to you if you possess the 666 qualities – 6-figure income, 6ft tall and 6 pack abs. I have to see so many eyes roll in unison since.

Enough of my stories, speed-dating have come a long way since then. Although most events went virtual during the pandemic, they are now making a comeback thanks to people’s desire to meet in person and frustration with apps and rising costs of dating coaches and matchmakers.

Related read: Dating Apps vs Matchmaking Services


What Is Speed Dating? Speed Dating Meaning? How Is Speed Dating Different From Singles Mixers?

Speed dating has existed for 25 years or more, depending on who you ask. It’s a more formal, structured event than a singles mixer, which is merely a gathering of single folks to meet and greet at their own will without guidance around activities or instructions for socializing.

Most speed dating events are structured so that gender ratios are coordinated to maintain close to a 50/50 balance (for heterosexual people). The early days of speed dating events (as seen below from the movie Hitch) is set up so that each person has a small window of time (usually 3-5 minutes) to introduce themselves to others at the event.

There might be a prompt involved or it could be free-form conversation depending on the organizer. Interest can be expressed through some note-taking i.e. numbers are exchanged via organizers if there is a mutual interest or individuals can continue conversations in an open setting/format after the rotations are done.

Modern speed dating has evolved to incorporate some activities, whether it’s trivia, scavenger hunts, cooking or wine tasting. The idea in these events is to create less structure and allow for more organic conversations, all while reducing tension by taking the pressure of face to face conversation and burying it while engaging in some social activities. 

Related read: San Francisco Matchmaking Services

Singles mixers can be very informal and borderline lazy in that organizers create an event, post ticket info online, and just let people talk amongst themselves. There are a lot of bad apples out there preying on lonely, desperate singles. Be sure to do your research before wasting time and money.


Do People Attend Speed Dating Alone? Should I Go To A Speed Dating Event By Myself? How Many People Attend Speed Dating Events?

Most people attend speed dating alone, some come with a friend, a few might come with an ex and some might come with a spouse/partner if they are in an open-relationship. Assume nothing/everything.

A good event should have at least 35-40 people in attendance but there are times when bad events have less than 25 people there (with no gender balance). Ask questions, do research. Figure out if women have to pay. Some registration numbers are inflated depending on logistics, setup. Photos might be stock images (not from real events).

Related read: Should You Hire A Ghostwriter?


Who Goes To Speed Dating Events, Ages, Demographics? Is Speed Dating Worth It? Should I Try Speed Dating?

Type types of people who attend speed dating events are similar to those that use dating apps. Typically, men try speed dating sooner/younger than women, and men tend to outnumber women at events. The difference between men and women is that men are use to rejection right off the bat so there so they are not overly invested in such events as women.

This answer on reddit describing speed dating events is rather insightful but not always accurate:

It depends.

  • M/M: yes
  • F/M: yes
  • M/F over 40: yes
  • M/F over 30: maybe
  • M/F under 30: you’d feel better punching yourself in the dick.

Speed Dating Pros And Cons, Speed Dating vs Matchmaking Services, Speed Dating vs Dating Apps, Speed Dating vs Online Dating, Benefits Of Speed Dating

Like all things in like, there are pros and cons to everything in life. It’s impossible to judge one thing over another, as there are varying levels of quality across individual service providers. Similarly, even with the best intentions, not everyone is ready to date. There are trade-offs with each method and it’s up to you to figure out what your want to prioritize and what works for you in terms of costs and time.

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Are Speed Dating Events Worth It? What Is The Success Rate Of Speed Dating?

They definitely can be but only if you take some precautions ahead of time including:

-doing research on organizers (check reviews on google, yelp, reddit, better business bureau, facebook or through friends)

-making sure you are ready to date

-being sure you are ready to put your best foot forward

-coming with a good attitude

-attending events in a limited fashion i.e. don’t abandon efforts to use apps, meet people offline (cafes, bars, events, activities, and other offline methods).

-treating events with a realistic and healthy outlook i.e. I am here to meet new people and see where things go rather than I am here to meet my spouse tonight.

are happy on your own – can’t expect others to lift you out of a funk

Like any event, you have to be ready to meet someone awesome. If you dress poorly, have bad breath, are jaded, are tired or lack social/conversation skills, don’t expect others to give you the benefit of the doubt. They are trying and expect similar effort.

The point of meeting anyone regardless if via an app, speed dating event, matchmaker, through a friend or random offline event is to ask yourself – do I want to see this person again? (not is this person my soulmate or my future wife/husband?)


Best Speed Dating Events Bay Area, San Francisco Singles Mixers, Speed Dating SF

I occasionally will post interesting events in my email newsletter (info here).


Why Speed Dating Doesn’t Work?

There can be a lot of jaded people there or people you are not interested in talking to either because of looks, appearance, body language, posture, style, ethnicity, age or other trait.

Some events are curated, but many are the wild, wild west. It can be worth a shot, but never used as an exclusive or main method for meeting others. If you don’t have time to date, what makes you think you will have time for a relationship?

Most people will try a few events before meeting someone or giving up. Similarly, speed dating events can be awkward. You get a number and then talk to other men or women.

People’s feelings get hurt or they second guess your interest level as speed dating can feel transactional and less personable if you are mowing through conversations and talking to other people in front of those you are interested in.

Avoid companies that have a national presence or run events a bit too often. These companies rely on good SEO, paid ads etc to get good placement on the internet. The best organizers are local and run events every 1-3 months. Similarly,

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Swiping etiquette, timing, app choice, first messages, photo order, facial expressions, filters, paid features, screening profiles, reading people, ID'ing red flags, date planning, cutting-off liars & time-wasters.

I will help you leverage education, personality, ethnicity, lifestyle choices such as religion, politics, education, family planning as well as how to avoid burnout while navigating dating apps and online dating culture. As seen in the NYT, Bumble & More.

Bumble Speed Dating: What Is Bumble Speed Dating? How Does Bumble Speed Dating Work? Bumble Speed Dating Tips, How To Sign Up For Bumble Speed Dating Thursday

Bumble realizes the appeal of speed dating (as well as its waning interest in the app thanks to increased monetization efforts, dating app fatigue, rise in bots/scammers and amount of ghosting happening on the app). They launched Bantr but have since just updated the feature as Bumble speed dating. This occurs 7-8pm local time.

Bumble matches you with people and you chat with them before seeing each other’s profile. All you know is the person’s name and age. At the end of 3 minutes, chat expires and you will be shown their photo, if both people like each other, a match is established. Messages from speed dating will not be copied over to the match queue if you do match.

To sign up, tap the stopwatch in the upper right. You will get a notice to join on Thursday at 7pm. If you have no people in your area, you may not get many suggestions to chat with.

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About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie is a dating coach for men & women and a professional photographer based in San Francisco (clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, Seattle, London, DC, Boston, Sydney), as seen in the NYT, WSJ, SFGate, ABC7News, Bumble). Analytics geek who possesses unique insight into dating app algorithms as well as a keen understanding of dating cultures across locations, demographics, ages, ethnicities, genders and orientations.

He provides guidance on apps, bios, prompts, wardrobe, messaging, image consulting, date planning, red flags, time wasters & creeps, lifestyle choices, hobbies, grooming/hygiene, communication, confidence & where to meet singles. Whether you are a POC, short guy, introvert, engineer, successful executive or woman over 40, he can help you be more efficient, knowledgeable and effective in your dating life.

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