11 Mindful Speed Dating Tips to Help you Make a Real Connection
It’s cuffing season, that pre-holidays, cold weather, bundling up time of year, when people begin looking for a romantic partner with whom they can cuddle up and weather the holiday season. As such, people turn to the apps, to online speed dating events (link to Metta Date and Mingle: Mindful Speed Dating), and to in-person holiday gatherings to meet people, cozy up, and get to know each other with the intention of finding a partner.
If you too are looking for someone with whom you can cuff, read on for some mindful dating tips that can be helpful for you to have a good first date and to be a good first date. These tips are particularly geared towards going deeper at a speed dating event, but can be applied to any party or date you go on.
Read on for intentional and mindful speed dating tips for guys and gals. These tips are designed to facilitate a deeper dating experience where you can maximize those short time windows to really get to know your dates.
11 tips for Mindful Speed Dating
1. Set your intention for the evening
An intention is a quality that you would like to cultivate this evening, like love, gentleness, compassion, mindful self-compassion, excitement, passion, or playfulness. Think of what you want to embody and feel this evening. Close your eyes and visualize yourself embodying this quality. What would it look like and feel like? What would you be wearing? Now, let that intention infuse your getting-ready process, your outfit, and your approach to the evening. Remind yourself of this intention if you find yourself getting off-track on the date and feeling bored, frustrated, etc. Come back to your intention and the quality you want to embody.
2. Try a pre-event ritual to get into the right mindset
Give yourself some intentional transition time before the event to get ready and to get out of your workday mindset. Relationships are about emotional connection, which uses a different part of the brain than we use for work and daily tasks. Create a ritual that sets the mood and tone for you to transition out of your logic mind and into your more emotionally available self. Play some music, exercise, take a long bath, light a candle, or otherwise do something that you enjoy. Let this be informed by your intention. If your intention is playfulness, you could listen to playful music, or if it’s romance, take some time to reflex ton what that means.
3. Set the Tone (for virtual speed dating only)
Get cozy and clear the space around your computer. Light a candle, turn on some music. Swap out those work from home sweats for a nicer outfit that makes you feel good. In other words, something both comfortable and attractive. Put a fire in the fireplace and grab a cup of tea or hot chocolate. I recommend not drinking alcohol so you can effectively practice mindfulness and most accurately evaluate who you’d like to see again.Your environment and how you feel will affect how you show up and how others perceive you, so stack the cards in your favor.
4. Practice Non-judgment and set your expectations to zero
Judgments are tricky things. They creep up on us like a panther and before we know it, we’ve judged our date for their shoes and hoodie, the way they stuttered, laughed too loud, or called us by the wrong name. Sometimes we’ve written them off completely by the time we sit down to talk and they are struggling to find ways to engage us. It’s easy to look back and say, “it’s them, not me.” In truth, our reaction tells us more about ourselves than it does about the person we are with.
Instead of spending your precious energy judging a person harshly because they aren’t what you want, practice being curious, observant, and non-judgmental. If after trying this, you’re just not having any fun, thank your date and excuse yourself.
5. Take chances and think outside your type
People who are open to dating people outside of their expected type end up with the most matches. Allow yourself to be open and curious about the person that you are about to meet. Each person (including yourself) is a gift, and our appearance is just wrapping paper. You never know if they’ll be a good friend, a business contact, or someone you end up dating unexpectedly. At dating events, men can tend to be more picky and put more restrictions on who they are open to, so for the men reading this, see if you can stay open and date outside your type. The more chances you take, the more possibilities are open to you. There are usually multiple people interested in each person, but if the person is only focused on who is not interested in them, they miss out on all those other opportunities.
6. Keep the focus on how you feel, AND don’t be afraid to say it!
Take your “feeling” temperature. Ask yourself how you feel in the presence of this person - do you feel excited? On edge? Seen and comfortable? Strangely invisible? Happy? Notice what you feel, and if the opportunity is there, let yourself express it. I.e. if your date says something you like or that makes you happy, say “Oh! That makes me happy!” If your date starts making comments that make you feel uncomfortable, say “I feel uncomfortable.” No matter what you are feeling, remember, sharing your feelings is about expressing yourself, not judging the other person. Expressing your feelings is the foundation of healthy vulnerability.
Your voice is important, and if your date is “the one” for you, they will appreciate hearing how you feel and what you have to say. Give them that chance.
7. Ask questions.
Meeting new people can be challenging for both parties, especially if you’re shy or not into small talk. Asking people questions makes them feel good and takes the focus off of you. Questions are also the best way to determine if the person across from you is actually compatible with you!
The art of asking questions itself is a creative and engaging act, and allows both parties to feel engaged and interested. Questions open up new territory and allow us to get to know one another more deeply. If you’ve heard of, or perhaps have tried, the 36 questions by Arthur Aron, you have a sense of what I’m talking about.
As a certified dating coach, I advise my clients to come up with their default questions - those questions that are most important to them to know about a person to determine if you want to go on a second date. For some, this may be asking the deeper questions about someone’s childhood or upbringing, for others, it might be learning about a person’s relationship history, and for others, it may be about the person’s passions and hobbies. All of these questions are important in the long run, but know what you are most interested to know about a person - what lights them up, what hardships the’ve overcome, or how they do relationships. Have a few questions you can pull out of your back pocket in a pinch (you can borrow from the 36 questions or from the list below.) And for those who don’t go in prepared, let question asking be a creative act when you’re at the event!
26 questions to ask for a deeper speed date:
1. What’s your idea of a perfect day?
2. What’s been the best part of your day so far?
3. Is there anything about me that surprises you?
4. What’s your ideal date? (Remember this if you end up on another date with them!)
5. What era of history would you love to visit - and why?
6. What particular obstacles are between you and your best future
7. What do you love to do when you’re all alone?
8. What do you love about your job?
9. What makes a man/woman approachable?
10. What are your best qualities?
11. Which holiday do you dread most? Why?
12. How do you relax? (Or, What do you do for fun?)
13. If you could change just one thing about your life, what would you
14. What’s something unique about you?
15. How do your friends describe you in a word?
16. What’s on your mind today/this week?
17. On a scale of 1 (awful) to 10 (awesome), what did you think about ….?
18. What topic are you most knowledgeable about?
19. What do female friends give you that you just don’t get from your
20. What’s something you typically avoid?
21. What’s missing from the picture so far?
22. What makes you feel free?
23. Tell me what’s awesome about being a man/woman.
24. Who are some of your heroes?
25. Tell me about something you’re incredibly proud of.
26. How much “alone time” do you typically like to have? How do you
make sure you get it?
Use these questions in no particular order as you feel inspired. Remember the answers as this information will be valuable in developing a deeper understanding of each other as well as planning surprises and future dates!
8. Make Eye Contact
Maintaining eye contact is one of the most effective ways to show interest in a person. When we are interested in another person, our pupil’s dilate to let in more of them and our expression changes. These subtle changes are registered on a subconscious level. When virtual speed dating, look at the camera rather than away or at your desk, to make the person on the other side of their computer feel seen.
9. Use the Appreciation Breath
This is a tool we use at Lovewell that you can use before, during and after the date. The appreciation breath entails cultivating a feeling of appreciation and gratitude, the kind you feel when someone does something kind and nice for you for no reason. Feel that in your heart. Close your eyes (the first time you do it at least). Breathe in that appreciation for yourself (if it’s hard to feel self-appreciation, try to at least breathe in a sense of kindness for yourself that a friend would extend to you), and breathe out that appreciation and kindness for the person or situation in front of you. You can use the phrase “In for me, out for them” as you breathe. Before the date or event, you can do this for the entire group - “in for me, out for everyone doing this dating event.” During, you can do it for yourself and the other person, whether you like them or you feel uncomfortable, or even sorry for them.
Observe and let pass any judgments of hoakiness because this extension of gratitude or even just a little kindness can shift your mindset instantly and bring about feelings of well-being and connection. Practice it regularly before, during, and after the event. Take it into your workplace, driving, or your commute.
10. Make sure to say Good Bye!
This one is specific to virtual speed dating, but if you’re a person who Irish exits at events, it might apply to you too. Watch the clock during the event and make sure to make the time for an intentional good bye. There is nothing more awkward feeling than a conversation ending mid-sentence and each of you staring at a blank screen. Look at the person, let them know you enjoyed meeting them, and either wish them a good night or let them know you’d like to meet them again. Regardless of whether the person is a match, this makes the interaction more personable and the person across from you feel more valued.
11. After the date, Bring the focus back to yourself.
It’s so easy to get caught up in “did he/she like me?,” but ask yourself, “Did I feel good around them?” Did I like them? Why or why not? And keep the focus here. Journal or write about it in a journal, or evernote, or even your calendar. If you’re not much of a writer, simply take time to reflect on this central question of how you feel around the person. Try the Post-Date 8 by Logan Ury (link here). Anytime you notice yourself starting to wonder “What are they thinking about me?” or you feel that old familiar feeling of rejection (“why doesn’t anyone like me”) or arrogance (“they like me, but I’m not into them”), your ego is getting in the way of the experience of true connection. Now, egos aren’t inherently all bad, but they do keep us from feeling all those feelings of connection we are seeking in a relationship. So remember this: when you start to focus on the other person, you are distracting yourself from what is most important in a relationship - which is how you yourself feel, relate, and are supported, AND you are directly inhibiting the process of falling in love and creating deeper connection.
So, this month when you're going on first dates, remember:
Dating Tips Recap
1. Set your intention
2. Try a pre-event ritual
3. Set the Tone
4. Practice Non-judgment
5. Think outside your type
6. Say how you feel
7. Ask questions
8. Make Eye Contact
9. Try the Appreciation Breath
10. Make sure to say Good Bye
11. Keep the focus on yourself.
Good luck out there!!! For more targeted speed-dating tips for ladies and a list of speed-dating tips for guys, check our blog for upcoming posts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q.1 What is speed dating?
A. Speed dating is a singles mixer format where individuals are paired up for anywhere from 3-5 minutes to have short conversations with potential matches. While speed dating used to be an in-person phenomenon, virtual speed dating is on the rise and there are many different online speed dating events available.
Q.2 Is Speed Dating Effective?
A. Many people express hesitance about speed dating and wonder - is it effective? Speed dating tends to be more effective and efficient than online dating. In a group of 10 speed dates, people usually tend to have a follow up date with 1-3 of them, which is higher on average than the number of dates resulting from 10 online conversations.
Q.3 What type of people go to speed dating?
A. Anyone can benefit from speed dating. Look for a speed dating event that matches your lifestyle and preferences. There are events for different sexual orientations, genders, and more mindful events for those who prefer to be more intentional in the way they relate to others.