The Comprehensive Guide to Speed Dating & Modern Alternatives

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the evolution of speed dating, its effectiveness, and how innovative new concepts like Secret RSVP are revolutionizing the offline dating scene.

Speed dating with guy and girl at bar

The Evolution of Speed Dating

Why was speed dating created?

Like any new idea, speed dating was created to solve a problem. Once upon a time, before there was speed dating, there were organized events called singles mixers. These events were a simple way to bring together a large number of singles into one place so they could essentially “mix”.

While the idea seemed like the right approach, the problem is that people do not simply “mix” just by being in the same place. So this method had many challenges in getting singles to actually mix and mingle naturally at events.

Some may remember those old school dances where all the boys and girls would stand at opposite sides of the room. Only a few brave ones would make the long risky walk across the room to ask someone to dance.

Even networking and social events still struggle with similar challenges to this day with getting people to approach others to start conversations.

The hardest part for singles mixers, from a male’s perspective, was that men were expected to approach the women. If a man spotted someone interesting, it was up to him to approach her. Depending on the guy’s appetite for risk, this step required a great deal of courage and he had to consider the cost of being rejected if the interest wasn’t mutual. Talk about pressure!

And what made matters worse was the fact that women often came with a group of friends. So instead of being rejected by a single woman, a guy could be at risk of getting rejected in front of all her friends as well.

Singles events continued on as the main way to meet up until 1998, when an American rabbi came up with a new idea to help Jewish singles meet one another in a faster and more structured way. He called it speed dating.

What is speed dating?

Speed dating was an improvement over the old way singles events normally worked. In this new format, men no longer had to approach women since everyone was forced to meet. This removed some of the pressure however, it was replaced with new challenges which will be discussed later on in this article.

Many singles embraced this new way of meeting and its popularity quickly soared across the U.S. and eventually through many parts of the world.

But as the years have gone on, speed dating’s popularity has slowly dwindled along with its reputation.

How does Speed Dating Work?

In a typical speed dating event, participants are arranged at individual tables, with men generally rotating from one table to another. The interactions are brief, usually lasting just a few minutes, with the main goal being to quickly ascertain mutual interest.

These events are meticulously organized, with a host on hand to ensure everything proceeds smoothly and on schedule. They are typically held in public spaces like bars or cafes. Although organizers often aim to secure private areas, the smaller scale of these events can make this challenging, and as a result, the event often takes place in an open setting, potentially adding to the participants’ stress as others may be watching.

A participant can anticipate meeting, on average, around five individuals during a single event, although this can vary depending on the organizer and market reach. One of the challenges speed dating companies often have is attracting singles and keeping a balanced gender ratio to avoid periods of inactivity for some attendees. Despite these challenges, the structure of speed dating does ensure that all participants have an opportunity to interact with everyone, albeit briefly, although this can be both a good and bad thing.

The Effectiveness of Speed Dating and Its Alternatives

The Success Rate of Traditional Speed Dating

While speed dating is certainly an efficient way to meet a handful of new people in a short amount of time, studies have shown that it may not be the most effective method for forming lasting connections. In fact, based on numerous studies, only a small percentage of speed dating participants end up forming mutual matches, and an even smaller percentage of those will end up going on an actual date.

Let’s look at three extensive studies that put speed dating to the test:

Study #1

In an ABC news study, run by sociologist Dan McFarland and professor Dan Jurafsky, of Stanford University, they measured nearly 1,000 real speed dates where the candidates were single and serious about finding connections. After the research concluded, they found that only 20 percent of participants matched with each other. But what was more surprising was that out of the small group who did actually match, a mere 9 percent were successful at setting up a date following the event.

Study #2

In a study titled, Predictors of Initial and Long-Term Outcomes of Speed-Dating, researchers Asendorpf, Penke, and Back, tested close to 400 singles across 17 events. Their goal was to determine how effective speed dating was at finding a romantic partner. And how well did speed dating fare in this study? A mere 6 percent of participants ended up reaching the intimacy stage. This finding was confirmed both after 6 weeks and 1 year after the event.

Study #3

In a speed dating study titled “Too much of a good thing? Variety is confusing in mate choice” conducted by University of Edinburgh psychologist Alison P. Lenton and University of Essex economist Marco Francesconi. They analyzed more than 3,700 dating decisions across 84 speed-dating events. The insights gathered revealed inherent weaknesses in how speed dating works. They concluded that the fast and repetitive method of speed dating causes participants to make poor choices and leads to weak matches forming.

So what do all these studies tell us? It indicates that speed dating actually has a very low “match” success rate.

The first hurdle to overcome at any speed dating event is to get a match with someone. The problem is that a lot can go wrong during a typical speed “date” and if you can’t relax and be yourself, it’s pretty hard to showcase all your wonderful qualities. 

Furthermore, even if you “match” with someone, this does not mean it will lead to an actual date. As the experts repeatedly noticed from the studies, after the events concluded, most participants who received matches, did not follow up or were not interested in setting up a date. 

So why the poor after-event success rates? The experts came to this insight: Speed dating events do not provide participants with enough of a memorable or bonding experience to occur. So while speed dating may be efficient at organizing a small group of singles together in a structured format, its fast meeting method is not effective at building strong enough connections to proceed to actual dates.

So if speed dating is not effective at helping people match, what else is there for those who prefer meeting in real life?

The Modern Twist: Secret RSVP

Enter Secret RSVP, a revolutionary new concept that combines the power of technology, social psychology, and mystery to create a fun, modern, and authentic experience for singles to meet in real life. Secret RSVP events use a unique app that secretly live-matches everyone to those they are connected with. Attendees then play games while getting to know others in small connected groups.

The Success Rate of Secret RSVP

At Secret RSVP, we’ve taken a unique approach to dating events that has shown promising results. After hosting events for thousands of singles, we’ve learned that the best connections form when people can be themselves. That’s why we designed our events to be low-pressure and fun, with a focus on organic interactions. Instead of the high-pressure, interview-style questions that are common in traditional speed dating, our events feature fun games and activities that allow authentic connections to form.

But there’s another element that sets Secret RSVP apart further: our use of the Uncertainty Principle. In physics, this principle states that you can’t know both the exact position and the exact speed of a particle at the same time. The more you know about one, the less you know about the other. We’ve applied this same concept to dating, creating a sense of anticipation and excitement that makes our events even more engaging.

Through our live-matching technology and secret guest lists, we introduce an element of mystery to our events. Participants don’t know who they’ll meet or who’s interested in them. This uncertainty can actually increase attraction, making the connections formed at our events feel even more authentic and exciting. It’s like a game of hide and seek, where the chase can be just as thrilling as the catch.

In other words, a little bit of mystery can go a long way in making dating events a thrilling and enjoyable experience. At Secret RSVP, we’re not just about helping you meet new people – we’re about helping you have fun while doing it.

Preparing for a Dating Event: Speed Dating vs Secret RSVP

What to Wear, Say, and Ask at a Speed Dating Event

At a traditional speed dating event, participants need to make a good impression in a short amount of time. This high stress and pressure can cause some attendees to have a difficult time being themselves. Using rehearsed questions and responses can help but this often results in forced conversations that feel more like job interviews than meaningful interactions. Here are some topic ideas to help you be prepared on what to talk about:

Hobbies: Share your passions. It gives insight into your personality and can help find common ground.

Work: Briefly discuss your profession. It offers a glimpse into your daily life and ambitions.

Family and Friends: Talk about your loved ones to show you value relationships. Keep it light and respectful.

Travel: Share your travel experiences. It’s a great way to show your adventurous side.

Other Interests: Discuss your favorite books, movies, or music. The goal is to show your authentic self and find shared interests.

Dressing appropriately is also crucial to making a good first impression. Wear something that makes you feel attractive and confident but also comfortable. And be sure to arrive on time.

What to Expect at a Secret RSVP Event

At a Secret RSVP event, the atmosphere is designed to be relaxed and fun. When you first arrive, check in with your host, and find a nice place to sit and open up the Secret RSVP app. This is when you can see all the attendees and start adding to your secret list.

There are no name tags to wear or notes to take. You’ll be invited to join your small groups during the event by your phone. The games and activities will provide natural conversation starters, and the live-matching feature adds an element of mystery and excitement. There’s no need to prepare rehearsed questions or responses, and the dress code is casual and comfortable. The focus is on creating a memorable shared experience that can form the basis for meaningful connections.

The Pros and Cons of Speed Dating vs Secret RSVP

While speed dating is efficient and allows you to meet a small number of potential partners in a short amount of time, it also has its drawbacks. The fast pace can be overwhelming, and the brief interactions may not provide enough time to form a meaningful connection. Furthermore, the pressure to make a good impression can lead to rehearsed and inauthentic interactions. And as the studies have shown, even if you do manage to get a match, there’s a low chance of it even leading to an actual date.

The Unique Benefits of Secret RSVP

Secret RSVP is a social dating event that offers a fresh and unique approach to traditional speed dating. With its live-matching feature, fun games and activities, and relaxed atmosphere, it promises a more enjoyable and effective dating experience. The focus on real-life interactions and the element of mystery make it truly one-of-a-kind.

Scientific research suggests that this approach leads to creating more memorable experiences and stronger connections, increasing the likelihood of matches leading to actual dates. Although there are no guarantees, Secret RSVP offers the opportunity to meet new people and potentially form new friendships. And by the end of the night, you may leave with more than just a potential romantic connection but new friends too.

The Safety Aspects of Speed Dating and Secret RSVP

Is Speed Dating Safe?

Most speed dating events are held in public venues and organizers will take measures to ensure the safety of all participants. The advantage of being a fully hosted event means there will always be someone on-hand to help if any issues should occur.

The Safety Measures of Secret RSVP

At Secret RSVP, safety is a top priority. Our events are also fully hosted and since our events are large in scale, we often have more than one host on hand. The small group setting provides a safe and comfortable environment for all participants. Plus, the Secret RSVP team is always on hand to ensure that the event runs smoothly and safely.

Speed Dating & Alternatives in Your City

Traditional Speed Dating Events Near You

Speed dating events are held in various cities around the world, offering singles a quick and easy way to meet new people. The quality and success of these events can vary greatly depending on the organizer and the participants they can bring out.

Secret RSVP Events in Your City

Secret RSVP is still fairly new but we are starting to grow into more cities across Canada and parts of the US. These events offer a fun and innovative alternative to traditional speed dating, with a focus on creating authentic connections through shared experiences.

Our innovative approach to dating isn’t confined to one location. We’re proud to bring the Secret RSVP experience to singles in cities across Canada and parts of the US. Each city offers its unique vibe and charm, but the heart of our events remains the same – creating a fun, relaxed environment where authentic connections can form.

Whether you’re looking for a fresh alternative to speed dating in Calgary, or you’re curious to experience our unique events in Toronto, we’ve got you covered. Explore the links below to discover how we’re revolutionizing the dating scene in your city:

The Cost of Speed Dating vs Secret RSVP

How Much Does Speed Dating Cost?

The cost of speed dating events can vary, but most charge a fee that covers the cost of the venue, the organizer’s time, and any included refreshments. However, the value for money can be questionable, especially considering the low success rate of these events.

The Value for Money Offered by Secret RSVP

While Secret RSVP events also come with a cost, the value for money is significantly higher. Not only do you get to enjoy a fun and unique dating experience, but you also have a much higher chance of forming meaningful connections. Plus, the innovative live-matching feature and the engaging games and activities add extra value to the experience.

We make dating fun and relaxed through playing games.

Speed dating is not exactly what most would call relaxing or fun. Its method of meeting is notorious for “dates” that are repetitive and filled with interview-style conversations. 

You are there to go through a treadmill of awkward “dates” which can be exhausting. It’s also high-pressure and can be hard to showcase yourself so people can get to know the real attractive you. 

When we’re under a tight deadline to perform, we immediately feel stress and pressure. Olympic athletes spend years training so they can perform at a peak level for one event. A first date can is stressful enough but having to wade through an assembly line of “dates” is a nerve-wracking ordeal. This is a hard and unnatural way to meet someone at first.

The pressure is always high at speed dating events because you only have a few minutes to make the perfect first impression. This arrangement makes it hard to relax and be yourself so people can get to know the real you. This is a lost opportunity. 

This is why Secret RSVP events focus on helping you relax through play. You will always be more attractive when you are relaxed and having fun. As Plato once said:

“You Can Discover More About a Person in an Hour of Play than in a Year of Conversation” — Plato

This is why we use group games and activities so you can get to know others more naturally through play. This is where chemistry is often discovered between people and you just never know when it shows up.

Play is also a great way to drop your guard and just have fun in-the-moment. Having a game or activity to focus on, allows you to make a better first impression, and is a great way to remove the pressure of meeting new people.

That’s why a key focus of Secret RSVP events is to enable an experience that’s more about having fun and making friends first. Meeting new singles should be a fun experience – not something to dread.

There is nothing that brings people together better and more memorable than enjoying fun and games with others. Whether you’re playing the latest party game or working together as a team, this is how personalities naturally come out which leads to bonding and discovering chemistry in a natural way.

Games are a great way to have fun while getting to know others in a more organic way.

The way we see it, the more we help you relax, the more you can be yourself so others can get to know you as you really are.

There‘s a reason our events commonly go beyond the official event end times. It’s because people are enjoying the experience that’s occurring around them.

Enjoy a unique dating experience where you get to choose who you want to meet – with your phone.

At your typical speed dating events, you’ll have to sit through every single one on one date – there is no escape. Many will say “well it’s only 4 minutes”. But that’s not really true. Sometimes a whole event can be filled with a whole string of awkward dates that turns into a 2-hour long dull evening out.

At Secret RSVP events, you’ll need to bring your phone because it’s a big part of the dating event experience.

This is because you have control over what happens during the evening which you do by secretly indicating your interests using the Secret RSVP event app on your phone.

This is done mostly at the start of the event. Then, the algorithm does the hard part of finding the right connections and inviting everyone to meet in small groups over 3 rounds. 

And since no one knows how they’re connected in groups, you can relax and can get to know others without expectations. And no one knows if you’re interested in them.

Meet more singles than you would at speed dating events.

Speed dating events are typically small and must be capped due to event time constraints. Most speed dating companies promise a minimum of 5 singles for you to meet. The max is dependent on the event schedule so the more daters they let in the less time you’ll have to get to know each date so there is a limit they need to maintain.

Their events are heavily dependent on turnout which can affect gender balancing. So if just one gender does not show, you may have to sit alone for some rounds.

Dating is after all a numbers game. The more singles you can meet the better. This is why Secret RSVP events are larger-scale and can be as large as 60 attendees. Your chances of finding someone compatible increases the more people we have in attendance.

It’s cooler than speed dating events.

When speed dating was first invented over 20 years ago, events attracted diverse crowds. Up for a laugh, people were willing to try it out.  But as the years have gone on, that “shine” and popularity of speed dating has dwindled down significantly leading to very different types of people that show up.

Maybe you’re wondering if speed dating is worth your time and money. Perhaps you’re even a little embarrassed to be seen going to one of these events.

You’re not alone.

Many singles interested in dating events also wonder the same things.

And all anyone needs to do to is search any online community or social media channel and you can quickly see the kind of reputation speed dating has.

Unlike typical speed dating in, we don’t ring any bells or use any cheesy name tags. Our focus is always on keeping things cool and relaxed so you can focus on being your unique and sexy self.

Dating should be relaxed.

Speed dating is a one-on-one format. Not everyone likes that. 

Some people are way more comfortable in a group where the focus and pressure is spread out and they can interact on a more relaxed level.

A lot of key communication is non-verbal and easier to read when you’re not in a one-on-one situation.

This is why Secret RSVP events are structured so you first meet others through activities. It’s a great way to meet new people. Conversations flow more naturally when there are others about, plus you can always talk while you’re experiencing an activity along the way.

After all, we believe your first one-on-one “date” experience should be after our event with just the two of you. That’s when you can share more of yourself and build on your shared experience.

More than your typical dating event.

Speed dating events are only about finding someone to date.

But sometimes the best marriages start out as friendships. That’s why the aim of our events is to get to know others while in a team.

Again, if your aim is to find someone to share your life, you need to find a great team player. That’s why we play lots of games that involve working as teams.

When you are set up in just 1 on 1 situations, it’s pretty hard to get to know others of the opposite gender at the event.

The great part about our events is that not only can you meet someone for romantic interests but many of our attendees also end up meeting new friends, and even for networking purposes as well. 

While we don’t promise you’ll meet “the one” you do know that you will have a fun night out and meet a lot of new singles along the way.

Conclusion: The Future of Dating Events

The Limitations of Speed Dating

While speed dating has been a popular method for singles to meet potential partners, its limitations are becoming increasingly apparent. The fast pace, the pressure to impress, and the lack of meaningful interactions all contribute to its low success rate. Furthermore, as the studies have shown, even if matches are made, they often don’t lead to actual dates due to the lack of a memorable or bonding experience.

The Innovative Approach of Secret RSVP

Secret RSVP is paving the way for the future of dating events. By combining technology, social psychology, and mystery, Secret RSVP has created a dating event experience that is fun, authentic, and effective. The live-matching feature, the group games and activities, and the focus on real-life interactions all contribute to its success. As the scientific research indicates, this approach leads to more memorable experiences and stronger connections, increasing the chance of matches leading to actual dates.

Join the Secret RSVP Club List

Ready to experience the future of dating events? Join the Secret RSVP Club List to be notified when tickets are available in your city. Be part of the revolution and discover a new way to meet singles in real life. Say goodbye to the pressure and awkwardness of speed dating, and say hello to fun, mystery, and authentic connections with Secret RSVP.