In my comprehensive outline on the state of dating: ‘Dating: How To Date Abroad And The 5 Ways To Empower Yourself In The Dating Market’, I categorised five different ways of meeting people for dating. In this post, we’ll look at dating through events focusing on in-person events in detail.

Events are planned social occasions where in general, most of the people don’t know each other beforehand. Due to the automatic social environment they provide, they can be a great way to meet potential dates whether they’re formal dating events or not. This article will cover different categories of events and provide information and advice for each.

Speed dating events

Speed dating is a popular type of matchmaking event. The idea of speed dating is to meet and converse with as many suitors as possible in a short period of time.

Speed daters converse with another participant for a number of minutes before the organiser signals a position change and everybody then switches to converse with another person one-to-one. This process continues until everybody has met and spoken to every other suitor. At the end of the event, participants indicate the names of the people they would like to stay in touch with to the organiser. If there’s a mutual match, the contact details of the people are shared with each other.

As a dating event, speed dating has some strengths. It allows concentrated one-on-one time between two people which they may not otherwise get in a group environment. It also allows for the chance to meet a lot of single people in one evening. In addition, speed dating events ensure gender ratios are balanced which is rarely the case at other events.

Nonetheless, it has its potential drawbacks. The ‘conveyor belt’ approach of systematically moving one person to another throughout the night can lead to repetitive and monotonous conversations. Under a time limit, participants can feel forced to date with an ‘elevator pitch’ and enter the same framework of conversations again and again. This can make the process feel like a series of interviews rather than dates. Also, the trade-off favouring the number of people you meet instead of time you spend with them means the chance to get to know someone in-depth lessens.

Here are some tips to set yourself apart at speed dating events:

Have a novelty statement or gimmick that distinguishes you: The idea is that the object helps you stand out from the crowd as well as provide a talking point that other people initiate.

For example, a former coworker of mine put bank notes in a transparent case on the back of his phone which got people talking. Other examples include having a standout item of clothing like a funky pocket square or special badge. If other people pick up on these objects, it helps differentiate you from generic introductions.

Focus on emotional impact: Under a time limit, the setup favours those who can make as much emotional impact as possible in a short period of time. Focus on aspects of the conversation that get this through quickly such as humour, intrigue, flirtation and cliffhangers. There isn’t enough realistic time to have deep conversations with suitors but if you make enough impact, the person will probably want to hear the rest of what you have to say next time to build more of a connection then.

Break out of the mold of back-and-forth interview style questioning: It’s all too easy to resort to typical rapport questions we’ve all heard before such as ‘What’s your job?’, ‘Where do you live?’ etc. There’s nothing wrong with these questions in principle but during a speed date, EVERYBODY asks these questions meaning you won’t stand out.

Think of alternative topics to talk about based on interesting aspects of your life. Make playful guesses about a person’s career or town of residence instead of ‘interviewing’ them. This will make the interactions more fun for you and the others.

Make the most of the breaks: If there are breaks during your speed dating event, see if you can ignite further conversations with people you like the most to strengthen connections you have with them.

Be aware of the age range of a speed dating event: Speed dating is oriented towards people looking for serious relationships and thus age can be more of an important factor in this formalised setting. If you’re a man at or around the minimum age threshold, be aware that this could make it more difficult for you to get matches. Similarly, if you’re a woman at or around the maximum age ceiling, be aware that you could also experience difficulties. Depending on your wants and open-mindedness, consider speed dating events with age ranges that suit rather than limit you.

If you live in a city, there are many speed dating events held often so search online for ones local to you. Research to see if the organisers follow a format conducive to the information and tips above which usually indicates a well-run event.

Dating Events Speed Dating

Networking events/meetups

Unlike official dating events, networking events and meetups aren’t held with the ultimate purpose of meeting dates. Nonetheless, they can be great opportunities to meet people as many of them have lots of single people open to dating.

There are countless networking and casual socialising events around and if you live in a big city, you’ll have an abundance to choose from. Apart from general work and business events you may have access to as part of your job, some specific resources you can use to find these events are:

Meetup.com – an online platform featuring user created groups to host in-person or online events. Meetup’s scope is comprehensive—there are hundreds of thousands of groups in around 180 countries. Social groups range from extremely broad (e.g. city social) to idiosyncratically niche (e.g. Philadelphia ship preservation) so you’re bound to find a social event right for you.

Eventbrite – a major events platform allowing people to host and attend a wide-range of ticketed and non-ticketed events.

AllEvents.in – another worldwide platform offering different events in 40000 cities.

Facebook events – the events wing of the famous social media platform. Allows for free and niche events from an existing user base who can’t necessarily promote their events on other platforms.

Since these types of events are not formal matchmaking gatherings, it’s important to respect the ethos of the events. Be aware that not everyone is there to look for dates or partners and don’t push for a connection if there isn’t one. But as with any other style of event, there are specific tips you can use to increase your chance of meeting likeminded dates:

Gender ratios: If possible, attend events with more balanced gender ratios. The truth is in this day and age, most networking and meetup events have more men than women. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but at some events, the male to female ratio is heavily lopsided towards men and it detracts the event experience for all demographics, especially women.

You don’t need to attend an event that’s 50:50 but a more balanced event leads to a better experience for everybody. Members of the opposite sex will have a chance to speak with more people one-on-one this way.

Gender ratios aren’t made explicit in advance at most events but if you have a chance to view past events from the same organisation, scan the participants list to see if they were balanced events or sausage fests to help inform your decision to attend.

Go first: If there’s someone you fancy talking to, take it upon yourself to strike up the conversation. You don’t lose any points for trying and other people will respect your initiative.

If you’re not a socially egregious person by nature, starting a conversation with a stranger may feel nerve-racking. But realise most people at events wouldn’t count themselves as socially egregious and there are many hoping someone takes the initiative to talk to them. If you sit and wait around for someone to come to you, you might find yourself talking to less people than you thought by the end of the event. If it helps you get started, consider going to an event with a friend so that you’re warmed-up by the time you start talking to others.

Isolate: If you’re talking to someone and you sense there’s chemistry, it’s better to continue the conversation one-on-one rather than in a group dynamic. Suggest to the other person that you both find seats somewhere else in the vicinity so you can get to know each other better. Finding a separate place to sit is better than standing since others will likely join your conversation at some point if you continue standing.

In general, it pays to be social and friendly to everyone at networking events and meetups. Don’t be someone single-mindedly trying to find dates at an event that’s not about formal matchmaking, you’ll put people off. Be bold but respectful at the same time. If you don’t find a date, you still might find a future friend or community to be part of.

Dating Events Meetup

Other events

Outside of the aforementioned events, there are a myriad of others that offer the possibility of meeting new people including potential partners. While there are too many to mention here, some of the more popular alternative types of events include:

– Workshops

– Seminars

– Festivals

– Charity events

– Languages exchanges

The platforms listed in the ‘Networking events/meetups’ section can also act as a base for finding alternative types of events. The tips in that section broadly apply to attending other types of events too. However, be aware that if the events aren’t oriented towards casual socialising like a networking event is, it won’t be as easy to apply the tips.

One note of importance is to be aware of gimmick events. These are events with special themes that look like good ways to meet people on paper but can be unnecessarily complexified activities that fail to meet the core purpose of socialisation.

Both formal dating and non-dating events can fall into this category. Gimmick events can be made or broken depending on the organisation and planning.

For example, an escape-room dating event stands out as a unique and alternative matchmaking activity. But if the event doesn’t allow participants individual time to get to know each other such as through a tandem activity or in a post-game drinks afterwards, it’s not going to meet its goal as a matchmaker.

Likewise, a supper club event that isn’t formally about dating might still seem like a great way to meet potential partners. But the restricted seating and inability to freely talk with people on other parts of the table due to the seating arrangements could hold you back. You might not even end up sitting next to someone you like.

There’s no problem including a fun twist in an event but the core purpose of allowing people to mingle and connect shouldn’t be relegated in importance. It’s fine if you want to attend an event because you find the theme fun in and of itself but if your intent is to meet people for dating, do your research on the nature and organisation of that particular event beforehand.

As a general rule of thumb, if the event’s ethos and structure are in line with the tips provided for the other types of events above, it’ll be more conducive to meeting potential dates. If it isn’t or seems overly complex, consider looking for another event.

Dating Events Gimmick


In-person events can be a great way of meeting people for dating. The right events can be fun, thematic, and social environments conducive to finding out if you have chemistry with new people.

With the purpose of meeting people for dating, events fall into two categories: formal matchmaking events and everything else.

Speed dating is the most famous type of matchmaking dating event. It lets participants meet each other one-to-one for the same amount of time allowing for equality in the matchmaking process. In doing so, it trades off longer times to get to know people for quantity. But due to the balanced attendee ratios, this can be a good way of making initial connections to follow up with another time. It’s helpful to separate yourself from the crowd at speed dating events. Among other things, focus on making as much of an impact in the short time you have to date.

Not all events have to be oriented towards dating. Networking and meetup events are free social environments to mingle with a range of people. The thing to do at such events is to put your best foot forward and initiate conversations. Many people want to do this but don’t so they’ll appreciate that you do. Remember that networking and meetup events aren’t setup for dating so be mindful about pushing an interaction in a romantic direction if someone isn’t interested, stay respectful.

There are other types of events to meet people at—in theory, any event can lead to meeting someone interested in dating you but do your research on alternative types of events beforehand. Some events are gimmicks that aren’t reliable gatherings for socialising. Make sure an event is oriented towards casual and free socialising so that you can introduce yourself to who you want to.

‘Events’ is only one of the five ways to meet people for dating. In future posts, I will detail other methods of meeting people for dating at home or abroad. Subscribe to Abroad Lifestyles to be the first to hear when these comprehensive dating overviews are released.