Speed dating is an organized social event that allows a single person to meet many other single people at once rather than just going on a date with one person. Typically, speed dating sessions are held at a club, restaurant or other venue and people speak to each other in groups of two while enjoying a drink or some food. Usually, each group is limited to less than 10 minutes of chatting before one member rotates to form a new group of two.
Speed dating participants are often allowed to discuss whatever they wish as long as certain rules are followed. Typically, the participants cannot exchange contact information during the speed date. Instead, they must make a note of the people they are interested in seeing again. A few days after the speed dating event, participants are given the names and contact information of those that would like to see them again.
The invention of speed dating is credited to Rabbi Yaacov Deyo who tried the method on Jewish singles in his congregation to help them find potential marriage partners. Most speed dating sessions today require pre-registration with a credit card. Pre-registration is important because there needs to be an even number of males and females. Of course, in same-sex speed dating events this isn't necessary. Prequalification is important in some speed dating groups if the group is targeted to certain ages such as seniors only or under 30s only, although many speed dating groups are not age specific.
Fairly common in both North America and Europe, speed dating can be a real time saver for singles looking to meet that special person. The method is designed to be organized and regulated and typically up to 100 singles participate in any given speed dating event. Meeting so many people at once can also be good practice for those wanting to develop their skills at talking with new people. Plus, when the couple meets again they will already know a little bit about each other.