Online Speed Dating: Does it Really Work?

Person in a Conference Call on a Laptop - Speed Dating Online

Although in-person speed dating is still popular, in recent years, more people are turning to online speed dating, especially during the pandemic. Unlike traditional speed dating, online speed dating is often easier and safer since you can date numerous people in an hour from the comfort of your home. 

Did you know that speed dating was invented by rabbi Yaacov Deyo who created it to help Jewish people get together? The very first speed dating event was held in 1998 and immediately became a success, with countries worldwide adopting the practice.

Speed dating in the virtual space is fun and an excellent opportunity for those wanting to explore new connections and find a life partner. Yet, many people often wonder if speed dating websites work and are worth their time. Our dating article will tell you everything you need to know about online speed dating, including some of the best websites to try if you’re looking for love.

What Is Online Speed Dating?

Before we examine whether speed dating websites work, we want to briefly explain online speed dating as it differs slightly from in-person speed dating.

Firstly, unlike in-person speed dating, you will use an online speed dating website to speed date via video. Secondly, online speed dating events are often significantly larger because there are no limitations on space, like in the case of in-person speed dating. It’s not uncommon to get between 100 to 200 people in a single virtual speed dating event.

Additionally, every speed dating website handles its process differently. You’ll have to learn how each site operates its online speed dating events when signed up, but most aren’t challenging to learn. Below we have given you an example of what you can expect:

  1. When joining a virtual speed dating event, you’ll likely be placed in a lobby area until you’re paired with a fellow speed dater.

  2. Once paired, you’ll have a virtual date that lasts between 3 to 6 minutes.

  3. After your date, you’ll be given a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ option to choose if you want to pursue the person after the event.

  4. Once you give your answer, you’ll be put back into the waiting lobby and paired with another person. The process is repeated until the online speed dating event has ended.

Interestingly, most speed dating websites have software that will match you with a date according to your pre-determined date range and preferences. This way, you know you’re not wasting your time on dates that won’t go anywhere.

Once the virtual event ends, you’ll receive your match result within 24 hours. With these results, you can see who also wants to see you again.

Does Online Speed Dating Actually Work?

The digital age is rife with dating apps like Bumble, Tinder, Match, and Hinge, but many are tired of these traditional dating avenues and are looking for something new to try. Should you be one of these people who feels the novelty of swiping left or right has worn off, you might be eager to try virtual speed dating.

Yet, are online speed dating websites better, and do they work? According to industry experts and researchers, online speed dating works because it leads to a significantly higher success rate for in-person dating. This is because you’ll be able to ask questions and voice concerns in advance before agreeing to meet someone in person. Ultimately, using a speed dating website to video chat will allow you to determine who is worth your time based on your initial impression, rapport, and the chemistry felt during the date.

What Does Science Say?

If you still need convincing, you might be interested to learn what science says about online speed dating. Below we have discussed two significant studies into speed dating that have demonstrated it works.

Since in-person speed dating is shown to work, it’s safe to assume that virtual speed dating hosted by dating sites works for those looking for love too.

Stanford Study

A recent study by Dan McFarland and Dan Jurafsky examined if a person can ‘click’ with another individual within four minutes. These Stanford scholars conducted this survey to determine if meaningful bonds can be formed when participating in speed dating. The findings were interesting. 

During the study, these researchers examined the conversations during speed dating encounters to determine why some speed daters felt a sense of connection and others didn’t. They surveyed almost 1,000 speed daters to determine if anything mattered about the interaction or if people felt connected based on what someone said, how they spoke, and how they looked. 

Their findings determined that what speed daters said during their date mattered and increased the likelihood of a connection forming, leading to future dates. The results showed that how a person spoke, how long they talked, and what they said significantly impacted whether a person believed they ‘clicked’ during their encounter. 

Essentially it was proven that during a four-minute speed date, a person could forge a meaningful relationship that went beyond looks and a person’s motivations. However, what was intriguing is that women proved to be more selective than men. 

Most women who participated in the survey felt a stronger connection with men who used appreciative language and sympathy. Surprisingly, women were shown to ‘click’ with matches that interrupted them to show understanding and engagement. 

Lastly, the study determined that men and women reported ‘clicking’ when the conversations focused mainly on the woman in the match. Thus if you’re a man who is interested in speed dating, you might want to take notes and focus more on your partner when virtually speed dating. 

Evolution of Human Behavior Study

A recent insightful study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior examined how seeing, smelling, and hearing factored in when choosing a romantic partner during speed dating. According to the study’s findings, it was determined that a person’s scent and the sound of his or her voice are not significant factors in speed dating outcomes.

Many studies in the past have investigated how attractiveness shapes first encounter. Still, none had examined multimodal attractiveness related to auditory, olfactory, and visual cues and how they influence speed dating.

During the study, 67 young adults were involved in a scientific speed dating event. They had to rate how attractive they found potential opposite-sex partners based on their smell, voice, and appearance.

According to the results, those who rated an individual as visually attractive were slightly more likely to rate the same person as having an attractive voice or smell. In addition, the results also indicated that those who found their matches attractive were more willing to date them again.

Ultimately, this means that people participating in in-person or virtual speed dating are more likely to go on a second date with their matches if their appearance is attractive. Based on this study, smell and voice play a small role in attractiveness in the context of speed dating.

What Are the Benefits of Online Speed Dating?

Some only need to know that virtual speed dating works before they try it. If you don’t fall into this category and need more reasons to participate in online speed dating, you might find the below sections of interest. We have rounded up some of the best benefits of online speed dating that you need to know.

1. Online Speed Dating Is Far Less Awkward

Unfortunately, most of us have been on terrine dates in the past that have traumatized us in strange or terrible ways. Some of us have even had to resort to desperate measures by escaping out of the bathroom window or getting our friends to fake an emergency to get us away from the situation.

With online speed dating, you won’t have to resort to these desperate measures if it turns out your date isn’t attractive enough or they can’t hold a conversation to save their life. Instead, when you meet someone while speed dating, you can quickly determine if there is a connection or if they are a person that bores you to tears. 

In a short time, you can determine if their looks are appealing and if their personality gels with yours.

You also needn’t worry about any awkwardness because the dates are short, and you can get important questions out of the way first without worrying about what they think of your questions. For example, asking about their age, occupation, dating preferences, or if they want a family or something casual won’t be awkward but par for the course.

Asking these personal questions upfront eliminates awkwardness down the line and helps you weed out suitable matches from bad ones.

2. Online Speed Dating Saves You Time, and Money

Dating is an enjoyable and fun pastime but let’s be real; it can be time-consuming (ahem, time-wasting) and expensive. After all, no singleton wants to spend a fortune on dates with different people every weekend if they are looking for something special. It also gets incredibly exhausting dating a new person every week because you’re worried about first impressions.

Speed Dating Online - Different People Video Chatting

Additionally, using a dating site can have its issues. You can spend months exchanging texts with someone and building a rapport, only for them to ghost you and waste your time. What’s worse, you could spend weeks hitting it off with someone only to have near silence when meeting up for an in-person date.

Fortunately, virtual speed dating negates these problems. You can meet about 15 to 20 people (on average) in one night, saving you time and money. You’ll also avoid wasting a full night trying to determine if someone is interested in you or if you’re even willing to go on a second date with them.

3. Virtual Speed Dating Removes Pressure

One of the worst things about traditional in-person dating is the pressure. If you choose to participate in virtual speed dating, you won’t be under as much pressure while dating different people, partly because the dates you go on won’t be very long.

Additionally, you won’t feel as much pressure because you won’t feel obligated to spend more time than you need to with the person if you’re not hitting it off. You also won’t feel pressured to give out your contact information.

Lastly, you won’t have the pressure associated with feeling unsafe on a date. When you’re participating in speed dating, you’ll be doing so from the comfort and safety of your home.

What Are Three of the Best Speed Dating Websites?

If you’ve read this far, you’re likely eager to learn more about which online speed dating websites you should try. There are hundreds of different sites, so understandably, you might struggle to choose a few to try.

Luckily, we’ve managed to narrow down your search. See below to learn a bit about three of the best speed dating websites you should consider trying. Yet, before you do, it’s important to note that these sites will either host speed dating events online or point you in the right direction to find in-person speed dating sites in your town or city.

1. Match.com

Match.com Homepage Screenshot

For over two decades, Match has been serving singles and helping people find love in more than 50 countries.

Match is one of the absolute best dating sites in the world because they offer one of the quickest and most thorough sign-up processes compared to the competition. Your profile will be ready in a few minutes, and you can begin matching with singles in your local area.

Although Match doesn’t offer in-platform speed dating services, they host in-person events that you can learn about on their website. Besides speed dating, they host various single-friendly events throughout the year across multiple countries.

2. Roundhop.com

Roundhop.com Homepage Screenshot

If you’re after proper virtual speed dating activities, you need to consider RoundHop. This speed-dating website allows singles to meet up to 10 people in an hour from the comfort of their homes. Although RoundHop is not as popular as other sites, its biggest attraction is its free speed dating events.

Additionally, this speed dating site is worth your time because they verify every member via LinkedIn and Facebook, and you don’t have to worry as much about scammers and flaky people.

Moreover, the virtual speed dating process on RoundHop is also simple. All members need to do is give another person a ‘thumbs up,” and RoundHop will provide you with their contact information if your match feels the same way.

3. Pre-Dating.com

Pre-Dating.com Homepage Screenshot

For over two decades, Pre-Dating.com has been one of North America’s best speed dating directories. Similarly to Match, this website holds monthly speed dating events in more than 70 cities throughout the US and Canada. As a testament to their popularity, Pre-Dating.com has held more than 5 million speed dates and counting!

According to this website, they hold many of their speed dating events at upscale bars or restaurants. You will choose to go to the events with your preferred age range and with people who have similar preferences.

It’s free to find upcoming events on the website, and you don’t need to pay to go to them. In addition, since Pre-Date.com has a 70% match rate, it’s highly likely you’ll find someone special.

What Are Some Tips to Ensure a Positive Virtual Speed Dating Experience?

Now that you know virtual speed dating works and that there are a few reliable speed dating websites you can use to find love, we want to share some tips. Below we have found a few of the best virtual speed dating tips you should follow if you want to ensure you have a positive experience.

Just because you get to stay home and date via a camera doesn’t mean you should not be clean, washed, and tidy. 

Since virtual speed dating is online, you must ensure your internet connection is stable regardless of whether you use WiFi or mobile data. Video conferencing uses a lot of data, so it’s best to use WiFi if you don’t want to risk running out.

You won’t have too much time to think about what you want to ask your dates, so it’s an excellent idea to have a set of questions that matter to you ready to ask.

You won’t have a lot of time to try and think of clever ways to say things, so try to be entertaining but straightforward.

This means you need to set up your phone or computer where you want to sit during your dates. Make sure you’re comfortable with the angle and how you look on screen. Most times, having your camera at a higher level makes you look better than if it’s positioned beneath you.

Bad lighting can affect your chances of a second date. You don’t want to have too dark or too bright lighting. If your room is a bit dark, it’s best to use softer lights, like fairy lights, downlighters, and candles, to make you more visible.

You really don’t want to be in a loud location where your dates will struggle to hear you. Additionally, make sure your mic is working how it should and that you have functional headphones or speakers.

If you show interest in them, they are more likely to be interested in you.

You likely don’t want to be uncomfortable for the many other dates you will participate in during the event.

If you pretend to be someone you’re not during your speed dates, your future dates will be awkward.

If you don’t, you could be banned from other events or the platform itself. 

That way, if you match with any people from those dates, you’ll remember why seeing them again is a good option.

If you don’t, there was no point in attending the virtual speed dating event.

Online Speed Dating FAQ

An online speed dating event usually lasts between one to three hours, with the average date lasting four minutes. You can expect to date between 10 to 20 people per event. However, the length of the dates and events will depend on the number of participants.

How much you will pay for an online speed dating event will depend on which dating website you use and how long it lasts.

Interestingly, unlike in-person speed dating events, many online speed dating events don’t have a charge since the people participating in the speed dating are already members who pay a membership fee.

Yet, this doesn’t mean all virtual speed dating sessions are free. Many range between $35 and $150 per event.

One of the biggest questions singles have when deciding to participate in online speed dating is what they should wear. Some websites have clothing requirements but most state that participants should wear smart casual clothing or what makes them comfortable. An added benefit of speed dating is that it usually doesn’t matter what you wear below the waist.

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