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181. IdeaSpark*: Dating Services February 23, 2007

Posted by Matt Fleming, PsyD in Experience, IdeaSpark*, Service.

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Either you have a partner, and thus felt pressure to have an expensive meal, find a gift, and be loving and affectionate; or you are single, and maybe felt somewhat like an outcast in our pair-bonding-centric society. I could do without that holiday.

But, because finding love and sex can be primary human drives, here are two of my IdeaSparks* to make dating easier (they may already exist):

Click on for the IdeaSparks* (long post)…


(1) “Process” Speed Dating: Regular speed dating is a popular organized gathering of many single individuals, where you meet with a series of prospective partners, each for a few minutes. It is structured, and you essentially interview each other: “So what do you do for a living?” Though the deliberate focus of this event is on variety and breadth, and not depth, it sounds potentially awkward, forced, and boring.

As opposed to discussing content (i.e. facts about each other), Process Speed Dating would be similar, but during each brief date, each person talks about their preceding date (which happened minutes ago). Since personal facts aren’t being focused on during the entire event, you would talk more about your experience of the person on your previous date.

For example: I just finished my date with Jen, and am now meeting Olivia. With Olivia, I talk about my date with Jen: e.g. what I liked about her (she flirted a lot and was curious), and what I didn’t (she is seemed catty and negative). Olivia, thus, gets a sense of what I am looking for in a partner’s personality (and not biographical info) and how I think and speak about others. The date becomes more of a conversation, and less of a back-and-forth interview.

Considerations: (a) The first date of the night won’t have a preceding date to discuss, so the topic could be how each felt about starting this novel event. But you can also have your last date be with that person, so there is a chance to process others with that person. (b) Since you are talking about another person in the room, every date must be across the room from the people from the preceding dates (e.g. When I meet with Olivia, Jen is out of earshot).

(2) Dating Feedback and Support Group: a mixed group of people where the primary goal is to give each other interpersonal feedback on dating.

For example, in a heterosexual group, the 4 men and 4 women would do some quick speed dating (actually, role playing). Then, they would all get together in a group where they give each other feedback. You could learn valuable info about your presentation, including weakness you should address (e.g. your breath stinks, you need better eye contact, ask more questions, don’t talk so much about your mother) and strengths to keep/emphasize (e.g. nice smile, good non-verbals).

Though the purpose of the group is to help you date more successfully, a bonus would be actually finding a partner during this event.



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