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Making the most of speed dating

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

Carole Railton explains how we can make the most of speed dating and how love is never boring.

All I really want is a tall handsome man who is well paid or retired, living well, easy going and, of course, emotionally intelligent, on top of his game, own house, hair, teeth, fit, agile, good at all things. A great sense of humour. Also, he needs to be well turned out, and know how to fix things, be able to travel and, among other things, be good in bed.

How many times have you said this? Men, just reverse the sex - no baggage - independent - no ex and kids - no trouble from previous relationships, that sort of thing. We do not quite do the knight in shining armour, but not far from it.

When we analyse this, we will see we are virtually asking for our prince/princess. What’s more, we do not want him/her to have had too many experiences since we want little baggage. Can you really expect someone to be perfect in the way that we are demanding? Are we able to offer perfection in return?

It’s our history that makes us who we are. We all have had wonderful and sad experiences. We have all made mistakes and we all need to heal from them to move on. But what of these demands, what does it actually do to us? Yes, it stops us moving and experiencing, because the likelihood of us finding anyone who is perfect is very remote. Most near-perfect people become religious leaders.

Love is not boring for sure, and meeting new people is always fun, but attraction is not made up of a checklist - it is a chemical reaction. How often have you heard about people who met their partner when they were not looking their best? I can relate to that, I had a plumbing problem at home and arranged to meet my friend in a bar after work, so I could go off to her house for a shower (it was before we all belonged to gyms). I had only been in the bar for five minutes when a guy started talking to me. Now, if I tell you that I had my hair scooped back because it needed a wash, and that I had an old black dress on and was not feeling at my best, you will understand how I felt. Not so good. It was because of his persistence and confidence that I was able to be free with him. He held a safe space for me. Oh, and by the time my friend arrived she thought I had known him for years from our body language.

Going with the flow is something that we need to do more often. There have never been more exciting times and the choices for all of us are plentiful. Being in our flow, being proud of who we are and doing, as near as possible, what we want to do benefits our well being. It is far better to be happy than sad, and much more rewarding to be at ease than restricted. Who would you rather be with - someone who is doing and being who they want to be or someone who is always striving to be something that in reality they know they can never achieve?

This is not about accepting second best. This is about being clear and open to experience that comes along. According to Malcolm Gladwell, in Blink (The power of thinking without thinking) “we live in a world that assumes that the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it”. Haste makes waste.

Most of us think that we are in a better position if we gather lots of information about something, but often it’s our first impressions that work for us. We do it all the time, we see something - perhaps in a shop, a couple arguing or a couple loving and we make a decision about them instantly. We walk into a room, an interview, and decide at that moment what will happen and, more importantly what we want to happen... and often it does. What is going on here? We are working on intuition, and the best way to develop this is to learn as much as possible and then trust that what we do and decide will support us. If we do not believe in ourselves, who will? If we do not believe that we can make choices without lists, guess what, that is exactly what will happen to us. But if the list is too demanding, then just like all other perfectionist tendencies, it prevents us from achieving.

Let’s get back to finding a partner. What I’m asking you to do is live your life as near to spontaneity as you can for the next couple of weeks. See how much this lightens you, give thanks for what you already have. Be happy going about your daily tasks, and make choices quickly. Whilst I worked for Xerox, I had a boss who got fed up with me rejecting applicants provided by the HR department. He came to my office and gave me a brief but precise lecture on the art of recruiting. "You will never find a mini-Carole Railton, you can always train someone, now I want you to take on the next person who comes into your office, as they will have already been vetted somewhat by HR". I had no choice. It worked; the person was as good as the rest of my team.

Speed dating is a perfect example of those quick decisions. People make up their minds that they want to get to know someone more in a 3-minute interview. Yes some of them do work out, and yes some of them don’t - but ah, that’s life. Have fun being you.

Photo: by Carole Railton. "Going with the flow."

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