There’s an art to speed dating. It’s not a race to the finish line, and it’s not about cramming in 20 full-size dates into one short evening.
The secret is not to look at these short interactions as a condensed version of a date. It’s about looking at each as an opportunity to skip the small talk and have a meaningful interaction about one or two topics that you actually care about. If you want a spark, you’ve got to provide the matches.
So here are seven great questions to get the fire burning for the best speed date ever.
1. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?
Yes or no questions are a waste of time. Ask questions that, when answered, tell you about a person’s hopes and desires. Do you share a similar travel dream? Are they into adventure or do they prefer relaxation? Bustling city or quaint countryside?
2. What’s your favorite time of day and why?
Tacking on “and why” to a question is a nice way to understand what drives a person. Do they like the morning because it’s a fresh start to a brand new day — or because it erases the mistakes of the night before? Two different answers that give you a specific idea of this person’s take on life (and whether or not it appeals to you).
3. Desert island. You can take five items. Go.
The desert island prompt is cliché, yes, but think of it as common ground. They’ve heard the question before, but it’s still an interesting starter. It stirs up the imaginative thinking instead of the automated. You also get a good sense of their priorities, even if it’s a fantasy question.
4. Describe the perfect weekend.
This prompt directs the person to paint a picture for you of their ideal weekend. You can better assess compatibility with another not by looking at where they live or how they’re employed, but at what their goals and aspirations are.
5. If you won the lottery, how would you spend it?
Insert money into the conversation if you’re feeling gutsy. It’s a fun question that most people like answering because who doesn’t want to imagine they’ve come into a quick and easy fortune! But if discussing money on a first date strikes an uneasy chord with you, perhaps skip this one.
6. What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
Getting a sense of what kinds of risks people take — and also their perspective of it, after the fact — tells you a lot about a person. Does it excite them, embarrass them, or make them laugh? How does it compare to your own range of adventure and what you want to welcome into your life?
7. Where are you from and where have you lived?
I’ve suggested a lot of questions that reveal a person’s dreams, goals, and desires, but this one shares a little bit of their history and reality. Nothing wrong with a little bit of balance.
My final suggestion for the best speed date ever? Just do it. Don’t overthink. Lookup speed dating events near me, and sign up. And then ask your dates about the things that you genuinely want to know, in ways that make them genuinely want to share. Good luck!