The Quest | The Free Press of Reed College

Lacking Time, But Seeking Love, Reedies Speed Date

This article is also available as an online radio story.
Speed Dating

Whether on the hunt for a Valentine’s Day date or just looking to meet new people, dozens of Reedies filed into the Student Union on Saturday afternoon for Reed’s first speed dating event.

Students attempted to make small talk, get to know each other, and gauge romantic interest–all in two minutes’ time. Once time elapsed, Andrew Watson ’14 bellowed “Switch!” across the SU. Students then shook hands, moved over one spot, and repeated the process.

Typical speed dating questions ranged from “What do you do for fun?” to more specific ones, such as “What would you bring with you on a desert island?“ Event organizer Lizzi Lindboe ’14 put a Reed spin on one of her questions, asking, “If you could pick a Renn Fayre theme, what would it be?”

According to Lindboe, roughly 60 students showed up. While Watson characterized the male-male showing as “a little weak,” he was impressed with the overall turnout, particularly among underclassmen. Watson also reported that out of the 47 cards that were returned, 17 people were matched up.

The idea for a speed dating event sprung from a conversation between Lindboe and Chris Lu ‘14. “We talked about how Reedies are stereotypically bad at meeting each other,” says Lindboe. They decided that speed dating was “a good way to force Reedies to meet each other and talk to each other.”

“We’re busy people,” says Lu. “Sometimes we forget about other people. Sometimes we remember other people and are too busy to do anything about it.” According to Lu, he and Lindboe decided that speed dating would be “either really funny, incredibly interesting, or really fruitful.”

Participants echoed Lu and Lindboe’s sentiments, saying that Reedies often lacked both the time and the social skills to meet each other.

“I decided to come to speed dating because I think it’s really rare to have an actual conversation one-on-one with intention,” said participant Erin Appleby ’15. “We have these passing conversations where we say ‘Hi, how are you?’ ‘I’m tired.’ ‘Me too!’”

Participant Mark Walth ’14 saw the event as a chance to broaden his social horizons: “I realized that I don’t recognize that many people on campus, so this seemed like a good way to get to know people who I wouldn’t normally get to meet.”

Each participant was given a card with a number. Students who identified as male sat on the outside of a circle of tables, with students who identified as female sitting on the inside. The male students then rotated around the circle every two minutes. While there was ample room for all three groups – male-female, male-male, and female-female – the male-male and female-female groups yielded turnouts in the single digits, prompting the two groups to eventually join the broader male-female group once the event began. Participants wrote the numbers of people who interested them on the back of their own card, which were then returned to the organizers at the end of the event. If two people indicated mutual interest, Lindboe and Watson would send them an email afterwards.

Students appeared to leave the SU in good spirits and with a generally positive impression of the event.

“Every interaction was pleasant…No ‘love at first sight’-type issues, but I had a good time,” said Walth. “I think it’s something that we should do again.”

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