Gulf Coast Matchmaker Denise Levy will host a speed dating event in Miramar Beach for single people of Northwest Florida. She offers 10 dating tips to help them prepare.
As August — National Romance Awareness Month — comes to an end, Denise Levy has dating on the brain.
The founder of Matchmaker Gulf Coast will host a speed dating event Sept. 7 to help single people in Northwest Florida find friendship, love or both. People must be single to attend.
Levy believes speed dating is a better option than online dating, apps and texting, she said.
“People tend to make snap decisions based on a few photos and words in a dating profile,” Levy said. “At least with speed dating, you get to actually meet and talk to the person face to face before you judge them.
"Speed dating helps to get people offline and puts them face to face with other singles that ultimately have the same goal: They want to develop a relationship.”
At the speed dating event, everyone will be seated according to age range. The first mini date of three to five minutes begins when the timer is started. When the time is up, gentlemen move to the next table.
Levy, a trained Gottman Leader, will help conversations by providing questions from The Gottman Institute that have been scientifically proven to help build strong relationships, she said.
No contact information will be exchanged. The event will incorporate an app that participants log into to mark yes or no if they want to meet for a real date. If both parties say yes, the app will notify them and exchange contact information within 24 hours. If a participant doesn’t end up on a mini speed date with someone they noticed, they will still have an opportunity to match with that person during the after-party by marking yes or no on the app.
Dress code for the Speed Dating Event is the same as if you are going on a first date. Dress to impress, but don't choose an outfit that you feel awkward or uncomfortable in. Choose an outfit that makes you feel confident.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit deniselevybsw.com/speed-dating-event.html.
Levy gave 10 dating tips for singles.
1. My No. 1 tip is thoughtfulness. Being mindful of the other person’s likes, dislikes and interests can help you to plan better dates. Once you have agreed to go out with someone, have a clear, concise plan. Be sure your date knows what that plan is so they can dress and prepare appropriately and you both know what to expect. Don’t be wishy-washy with phrases, such as “What do you want to do?” or “I don’t care. What do you want to do?”
2. People can improve their dating situation by learning to take it offline sooner rather than messaging back and forth for weeks. Singles need to get out and be social. By attending a speed dating event, meet and greet, networking event or meet-up group, they will open up a world of real dating options with real people.
"I say stop swiping and put your face in the real world for real opportunities," she said.
3. Stay away from discussion topics such as the ex, previous dates, the divorce or anything negative. Let’s face it, if all those things were positive, you wouldn’t be sitting there with the new person you just met. Stick with topics that are comfortable — your taste in music, the last good book you read, your favorite movie, vacation or adventure. People tend to open up more when the conversation is of a positive nature. Try to be interested and interesting. Listen and ask easygoing questions.
4. Don’t tell your life story. Revealing your innermost secrets can lead to a quick rejection. Relationships take time and that is what dating is for, so don’t put it all out on the table on your first date. You will have plenty of time to discuss these things as you get to know the person better over time.
5. The greatest compliment you can give someone is your full attention. With that in mind, the first rule of first dates is to pay attention. Turn off your cellphone and be present for the other person. If they agreed to go out with you, respect their time and stop checking your phone.
6. Always present the best version of your true authentic self. Do not lie, over exaggerate or be anything false just because you think it might impress the other person. The truth always comes out in the end.
7. Be punctual, dress neat and appropriately for the occasion. Avoid liquid courage and keep it to a two-drink maximum. Do not expect intimacy from a first date. This just gives the impression you are interested in a hook-up not a relationship.
8. Try not to judge the person from just one date. Go out a few times before you determine if they are relationship-worthy. Worst case scenario, you meet a new friend and, who knows, that person may introduce you to someone you are more suited for.
On the flip side of that, try not to figure out if the person you just met is marriage material. One of the things that can be a big turn off is when someone you just met is mentally moving in and planning your wedding. Desperation is not sexy.
9. Learn how to compliment. People put effort into getting ready for a date, so take the time to compliment the other person and mean it. Not just “I like your sweater” but “I like how your sweater brings out the color of your eyes.” Learning how to properly compliment might be the key to a second date.
10. First dates can be nerve-racking, so do yourself a favor and skip dinner. Dinner dates do not make the best first date. You sit across the table from each other and the interrogation begins. One or both of you will be nervous, so I suggest you do something fun, something where you can laugh a little. Go play miniature golf, bowling, ride the go-karts or go to an arcade. This helps to lighten the mood.
For those who are extremely shy, I recommend a walk on the beach or a stroll through a park for first dates. Because you are walking, you are not forced to maintain eye contact as much as if you were sitting across a table trying to enjoy your coffee while making a good impression.