Speed friending?

Forget Christian Grey and his cable ties – my latest adventure in the quest for true love involved a whistle… And before your filthy minds think “wooaaah, what kind of shit is she into…” said whistle was just used to encourage men and women to meet at a speed dating event.

It was kind of like being back in a PE lesson at school having that bloody whistle go off every four minutes. I almost expected our hipster master of ceremonies to start screeching we were all slacking in scoring a love goal and to do fifty crunches then and there as punishment.

Nightmare inducing whistle aside, my first ever speed dating event was actually rather enjoyable. Organised by a company called Original Dating, it involved pencils, ID numbers, an app and what was effectively a score sheet. Ladies stayed put at whichever seat they managed to nab in the bar (I got a booth to myself and felt pity for all parties involved where four of them had to cosy up and share a booth) and the men circulated around. At the end of the night, you had until 5pm the next day to then input each man’s number into the app and select whether they were a yes, no or friend.

With much wisdom and insight into the alcoholic minds of Londoners, Original Dating’s app did allow you to also change your mind before the deadline. Sober, slightly hungover me was deeply relieved the opinions of drunk, collapsed on the sofa declaring my love for everyone me, could be overruled.

Now I didn’t find true love, I didn’t even get a date out of the event, but what I did get was a reminder of just how fun it is to make new friends.

There’s a certain buzz from the status quo being mixed up and finding other people who make you laugh, get your own peculiar sense of humour and have new stories to share or views to open your eyes to. The friend I went to the event with and I stayed long after the speed dating session was over chatting to a pair of guys we’d met – and we’ve gone out for (completely platonic) drinks since.

I love my tried and tested circle of friends dearly, but as William Cowper once said, variety is the very spice of life, and everyone benefits from the flavour new additions to the friendship circle bring.

So, I would like to celebrate International Women’s Day by saying ladies don’t get all consumed in the hunt for a life partner. Take those blinkers off and chances are you’ll encounter some pretty fun people along the way who will laugh at/with you over life’s woes (and pile you into a taxi when you’ve really done too many shots). And, that’s got to be something good, right?

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