One Kew Road, the pub and restaurant in Richmond where the speed dating event for adults of ages 30 to 50 was held on Tuesday

Speed dating event helps 30 to 50-year-olds in Richmond meet their match

A speed dating event for adults aged 30 to 50 was hosted in a Richmond venue this week in an attempt to combat dating app fatigue.

During Tuesday’s event at One Kew Road, 17 men and 20 women were given four minute encounters with potential love interests.

Event host Leo Darwin, 38-year-old presenter, actor, and boxer of Bromley, said that hosting the sessions was a quite enjoyable experience. 

Darwin said: “Tonight, everyone is just being social and having a drink.”

Attendee Valentin Todorov, 31, of Bulgaria told the South West Londoner that the event was “more enjoyable than the other ones”. 

He added: “I have found one and a half matches. I’ve found one person I’m sure about and there is a little bit of an age gap between me and the second person, so I don’t know.

“It’s nice to come out of my house rather than procrastinating on my PC.”

Katie Sankhalpara, 42, of Ealing said: “With online dating, all you need is minimal effort – just to message somebody is very minimal, whereas to actually come here, you would have to pay for a ticket, actually make your way here, and dress decently.

“Four minutes is enough time to know if you want to see that person again, even just for coffee, even potentially just as friends.”

Regarding the popularity of in-person speed dating, Darwin added: “The company has been around for 14 years, but last year was the busiest, which tells you that people are starting to get a little bit tired of dating apps.”

Associate Professor of Psychology at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham, HCPC-registered clinical psychologist, and co-founder of the Richmond Mental Health Initiative Dr. Silvia Riva said that speed dating events may represent ways to improve feelings of happiness and belonging and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Dr. Riva added: “These types of in-person events can also boost a sense of confidence, as people may have the opportunity to be there and to share more concrete examples of daily life and their  experiences.”

However, the professor warned that not all speed dating encounters are positive: “Speed dating is characterised by rapid interactions that may determine feelings of disappointment and rejection in some cases, potentially influencing our self-esteem.”

She stated that the post-COVID dating app fatigue may be more evident in adults aged between 30 and 50, simply because they may be more engaged in their everyday social interactions, leading to them potentially preferring in-person dating events.

Dr. Riva added that the mental health crisis affecting UK youth may also affect adults aged between 30 and 50, as social comparison may start to play a prominent role among adults in this age range. 

She said: “Some proper adults may have a family, children, or a stable relationship, and differences in these areas of life may play a role when you are 40 to 50.

“In that sense, they may struggle more than young adults – adults in their 20s may also want to find a stable relationship, but they may not have the same level of pressure.

“I would always suggest keeping a safe approach in these kinds of events, but the speed dating phenomenon is not a negative thing.”

Future events hosted by DateinaDash include the Singles Open Mic Comedy Night on 6 March and Speed Dating in Mayfair for adults of ages 30 to 45 on 7 March.

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