The words “speed friending” flashed on my screen.
“Speed friending?” I thought. “Like we are going to see if we are compatible as friends after asking each other are favorite color and place to eat?”
Red and Meli’s Cafe, if you are wondering.
In between orders on Taco Tuesday and a shopping trip, I spoke with Devon Kelly, the organizer of speed friending social mixers.
In our age of dating apps and singles events, we filter our potential lovers and friends virtually, but crave to hangout with them in-person.
Kelly gives us something else to look forward to—the elementary art of making friends in the city.
People will say they are looking for friends (*cough* with benefits) on Tinder and at singles events. But having a game plan to be friends first, a.k.a. actually like the person, not just the body of the people you are hanging out with, makes sense. Who wants to date someone who you can’t talk to? And maybe, I just want someone to hangout with in the city.
When Kelly organized events for Match.com, she noticed something. Men were talking with women, but they were also talking with other men.
Since her job at Match.com, she has become an independent event planner for her own company, Mix & Mingle Chicago, and a full-time co-owner of Chicago restaurant, Hard Water Bar and Grill (7545 N Clark, Chicago) in Roger’s Park.
She is known on Meetup.com and Eventbrite for social mixers, or what she calls them”speed friending.”
Her social mixers are primarily in Roger’s Park and Edgewater, but she recently added someone to her team to host events throughout the city, as she has done in the past.
Kelly notes on her event posts:
Remember, our average member gets 4 friends and 2 dates most times at our events, so be extra social for this event so we can break this record!
Speed friending events cater to two age groups: 20s-30s and 40s-50s. More people attend the 20s-30s events, but Kelly has steady participation in her 40-50s social mixers, as well.
There’s homework for speed friending events. Yes, but it’s not terrible.
Speed friending events are setup like a speed dating event. You have a certain amount of time with someone to ask them questions (men and women) and then you switch.
Kelly encourages guests to bring a few of their own questions to ask. Below are some pointers she has for conversation starters.
Here are some sample questions that you can ask your partner:
1) If you were given a million dollars, what would you do with it?
2) Would you rather have the ability to fly? Or have the ability to breathe underwater? Why?
3) What would make you a good friend? What are your best qualities?
Steer away from these type of questions:
1) What do you do for work?
2) How long have you lived in here?
3) What do you like most about this town?
Upcoming Speed Friending Events:
Let’s be friends. Shout out (@WindyCityCosmo) on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook if you would like to go to one of these social mixer events with Windy City Cosmo ! I just might go with you 🙂
- Speed Dating 20s and 30s, Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 7:00-10:30 pm
- Speed Friending, Friday, January 22, 2016, 7:00-close
- Speed Dating 40s and 50s, Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 7:00-10:30 pm
Other Events for Meeting New People:
The idea of speed dating or speed friending might be intimidating.
I personally met everyone through meetup.com or professional events in Chicago when I first moved to Chicago. (I still do!)
Below are a few upcoming Meetup.com events to meet fellow Chicagoans in an bar setting.
- An Evening of Conversations and Cocktails (through Meetup.com group, Meet People (and friends) Chicago), The Bedford, Saturday, January 30, 2016, 8:00 pm
- Mix, Mingle and Set Your Networking on Fire (through Meetup.com, Chicago New in Town), IO Urban rooftop, Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 6:00-9:00 pm