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‘If you’re serious about finding someone, then dating apps can be a huge waste of time’: Belfast couple launch matchmaking service

By on July 4, 2022 0

A Belfast couple who met at a speed dating event have started their own business to help singles find their perfect partner.

Erard Auld and Leona McGlinchey have started their own speed dating company called Rate My Date NI and have already started hosting bespoke events at various bars around town.

Speed ​​dating has waned in popularity as more people turn to dating apps – but the couple believe the combination of Covid and a backlash towards online dating will boost interest again.

They are banking on a growing number of singles wanting to meet in person and hope to create a fun environment to facilitate this.

“I think a lot of people are fed up with online dating,” laughs Leona, (34), from North Belfast.

“You invest so much time messaging and almost pen pals with someone, and then you meet in person and realize there’s no physical spark, or they’re nothing alike. to their profile pictures.

“I remember a group of my girlfriends laughing one night when we all realized we were getting messages from the same guy.

“It might be funny, but if you’re serious about finding someone and starting a relationship, apps can just be a huge waste of time.”

Gérard (38) believes that as the world emerges from the pandemic, there is a real desire for face-to-face interaction.

“People want to get out and move around,” he says. “After nearly two years in and out of different lockdowns, a lot of people feel rusty when it comes to going out and meeting new people.

“Speed ​​dating is the perfect way to relax, in a room full of people who are all in the exact same boat.”

Gerard and Leona met at a speed dating event.

“He was the first guy who came to my table,” Leona said. “We now jokingly call ourselves ‘table six’. Of everyone at the event that night, Gerard was the only one I exchanged numbers with.

“The rest is history. We started talking about hosting our own events because we’re living proof that speed dating works, but then of course Covid delayed our plans.

With restrictions on socializing now – hopefully – a thing of the past, Gerard and Leona were finally able to launch Rate My Date NI, saying it only takes four minutes to find love.

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Gerard and Leona met while speed dating

Gerard and Leona met while speed dating

For the uninitiated, the principle of speed dating is simple. Participants are separated into two groups – usually men and women – with some seated on separate tables. The other parties move from table to table, with each potential couple having four minutes to chat, before moving on.

The idea is to give singletons the opportunity to meet a large number of potential partners in a short time.

During the event, the organizers collect comments. If two participants both agree that they would like to meet again, this is called a “match” and they will then receive each other’s contact details.

Gérard explains: “At the start of the evening, we give everyone a match card, then if you feel you have a connection with someone, you can tick ‘yes’ in the ‘Do you want a second date? ?’ column.

“If the other person also ticks ‘yes’ for you, then you’re a match. We email all of our attendees the next day with their match details, so it’s very discreet. It’s then up to you decide if you want to take the first step and agree on another appointment.

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Rate my Date says it only takes four minutes to potentially find love


Rate my Date says it only takes four minutes to potentially find love

Rate my Date says it only takes four minutes to potentially find love

In an effort to make matches more likely, many Rate My Date NI events have different age ranges for attendees. On average, each event is attended by approximately 15 men and 15 women.

Gerard adds: “Four minutes might not seem like a long time, but it’s enough to make that initial connection and see if there’s a physical spark.

“Our events are organized in such a way that they have regular intervals, where people can meet at the bar and chat again. In many cases, it is also possible to stay on site for another drink afterwards.

“Our events take place in private rooms or in bar spaces like McHugh’s bar downtown.

“Some speed daters come alone, while others come with friends, but everyone is separated for the actual meeting, so everyone is in the same boat.

“It’s natural to feel nervous when meeting new people, but if you don’t connect on any of the dates, they’ll move on in four minutes and you’ll have the chance to chat with someone new. .”

Rate My Date NI has only been running for a few months, but Gerard and Leona have already had several success stories, with budding relationships starting at their events.

The couple also planned same-sex speed dating events to coincide with Pride.

“We want people to have fun,” says Leona. “Dating is supposed to be fun. Consider it a chance to practice your flirting and social skills, if nothing else.

“We also had some great feedback from people who came away from our events with new friendships.

“A woman told me that although she has not met the love of her life, she has formed a new friendship group of women.

Gerard adds, “When it comes to finding your perfect partner, nothing can replace authentic face-to-face interactions, and we provide a fun and safe environment to do so.

“There’s no exact science in the dating world – what works for one person won’t work for another. But enjoying someone’s company online and enjoying being with them in person can be two very different things.

“So if you fancy trying something different, step out from behind your screen and try one of our speed dating events.”

For more information visit: ratemydateni.com


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