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Speed Dating Services Try to Woo Gen Z


HOST, DEAN CONDOLEO: Today is Singles Awareness Day. For those who don’t wish to remain single, there are a lot of ways to meet new partners - including, of course, the apps.  But, some young singles are now trying out a time-tested option: speed dating. And, as Samuel Eli Shepherd reports, speed dating companies are having to adapt to meet a new generation’s needs.

BYLINE, SAMUEL ELI SHEPHERD: At the Two-Thirty Fifth Rooftop Bar in midtown, singles are sipping martinis on luxurious lounge chairs. Chocolates are scattered over the tables. It’s the weekend before Valentine’s Day. There’s a lot of chit-chat. 

ALYSSA WILLIAMS: My name’s Alyssa Williams. I am 28 years old I live in New York City right now.

SHEPHERD: Participants get three minutes to introduce themselves to a new partner. And then a bell rings…onto the next. Like Williams, a lot of these daters are members of Gen Z: roughly defined as people born after 1996, and are turning to speed dating after becoming disappointed with dating apps.

WILLIAMS: I don’t really like the idea of them…I feel like people are almost  devalued on apps like that where you have so much choice. 

SHEPHERD: Tonight’s event is led by Eli Galarza: she helps run NY Minute Dating. Galarza is really busy, so I caught up with her later on Zoom. Speed dating worked for her – that’s how she met her husband and co-owner of the company, Rich  – now she’s trying to sell the idea to Gen Z, and she say it’s tough. 

ELI GALARZA: I feel like this younger generation are a little bit more cautious of meeting in person compared to…just answering a text or you answering online… 

SHEPHERD:  According to a 2022 report by the meditation app, Calm, 58% of Gen Zers said they felt anxious most of or all the time: ten percent more than millenials. 

ANDREW ROTH: It’s not a flaw of the generation. 

SHEPHERD: Andrew Roth should know. He’25. He founded a company to help brands reach Gen Z.

ROTH: If other generations were facing the same environment pressures and access to media that we have, they would be facing the same anxieties. Gen Zers are really fearful of what the outcomes will be in a world where so much certainty is built into every swipe, but so much uncertainty is built into the real world.

SHEPHERD  NY Minute’s Eli Galarza is seeing how option overload has impacted how Gen Z does speed dating.

GALARZA: For the younger ones, they kind of know within like thirty seconds, within a minute, as soon as they sit down. So for the younger one, we try to do something that’s faster.

SHEPHERD: And Gen Z’s dating habits have affected how the Galarzas do outreach.

GALARZA: We had to adapt. If we didn’t adapt, we would’ve been out of the event industry. And even now there's still people that are not open or comfortable to going out, meeting in person. So we have certain events that we still do online. 

SHEPHERD: The company uses Instagram and Facebook, but they still struggle to market to Gen Z.  But back at the speed dating event, the GenZers who made it through the door said they were having a great time. Like Hailee.

GALARZA: I love looking people in the eye and making a connection, as opposed to getting a nasty DM on Tindr.

SHEPHERD: Maybe there’s no screen to hide behind , but for some GenZers, if they’re willing to take a leap…in person, speed dating can be a perfect match. Samuel Eli Shepherd. Columbia Radio News.


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