Here is my list of singles events, organized by how much I liked them, what the key success factor is, and who they attract.
* Dinner out. Show up, eat, talk to the three people to the left right and front of you. A variation on this theme is spectator event (like some show), followed by a group dinner out.
* Lock and key event. It’s an elaborate trick to get everyone to talk to many people. Guys get keys, girls get locks, the game is to find the person you has the reciprocal part.
Night club with a ice breaker. Ice breakers are important because bars already exist–a singles event provides no value add value without it, except that presumably the crowd knows that people might hit on them and it is expected, unlike a regular bar where flirting is done by complicated unconscious and secret signals.
* Speed dating. Continually restarting a 4 minute conversation with random people. Groups larger than 40 people are not really speed dating unless held inside an airplane hangar on account of sound problems.
* Singles Volunteering. Work at a volunteer event doing minimum wage labor for free, then go out for dinner. It works unless people are tired after work and don’t want to go out for dinner. Depending on the
* Hiking. Good event because you get a chance to talk to someone for a long time. It literally takes time to break the ice for some people–event extroverts don’t get to the interesting conversational bits for at least half an hour.
* Night club without an ice breaker. Fine for raging extroverts. But raging extroverts find twenty friends walking to the metro, why are they going to a singles event? Still, some how people show up at these in large numbers, someone must like them.
* Classes. Obviously no one interacts during a lecture, unless they are rude to the teacher. So a successful singles class will have to do something that requires student to student interaction, like breaking into mini-discussion groups.
* Discussion/Round circle. In DC, these often get really big, so they use the 3-5 minute rule and a token that gets passed around to indicate who speaks. This is important in mixed gendered groups because the large the group, the more likely men are to hog time and women to not talk at all (It’s proven by sociologists! Don’t make me have to pull a reference on you!)
* Book Club. These are slow to start, require planning sometimes months in advance. The long lead times leads to sometimes poor group cohesion ( losing/gaining lots of members). Obviously a singles book club would try to pick a book that is interesting to both men & women and may be topical to relationships and the like.
* Un-singles groups, e.g young adults groups. This would include any special interest group that has high cohesion (same large core of people at all events) So far the only group I’ve seen like this at a church event, although I suppose some work and school environments are like this.
* Pot luck. See above & basic singles event.
* Holiday party. See above & basic singles event.
Basic Singles Event. Dissuade married people from coming, encourage singles, provide opportunity for people people to interact. Sometimes events are gender balance, sometimes not. The ever popular 50%/50% target ratio is broken because women travel in pairs and the wing woman isn’t necessarily open dating. Sometimes participants are expected to ask for numbers and follow up on their own, sometimes the organizer gives everyone the attendees email’s afterwards.
Age range targeting is similarly tricky. To broad of an age range spread and no one can find someone in their preferred age range. A singles party with conversants 40 years apart is wishful thinking on the part of one or the other. And for some reason women tend to date older men and men date younger women, so the optimal announcement would say something like, women aged x to y and men aged x-1 to y + 5. But that is too much math.