Location: Places >> Europe >> Belgium >> Flanders >> Gent
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Posted November 28th, 2012 - 6:58 pm by from Gent, Belgium (Permalink)
Hey everyone!

Ever heard about speed-friending? I had not, until a couple of days ago. I met Adrian Siegle, the CS ambassador of Wroclaw in Poland, who told me they organized this kind of events in Wroclaw with an amazing success. I'm intrigued by the concept ever since.

So what is it? I think most of you can already guess. From the internet:
"Speed-friending is similar in concept to speed-dating in that it gives attendees a great chance to meet many people in a fast and structured way for the purpose of determining potential connection."
The concept is simple: short face-to-face conversations are following one after another, ended each time by a sound, after which the conversational partners change. But it requires some good organization, which I cannot - or rather do not want to - do alone. However, if I have to, I will.

First, we need to find a good place for such events. This means:
- big enough for at least 20 people to sit face-to-face (I'm expecting even more).
- empty enough for at least 20 people to sit face-to-face.
- quiet enough to have a comfortable face-to-face conversation.
- owners who will allow us to have such an event. The sound and changing of places after every conversation can be disturbing for people in the same room who are not part of the event.
Adrian told me that in Wroclaw, this was very easily accomplished by asking in some bar to keep one room free for this event with the promise to bring many consumers. For now, however, we have no certainty about the amount of attendees. I would rather first organize a trial version without making any promises.
So, can anyone think of such a good place (bar, club, 'jeugdhuis',...) close enough to the center of Gent? Actually, if you know any bar here which can manage groups of 20 people or more, let me know. This can be useful information for other future events too.

Secondly, who is interested in helping me with the organization of this event? I'm planning to do this on a monthly or even weekly basis, dependent on its success.

Thirdly, who is interested in attending such event? Which days during the week or weekend would be best, in your opinion?

Kindly awaiting your enthusiastic response,

Posted November 29th, 2012 - 11:19 am by from Gent, Belgium (Permalink)
Hey Patrick,
You can ask for the upper room in de Dulle Griet (Vrijdagsmarkt): it's fits up to 60 persons or more... But they don't like to open it for only 10 persons. So you will need to be with enough persons in order to get the floor. It's free and not nosy so very easy to have a chat.
Concerning help to organize: sorry but i can't.
Concering the day: if you do it in the week, you might have more students. And in weekends, there is a lot to do... A perfect date does not exist: just try and see.
Good luck !

Posted November 29th, 2012 - 4:50 pm by from Lima, Peru (Permalink)
Hi Patrick

I think it's a good idea. I'd like to join. Maybe help... but what to do?
In my case I'm free just on weekends.


Posted December 6th, 2012 - 9:21 am by from Gent, Belgium (Permalink)
Meh, friends are better made sitting around in a group (preferably with ample drinks available) for a long time rather than by fast one-on-one settings IMHO.

Posted December 6th, 2012 - 10:11 am from Gent, Belgium
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Posted December 6th, 2012 - 1:20 pm by from Gent, Belgium (Permalink)
I tried it once in Leuven with students and now just I remembered some faces and I almost never met them again, yeah just 5 or 10 min to talk and introduce yourself never lead to a good friendship.

Posted December 7th, 2012 - 2:10 am by from Gent, Belgium (Permalink)
Hmm, I think some of you are a bit misled by the name. Let me put it this way: speed-friending is not about making friends in 5 minutes. That would just be naive. For this, the setting is too artificial and 5 minutes is way too short. But that does not make it a bad idea.

The aim of speed-friending, in my opinion, is to meet many new people in a short time. I was rather thinking of it as an interesting alternative to the normal beer meetings, where you typically talk to the persons that happen to sit near you. If you don't change seats in a normal beer meeting, you will have a hard time getting to know more than five people there in one evening. Moreover, people tend to search a seat next to persons they already know, so some of these five might be old friends already. Also, there is a threshold for newcomers to join in a conversation between people that already know each other. I'm just thinking, I already saw a lot of new people in all the events I organized or joined, but some of them I still don't know very well, just because I never happened to sit next to them.

Speed-friending might be a fun way to break through this routines, allowing you to talk to people you would normally not talk to. Five minutes is too short to get to know a person, right, but long enough to search for common interests, to feel whether there is a 'click' or even just for some chit chat that can be a conversation starter for later in the evening.

Now, this might look more attractive to you. Put the case we organize an event in a bar at 20h00. In my experience, most people will be joining a bit later. Then, at 21h00, we start speed-friending for one hour, 5 minutes for each conversation, so meeting 12 new people. At 22h00, the speed-friending is finished and everyone goes to sit and talk wherever he or she wants. You might want to continue one of these 5-minutes conversations...

@Stijn: Thanks for the tip, I didn't know about this room in de Dulle Griet. I also heard recently about such a room in the Celtic Towers.

@Mimi: Great that you want to help! Actually, I don't expect it to be a lot of work. Rather, it would be a bit unhandy if I have to take care of all the things during the event itself. Do Friday nights fit you?

Posted December 7th, 2012 - 6:34 pm by from Lima, Peru (Permalink)
Patrick.... better weekends :)

Posted December 12th, 2012 - 5:24 pm by from Gent, Belgium (Permalink)
I agree, it's not about making a friend in 5-min but break the ice. I would like to help, but I don't know if I will be available until you pick a date.

Posted December 18th, 2012 - 12:38 am by from Gent, Belgium (Permalink)
Hey Mimi and Maryam,

Nice to see some people are interested in this event :) From the limited amount of reactions, however, it's hard to estimate how many people from CS will join. This amount of people is important to know for the organization.

Everybody is very busy lately with the Christmas and New Year parties arriving, so I'm thinking about putting the first event in January. I will discuss it with you later in more detail.

If anyone else is interested in joining our organization team, the more the merrier!


Posted January 24th, 2013 - 5:25 pm by from Gent, Belgium (Permalink)
For these who did not see it yet: the first speed-friending event is now online!

So, put in your agenda: the 9th of february at 20h00 in the Celtic Towers on the first floor!

The room in the Celtic Towers can host up to 50 people. A lot of people already joined on facebook (mostly erasmus students, expats and couchsurfers). The amount of attendees is growing as we speak. On this moment of writing, more than 20 attendees already!

Hope to see you all there!

Posted January 24th, 2013 - 6:09 pm by from Leuven, Belgium (Permalink)
I hope that you'll take into account that most students are not in Gent during weekends for the next editions :)


Posted January 30th, 2013 - 1:31 pm by from Gent, Belgium (Permalink)
I will take it into consideration, Janne :)
But Mimi, one of the co-organizers only has time to help in the weekend. That's why I've put the first event on a Saturday.

The event seems to get quite popular. I'm curious! If it's indeed a big succes, it's possible we'll organize it in the Oscar Wilde Salon of Patrick Foley's next time. There, 80 people can meet :)

Posted March 11th, 2013 - 6:45 pm by from Gent, Belgium (Permalink)
The new Speed-Friending event is online! Tuesday the 19th, 20h00 in Patrick Foley's.

Posted March 16th, 2013 - 11:50 am from Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Posted March 16th, 2013 - 2:13 pm by from Gent, Belgium (Permalink)
What kind of games were you thinking of, Elly? :) I was thinking already about organizing board games, card games or the like, but I don't know or have that many... There is already a board games group, only active on facebook now:
I did not join any of these events though, since I seem too busy with organizing all kinds of other events :)

Anyway, I have a double aim with the speed-friending. The first is simply to meet new people and to make people meet, not restricted to CS only. The second is to motivate them for all the other types of events and the CS project in general. It seems to be working :)

Posted March 19th, 2013 - 3:22 pm from Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 10:13 am from Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Posted March 27th, 2013 - 10:48 pm by from Gent, Belgium (Permalink)
It went okay, I think, although I made the time for the conversations much longer than in the previous event (I forgot my timer at home...). In the next event, I will make the conversations shorter again.

Elly, I think your idea about games like 'Who is it?' instead of normal conversations is brilliant and I want to try it. Maybe already on the 13th of April, when the Leiden group is visiting Gent, but then I would rather keep it small.

We divide the attendees in groups of 4 people, since that's the typical size on the tables. They can all play a game for 15 to 20 minutes and afterwards, they change places, like in speed-friending. The game they play will depend on the table they sit at.

The only thing we need now is more games. 'Who is it?' is great, but people will get tired of it after a while. About four alternatives would be great. Games which are easy to understand, which don't last too long and which create communication in the group.

I was thinking about this game with a pile of wooden bars where every player has to remove a bar and put it on top of the pile afterwards without making the pile fall (What's the name again?). I have an alternative version with cups at home.

Any more ideas?

Posted March 28th, 2013 - 6:05 am by from Warsaw, Poland (Permalink)
This game is called Jenga.