We may be low-tech but we are high-touch.”STAYING ATTRACTIVESome dating agencies have also taken on what they call an "activity-based approach" to event ideas - a move aimed at wooing singles who remain intimidated by formal dates with strangers and fun-loving 20-somethings.“Every time we conduct an event, our main objective is to make it a casual platform for people to meet,” Mr Tam from Gai Gai said.
Such activities can serve as a much-needed distraction and help participants to “be less stressed out about having to impress one another”, Ms Goh said.
Thus far, interest in these activity-based events has been strong, with participants mostly in their 20s and early 30s.
Ms Michelle Goh, founder of events-based agency Complete Me, described older singles as being more ready to commit and settle down.
Hence dating events, which allow for face-to-face interaction, have been viewed as a better way for singles to find like-minded individuals.“Given that they have to put in the effort to find an event to attend, register, make payment and then dress up for the occasion, these are people who tend to be genuinely looking for someone, rather than having a ‘see see, look look’ attitude,” said Ms Goh, who added that the number of active participants for Complete Me’s 150 events annually has “increased steadily to almost 3,000”.
Instead of coming in with the idea of finding a life partner, come to make friends,” Mr Tam added.
Complete Me, which has made its name in organising speed-dating events for the past seven years, has also introduced board gaming, karaoke and most recently, volunteering sessions to its mix.
Taking on a proactive approach to make new friends, Mr Gan signed up with dating agencies and also gave free dating apps a go.
But the endless swiping of profiles and little opportunities for real-life interaction on the latter proved to be an underwhelming experience and Mr Gan opted to “go aggressive” on speed-dating events organised by local matchmaking agencies.“I was quite nervous before my first speed-dating event so I went to research what these events are like and read the book ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ to prepare myself,” he recalled.
so we thought maybe we could curate this process for these groups of people and turn it into actual dates,” said Mr Tam.
Gai Gai, which means “going out” in Cantonese, now has a member base of 12,000 people, making it one of the biggest dating agencies locally.
But as thoughts of leaving the singles club emerged, the 33-year-old nurse realised that a dwindling social circle stood in his way.