5 Best Speed Dating Questions To Ask When You Don't Have Much Time, According to Patti Stanger

Couples at a table during speed dating

Online dating may be all the rage these days, but it's still possible to meet people in person somewhere other than your neighborhood watering hole. Speed dating events still happen around the country—or, as Patti Stanger calls them, "power dating" events.

Stanger, who will star in the new series Patti Stanger: Millionaire Matchmaking this spring on the CW, says speed dating remains an excellent way to meet a bunch of people in a short time. The secret sauce? Asking the right questions.

"You only have five or 10 minutes with the person," Stanger says. "[Then], you have to go to the next one. It's really important that you have your [stuff] together...it goes really fast.”

Some speed dating events will provide profile sheets to get some top-line information. However, many don't. Come unprepared with questions, and you may feel like you're back on a dating app despite striking out with the whole "swipe-tap" thing.

"If you don't have a profile sheet, you are going in blind, kind of like Tinder," Stanger says.

Stanger says your job is to play detective, sussing out essential information about a person in a matter of minutes. These five quick Stanger-favorited questions can help you figure out a lot in a little time when speed dating.

Related: How To Flirt Without Using Pick Up Lines, According to Dating Experts

What Is Speed Dating?

Before Tinder and Bumble were things, speed dating was a great way to meet potential dates and people to do life with. Speed dating involves having short, five to 10-minute conversations with people also looking for dates and relationships, Stanger says.

"It was a great way to meet a lot of people in a very short amount of time and jump from table to table, getting to know people," Stanger explains. "Hopefully, one of them's a match.

Speed dating began in the late 1990s when Rabbi Yaacov Deyo of Los Angeles developed it as a way for his students to meet people. 

"It started in the Jewish community and went into the mainstream community," Stanger says.

Related: 17 Best Phrases To Use To Say 'I Like You,' According to Relationship Therapists

The Top 5 Speed Dating Questions to Ask

1. "Where do you live?"

How far do you want to travel for dates? Everyone's mileage varies—some may be willing to travel across state lines, while others prefer not to travel more than a town or two over. 

"You want to know if they're geographically desirable to you," Stanger explains.

Related: 5 Reasons To Try a Matchmaker if You’re Over 60, Relationship Experts Say

2. "Do you have kids?"

This one may sound highly personal. However, Stanger says it's best to rip the BandAid off early.

"If they have a child and you don't want kids, that might be a deal-breaker," Stanger says.

People may also want kids down the line, but not right now. The person's children are going nowhere, but you can only follow up with kid-free speed daters.

Related: The Most Flirtatious Zodiac Signs, According to Astrologers

3. "Do you have pets?"

Stanger says this question is good if you have an allergy, but it's more than that. She says not everyone adores pets, while others have to have them. Like kids, people likely aren't going to trade in their furry family member for someone they met for five minutes. Knowing this answer will save a whole lot of heartache.

4. "What do you do for a living?"

The answer to this question will give you an idea of a person's ambitions and even education. It can also help you understand their lifestyle. For instance, medical professionals are in a noble position but may have to pull 12-hour shifts on the holidays. Stanger says some professions, such as firefighters and the military, involve important but risky acts. 

"I don't know if I could deal with that going out every day—never knowing if they're going come back," says Stanger, who says she used to have a "thing" for firefighters.

There's no shame in having a certain kind of stress tolerance.

Related: 130 of the Best Fun and Flirty Texts To Send the Guy You’re Crushing On

5. "Are you close with your family?"

This answer can clue you into a person's current emotional state and even how they view different genders.

"You want to know if he's a troubled person," Stanger says. "He doesn't talk to his mother or has a big fight with his sister all the time?"

If they start saying things dripping with misogyny, that's a flag.

Related: 14 Tiny Behavior Tweaks That Make People Respect You More, According to Psychologists

One Thing Not to Ask During Speed Dating

Don't bother asking about exes while speed dating. Everyone has exes, but there's not enough time to go down this rabbit hole during a speed date.

"You're going to lose your five to 10-minute window if you dwell on what went wrong," Stanger says.

Related: 75 Rizz Lines That Make Flirting Seem Effortless

3 Tips to Be Successful at Speed Dating

1. Look (and smell) your best

Yes, looks matter during speed dating. 

"Even if it's after work, look your best," Stanger says. "You want to take that jacket off, show that tank top, put some spray some perfume on and put some lipstick on. If you're a guy, you want to look good even if you have a blue-collar job. Go home. Put on a nice button-down shirt."

Related: 40 Funny Pick Up Lines for Him and Her

2. Don't bring a friend

Surprised? Don't be—you're speed dating to meet people for yourself.

"You're there to investigate these people to see if they're worthy of your time and attention," Stanger says. "You don't need your friend putting the person down that you like or you don't need the friend upstaging you because she's prettier or he's better looking."

3. Let the conversation flow

While Stanger highly recommends having go-to questions, it's OK if you don't ask every single one if the conversation takes you to a better destination.

"Sometimes, chemistry takes over," Stanger says. "If the person's chemistry with you is so strong, and you're flirting and you're bantering, go with the banter."

Next: How to Flirt Using Just Your Body Language