How to Make an Entrance at a Singles Event

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Fine Art of Small Talk" by Debra Fine. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you want to make an entrance at a singles event? How can you make an impression when you enter a room?

In her book The Fine Art of Small Talk, Debra Fine takes some time to discuss communication in the dating scene. Specifically, she suggests looking at singles events as a networking opportunity.

Here’s how you can make an entrance at an event.

A Singles Event Is a Networking Opportunity

Fine suggests you think of a singles event as a kind of networking opportunity. Be kind and friendly to everyone, even those you don’t see as potential dates—they might become a close friend, a business connection, or the person who introduces you to the person you do end up dating.

(Shortform note: While Fine’s recommendation that you remain open to friendships makes sense in the context of singles events, mixers, or life in general, that attitude won’t go far on a dating app. Indeed, the pervasive belief is that those who claim to be “open to friendship” or “just looking for friends” on dating apps are annoying time-wasters. In short, friendship just isn’t what people use these apps for.)

Whether the event involves speed-dating, a group adventure, or some other singles-focused social event, don’t forget why you’re there: Your goal—everyone’s goal, according to Fine—is to make connections.

(Shortform note: Knowing, from the start, that everyone’s on the same page as you at a dating event is reassuring. You’re allowed—expected, even—to be interested in others, so your attempts to start conversations are far more likely to be appreciated. Further, singles events are typically planned for you, and—by nature—surround you with others who are interested in the same activities. That gives you something interesting to talk about with others who are almost certainly just as interested.)

When you arrive at an event, Fine says, take the opportunity to make an entrance. Upon entering, she suggests you pause, allowing yourself to be framed somewhat dramatically in the doorway. Do this for just long enough to decide where you’re going.

(Shortform note: A maneuver like this can feel awkward, uncomfortable, or even mildly unhinged. Most of us don’t feel good about posing and posturing at the best of times—but it does work, aesthetically speaking. We use framing in movies, tv shows, and photography because it draws the eye—and besides, if you need a second to decide where you’re going, why not spend that second mysteriously and alluringly drawing the eye?)

Once you’ve done that, she says, enter the room and become invisible—it’s likely everyone else is busy with a conversation, meal, or other task, so this is your chance to absorb the atmosphere. Get some food or a drink, wander around a bit, and see what people are up to. Collect information on the following:

  1. What pops to mind as you look around? Does the venue look nice, does anything catch your eye, and do people seem to be having a good time? (Shortform note: Remember: Your impressions of the venue, the general mood, and the organization of the event can make good icebreakers—sharing your impressions will give others the chance to share theirs, allowing you to spark a conversation.)
  2. What are people doing? Are most of them engaged, or are they just standing around? (Shortform note: Taking the temperature of the room and the people in it gives you useful information—both about the people and the event itself. Keep an eye out for attendees who seem uncomfortable, lonely, or lost—here’s your chance to be a hero to someone and to make a connection with someone who’s probably wondering if they really belong.)
How to Make an Entrance at a Singles Event

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Here's what you'll find in our full The Fine Art of Small Talk summary:

  • Why we need small talk and why we shouldn't avoid it
  • How to appear confident and engaging in any context
  • How to break the ice with strangers and keep the conversation going

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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