Speed dating host Julie Stafford won’t guarantee that she’ll introduce you to the love of your life, but she might help you meet the person who will.

If that seems like a depressing prospect, consider these statistics from the American National Marriage Project: 60 percent of couples are introduced by family, friends, co-workers or other acquaintances.

Stafford runs the same-sex social meeting companies WiththeBoys and WiththeGirls, organising speed dating and mixer events. After successfully catering to women, she’s branching out into running events for single men looking for love and friendship.

“With the current closure of the Newtown pub and the Imperial there are fewer places for men to meet. This is relaxed and light-hearted and not necessarily in a loud nightclub environment,” Stafford said.

Stafford runs two types of events – speed dating, where pairs have four minutes to meet, talk and maybe find a spark of attraction, before rotating onto the next person – and Mix and Mingle events, where a bigger selection of singles meets and spends the evening chatting in smaller, random groups.

“Rather than having the one goal – to go out and meet the love of your life – go with the goal of increasing your social circle,” Stafford said.

“Most people are introduced to their partner by a friend or acquaintance, so the more people in your social circle the more chances you have of finding love.”

Stafford started WiththeGirls because, as a gay woman, she could see that there was a real need for same-sex meeting services.

“Same-sex couples want to meet people in exactly the same way [as straight couples],” she says.

Email [email protected] for more info about upcoming speed dating events, including kayaking, salsa lessons, sailing and private dining experiences.

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