But today we’re talking about blind dates, not matchmaking. Both involve hearing a rundown of a prospective partner’s dating credentials before meeting them, but matchmaking is a process overseen by professionals, whereas blind dates are a far more casual affair, usually set up by well-meaning friends and family. And whereas matchmakers use their resources and experience to tailor matches to the client’s dating wish list, blind dates are sometimes with essentially random people, whose friends just have a feeling this person will be right for them.

Blind dates have been inspiring countless movies and gameshows for decades—in fact as a kid I remember watching the movie Blind Date, which came out in 1934! But now that online dating has a hegemonic grip on the zeitgeist, have blind dates become obsolete and redundant?

Blind dates were still going strong even in the early years of online dating

It’s fair to say that Tinder marked a milestone not just for online dating, but for dating period. Launched in 2012, the app introduced singles to an unprecedented format for selecting potential partners. For my two cents, this was the moment people’s entire perception of what dating was, and indeed “should” be, changed irreversibly.

But even just three years earlier in 2009, British newspaper The Guardian invited 600 of its readers to participate in blind dating, and the public eagerly followed the 300 couples with fascination: the trials and tribulations of their first dates—and the surprising number of burgeoning relationships that followed. In other words, we’re all still wired the same, so there’s no reason a blind date couldn’t work for you. You just need to know where to look.

Where can I try blind dating?

Nowadays, most people who have ever been on a blind date tend to be among the older demographics. The industry still exists, with blind date events and companies setting up complete strangers. The most populous group buying in to this industry is the over-65s, and the sexes are represented pretty much equally. There’s no disparity, whereas on most dating apps men massively outnumber women.

Meanwhile, speaking of Tinder, in 2022 the company announced a blind date feature. Participants simply answer some questions, then get matched with those who have answered similarly. They chat for a restricted time, and if both wish to continue talking they can move forward using the normal chat function.

Another blind date–esque option is using a randomized video chat site. This isn’t an approach I can actively recommend because you’ll likely encounter at least a handful of men who only want one thing. (And by “clearly” I mean you may be exposed to inappropriate language or visuals.) That being said, I feel obliged to mention that there are countless stories of people meeting in this way. So if you’ve got an adventurous side and a penchant for spontaneity, as well as the time to speak to as many strangers as possible, there’s no harm in giving it a go!

Blind dates can and do lead to lifelong relationships

The blind date gets a bad rap, but at the end of the day it’s just another dating format. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. So if you’re considering going on a blind date but feel there’s some stigma, remember: It took two decades for online dating to be normalized and lose any semblance of stigma, from its advent in the 90s to the arrival of Tinder in 2012. Now the majority of couples meet via online dating. Stigma means nothing. You do your own thing.

Of course, as with any form of dating, you may have some or even many disappointments. But if you can get into the flow, brush these off as part of the experience, and continue working on yourself and figuring out what you want in a partner, well hey—when they do come along, you’ll know you’ve met The One.

Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning introductions agency with offices in New York, New Jersey, California, and London. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles within our vast network of attractive, intelligent professionals, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today, and prepare for genuinely meaningful dating—just like you deserve.