Speed friending gains momentum at Saint Mary's University

It's like speed dating, but for finding friends. Students are encouraged to put away their technology and talk face to face.

86 students attended the event, nearly double the number that attended the previous year's

Martine Monplaisir and Tsukasa Sano played Human Bingo Saint Mary's speed friending night. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Eighty six people gathered at Saint Mary's University this week looking for relationships — purely platonic relationships. After all, that's what speed friending is all about.

"It's like speed dating, but we're not dating, we're just friending," said Scott Xing, co-president of the Speak Up! Society.

The group, which was formed to build friendships between domestic and international students, organized the event with Dalhousie's Universal Student Support group. 

Organizers were pleased with the turnout Thursday night, especially considering the event was postponed from its original date. They say nearly twice as many people attended this speed friending compared to last year's .

Speed friending was an alcohol-free event that involved people putting their phones away and having face-to-face conversations. 

"Because of technology, it's really hard to talk to people these days," said Gaius St.Marie, a Saint Mary's student.

"You don't know who's real and who's not," added fellow student Kezia Bailey.

Although it was open for everyone, the majority who showed up were international students. Posters for the event pegged it as an opportunity to share cultures, build confidence, make new friends and practice English.

There were plenty of ice breakers to get people talking, including a game called Human Bingo.

"There's 24 different categories, things like find someone with glasses or find someone who speaks more than two languages," said Samantha Burns, co-president of the Speak Up! Society.

The group was split into pairs that rotated every three minutes. There were pieces of paper with conversation starters like, "If you had to move to a different country for the rest of your life, which one would you pick and why?" 

The Speak Up! Society plans to hold another speed friending event next semester.

About the Author

Anjuli Patil


Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.


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