Speed dating for friends

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Hot from the States, speed-friending is the newest way to find your soul 'mate'.

Just like speed dating, it involves chatting to a conveyor belt of complete strangers for mere minutes, before exchanging numbers with those who tickled your fancy at the end of the night.

"It's like this really awkward dance between two people who want to get to know each other better - but don't want to seem needy or desperate.

"I think speed-friending is a brilliant idea," she continues.

Unlike speed dating however, getting stuck in the friend zone is actually the aim of the game.

Despite the platonic nature of the event, I still felt strangely nervous as I padded down the steps of a city centre pub into a basement full of new people.

"Making new friends as an adult can be really difficult," says Paula Coogan."Most of my clients say that they want to meet new people, but have no idea how." Marriage and parenthood are two other big factors driving Ireland's 20 and 30-somethings back onto the meet market, according to more than one of the friend hunters I come face to face with."Most of my friends are married or engaged so they never have time to meet up," confesses Fiona (36), a solicitor from Dublin.As quarter-life coach Paula Coogan later explains to me: "We tend to make close friendships at very early stages in life and hold on tight to those friends during our awkward years when all we want to do is belong."However, when we grow up, we start becoming more independent, developing our own interests, dating, going to different colleges and the detaching begins.

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