Many of us have heard of our friends going on first dates with internet strangers as well as blind dates, but what about blind friendships dates (BFD)?
When I saw the ad for the BFD on Instagram, I excitedly clicked on the sign-up link without even looking at the details (other than making sure that it was held in Singapore). Only after signing up did I look into the specifics of the date.
The BFD event was organised by Kolektif, a youth programme by the National Gallery, as part of the Singapore Art Week that happened in the second week of January. Kolektif aims to bring authentic youth leadership into the museum space to empower young people to bring their creativity and concerns to the art museum.
Prior to the event, I definitely felt quite nervous and curious about my date. What would they be like? I didn’t know what to expect, but I assumed that I would be meeting another woman as I assumed that women would be more likely to sign up for these sort of events. I speculated about making a new BFF too!
On the day itself, I rushed down to the National Gallery, excited for my blind friendship date. To my absolute surprise, my date was not a woman, but a male student still in Junior College. We had a six-year age difference! To say I was stunned was an understatement, and I would be lying to say we didn’t have any awkward moments, especially in the beginning, which was something I feared before the event. But this concern was unfounded.
We both knew we were there to meet someone new, and that we did. As we introduced ourselves and chatted, we actually opened up to each other rather quickly. During our date, we even shared our first impressions of each other. We both thought there was no way we could get along with each other, but there we were, one hour into the conversation with no signs of fatigue. To some, my date might have been considered the “worst-case scenario” as we both looked like we would have nothing in common. I think what was most important to us having a great experience was our willingness to be considerate for the other and be vulnerable, but also listen to each other. We were able to share life advice and our worries for the future. I suppose most people would be curious about how we overcame the awkwardness and which specific questions really got the conversation started up. This was quite easily alleviated by us asking questions about each other — because we were so different, we had a lot to share! The date was also facilitated by the “frenship folio” given to us before we started our date proper. The folio included cool questions and fun activities for us to do, from who we’d be in a portrait at the gallery, to a walk around the gallery.
At the end of the date, we were able to make a friendship bracelet (for each other) and take a polaroid together! It was a wonderful and dare I say, cute experience. The date was about two hours in total, but we felt like we could have gone for longer, if not for being asked if I would be interested to participate in a date that someone didn’t show up to. I agreed and spent another hour at the Gallery!
Overall, I had a very pleasant experience and would have loved to go on another blind friendship date. Did I also mention that the event was free? I loved the fact that I was able to meet people I would never have met otherwise, and that it was a conducive space for the date since everyone else was meeting someone new. I am of the strong opinion that we should normalise meeting new people for friendships, especially in times of COVID-19 when classes are online, making it difficult to make lasting friendships.
You might be wondering why we’ve decided to publish this article weeks after SAW has concluded. Well, there was no way to bring a BFD to you… until now. We’re glad to share that HerCampus Nanyang Tech will be bringing the BFD concept to our very own NTU campus! Introducing squish squad, a virtual blind friendship event for NTU students. Stay tuned for more details on our social media!