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New dating game reveals more than meets the eye

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Singles in the district looking to meet someone new are finding a new way to meet them. It's a new type of speed-dating where the usual chit-chat is off-limits and people just gaze into each other's eyes to get to know each other. 

“I feel like I'm the queen of awkward silence,” says Emily Jablonski. This time, she has a good excuse.

“They say that the eyes are the windows to the souls so I'm interested to see how that concept plays out in a dating environment,” Jablonski said.

She and about 30 other people are participating in a new kind of speed-dating, called eye-gazing.

“It's a practice of being present and giving someone 100 percent attention,” says dating coach Jeffrey Platts.

Men and women gaze into each other's eyes for about two minutes before moving on to the next gazer. For some people, the challenge is just to get through it without laughing.

Organizer Platts says the idea is to make connections without relying on words.

“It's not necessarily to spark attraction. It can reveal a lot quicker what attraction there may be,” he said.

The concept began in New York several years ago and recently made its way to the Capital city. So far, Platts says popularity of eye gazing parties has grown in D.C., with 200 people attending four parties since he started them.

“When you look at the other dating activities, it can seem kind of false. … so I tried this to get a more genuine connection to people,” said Janaina Stanley.

After about 90 minutes of gazing, she may not have met the man of her dreams, but says she did find a new way to relate.

“I really felt like you had an exchange with someone,” Stanley said.

Afterward the gazing, singles have the chance to mingle and talk. Platts says so far, he's heard no reports of success stories, but hopes that in this era of technology more people use eye contact in every day life.

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