Finding The One: Tips from a Professional Matchmaker
I’ve tried and failed to matchmake friends before, never again!
I learnt my lesson the hard way, after setting up two friends on a couple of disastrous dates. Was I just too close to the situation that I didn’t spot the signs of a mismatch, or was there more to it?
When I came across professional matchmaker Shelley Lawler of Ignite Dating, I knew I had to find out more.
I asked Shelley to reveal some of the secrets to finding the perfect partner, for yourself or a friend.
True compatibility is key
This might sound obvious, but Shelley advised me there’s more to compatibility than similar interests:
“When you’re dating, you’re essentially searching for a joint CEO of your life so looking at their lifestyle, aspirations, interests and future goals, along with tangible criteria such as age, height, stage of life and location is key to finding the right match.”
Watch out for the red flags
Don’t have the luxury of personality test results to help you find the one? There are still some warning signs daters should look out for, especially on the apps.
Shelley’s top red flags to avoid:
Life is unpredictable, and you can almost guarantee that it will bring us all drama at some stage in varying degrees. When you see statements like this you have to think to yourself, when life gets tough how supportive would this person be?
‘I’ll fill this bit in later’
If they can’t be bothered to fill out a profile that will help them meet someone nice, the chances are they won’t be bothered to make an effort in a relationship either.
The photos are a glimpse into that person’s life so pay attention to what they are showing you.
Have they got a great friendship group? Do they dress nicely? Do their lifestyle and interests align with yours? These are all good indicators as to whether that compatibility is there.
We’ve all seen the passive aggressive comments in a profile ending with a line stating that if you don’t like what they’re about, then jog on. You most definitely need to jog on past profiles like this!
Trust your gut, but don’t discount a second date
I believe in the power of first impressions. But do we put too much emphasis on them? I asked for Shelley’s professional opinion.
“It is said that we form first impressions of a person within seven seconds. After that, any extra information you learn about that person will be filtered through this first impression. So always be aware and never discount your instinct.” She explained, but added a note of caution:
“Many of us have experienced misjudging a person on first impressions and after taking a bit of time to get to know them, have found them to be the opposite of what we first thought. It is important to keep an open mind when meeting a date for the first time.
……….You may not be seeing the person as their true self; nerves may be getting in the way of them being able to relax and so I would always recommend going on a second date before you make a final decision on that person.”
Setting up friends can work
Is the old adage ‘never set up your friends’ really true? I’ve certainly not had the best luck trying to play matchmaker. Shelley explained what amateur matchmakers like me should take into consideration:
“I disagree with the saying about setting up your friends. If you know both friends really well and have a good handle on the things that are important to them such as their qualities, likes, dislikes, lifestyle, hobbies etc., then you are the best placed person to know whether there could be potential for a great relationship between them both.”
Just be careful you’re not too close to the situation, Shelley advised:
“That said, there are things that an experienced matchmaker may take into consideration that you haven’t thought of.
………..Sometimes it is easier for an outsider to look at both individuals and determine the compatibility than yourself, as you are usually invested in the relationship to some extent, because who doesn’t want two of their friends to get together?”
Avoid mono-manic dating
Shelly explained to me that mono-manic dating is when an individual forms an obsession with one aspect of a person – whether it be their age or height for example – which blinkers them from being able to see the whole package of a prospective partner.
She tries to discourage daters from taking this approach:
“Take some time to reflect on who you are looking for and the criteria that you have set – ask yourself, is it realistic? Are you open to compromise on some areas of your criteria that may be unrealistic?
After all, mono-manic dating can usually spell disaster for your chances of finding that perfect partner, so be sure to reflect on how you are filtering potential matches as you could be hindering your own chances of success.”
More to matchmaking than meets the eye
Talking to Shelley has opened my eyes to how matchmaking is both an art and science.
I feel a bit naïve now, thinking I could just set up two single friends on a date. Clearly, the pros invest a lot of time in getting it right, using intuition, industry expertise, personality profiling and even their own compatibility algorithm.
But if you don’t have access to these, many of Shelley’s professional tips can still apply. Keep them in mind next time you’re on the dating apps or looking to fix up a friend. I know I will.
I’ve tried and failed to matchmake friends before, never again! I learnt my lesson the hard way, after setting up two friends on a couple of disastrous dates.
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