As a clinical psychologist in New York City, I work with a lot of very goal-oriented clients who are interested in finding the perfect relationship. They’re sophisticated enough to realize that there is no “perfect relationship”, just the relationship that is perfect for them… but they still don’t know exactly how to find such a relationship. Especially following the release of my book, Dr. Chloe’s 10 Commandments of Dating, where I mentioned that using a matchmaker can be a great way date, I’ve received a lot of inquiries about how to do this.
My focus here is going to be on tips that are specifically geared towards women. The reason for defining this is because matchmakers tend to work with men and women in different ways; so the way that women engage matchmakers is different from men. Although I’m now happily married, when I was single I worked with matchmakers. I was frequently dating so often that it was hard to keep up, thanks to the matchmakers constantly ringing my phone off the hook. Here are the tips I have seen used most successfully in my personal and professional experience!
- Meet the matchmakers! To find matchmakers in your area, start by Googling “exclusive matchmaker” or “executive matchmaker” plus your city’s name. Premier Match, VIP, Amy Laurent, Kelleher, and Selective Search (in no particular order) are all high-end matchmakers or matchmaking firms that are popular in NYC and other major U.S. cities. Keep a list of all the places that catch your eye. Don’t worry about choosing the “perfect” matchmaker; the goal is actually to cast a wide net. Since you won’t be paying any of them, it costs you nothing to make connections with anyone who seems like they might be a good fit. You can always cut the connection if it doesn’t work out, but at the start it makes sense to be open.
- “Free for women.” Certain matchmaking offices may attempt to get inquiring women to pay for their services. While this may work out well for some women, I will say that in my experience, I have never ever (not even one time) heard of a female client who was happy with the results when she paid for matchmaking. While the exact reasons for these women’s dissatisfaction may vary, my impression is that women who are attracted to traditional men with traditional values also appreciate traditional dating, in which the man typically pays for early stage dates. Paying for matchmaking upsets this dynamic, and can feel off-putting to many women.
If a matchmaker tries to get you to pay, you can politely decline by saying something like: “Thank you so much, but I just prefer to spend my disposable income on other things, like manicures and blow-outs. I’m a modern woman, but a little old-fashioned, and I’m simply not comfortable paying for matchmaking. However, if you do happen to have any clients paying you for a search, please keep me in mind!” It is important NOT to become offended or prickly if a matchmaker asks you to pay. Remember, she is just doing her job, so maintain your poise while you communicate your boundaries in a clear and friendly way. They may tell you that they only work with paying clients, and then surprise you by phoning you a few weeks later because they have a paying client and think you’d be great for that person. It’s really to the matchmaker’s advantage to introduce any suitable candidate to their paying clients, so once they’ve met you then they will likely call you if they think you might be a good match for one of their paying clients, whether you’re paying or not.
- Keep a spreadsheet of your “stock answers.” All matchmakers want to learn as much as they can about their potential clients so they can tailor their work to fit you! Many matchmakers will ask the same or similar questions on their applications (“What type of man are you seeking?” “What are your deal breakers?”), so keep a spreadsheet of your application “stock answers” to save yourself valuable time and not “reinvent the wheel” each time you meet a new matchmaker. You can just copy/paste your answers and tailor them slightly if needed.
- Limit your deal-breakers. As part of the process of learning about you, matchmakers will ask you about your preferences and your deal-breakers. While it is of course important to keep the bar high, it is also critical to avoid being too restrictive. Keep in mind that deal-breakers are more than just your dislikes, they are your non-starters, so try to keep your deal-breakers to a minimum: no more than three, if possible.
- Camera friendly. Let’s face it, your dates want to see your face! Most matchmakers understand that men are visual, and will request that you submit a couple of photographs as part of your application. This is a wonderful opportunity to present your best self! A photograph showing your face (hair out of your eyes, please!) and another one showing you standing at full length will help you to put your best foot forward. Make sure to smile, since smiling projects the friendly, open attitude that breeds success in dating. Consider some professional photos, or at least having a friend take some snapshots that really show you in the best possible light.
GOING ON DATES
- Say yes! When the exciting day arrives and the matchmaker calls you with your first date, be prepared to say yes, yes, yes! In fact, your answer to most potential dates provided by your matchmaker should be yes unless the date comprises one of your deal-breakers (see Tip #4). Again, remember that the matchmaker is doing a job – she has typically put a fair amount of work into getting this match approved by the client before finally reaching out to you – so your cooperation and enthusiasm are key to ensuring that she will continue to call you in the future. Always be friendly, upbeat, and easy-to-work-with. Even the best matchmakers will lose motivation if every date they provide is met with, “And just how far is his hairline receding? When exactly is his birthday, how many months away from my age cutoff is he? Oh no, I dated someone from that school once and it didn’t work out; I’m afraid I have to decline this date.” (Yes, I’ve actually had women in my office who say these things!) Remember, all you’re agreeing to do is meet the person for a drink or dinner; it isn’t a lifetime commitment. Obviously, don’t go anywhere secluded with someone you just met. Be safe, but be open.
- Stay organized. If you’re working with multiple matchmakers as well as using dating apps and other ways of engaging in dating, you may be going on a LOT of dates (which is good– you want to have options!). Sometimes it can be difficult keeping track of who’s who (Which one was David again? Is he the one who likes sailing? Or was that Jonathan?). To avoid letting a “good one” slip through the cracks, it can be helpful to keep a dating log. Record the name of each contact, the date of your most recent get-together, and any relevant or significant impressions, thoughts, or reactions. If you are working with multiple matchmakers, be sure to include the name of the matchmaker who introduced you. For more info on dating logs, see my book, Dr. Chloe’s 10 Commandments of Dating.
- On the date. Here it is, the moment you’ve been waiting for! Time to find Mr. Right and have fun while doing it. This is also the time to put your best foot forward. Many women tell me that they can tell within the first 30 seconds whether they want to see a man again. It is totally fine if you don’t want to go out with someone again, however – and I cannot emphasize this enough – you always want him to want a second date with you! When matchmakers hear positive feedback from a paying client about you, they realize you are in high demand and will keep you at the top of their list for introductions. This means that even if you decide you don’t want to see a particular person again, you still want to make the extra effort to be charming, engaging, and appealing during the date so that he’ll call the matchmaker and say, “She was amazing!”.
- Declining a second date with grace. Sometimes, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. So if you find your date is a dud, don’t give up hope and definitely don’t take your discouragement out on your matchmaker! If you don’t want to go on a second date, communicate this to the matchmaker in a friendly, appreciative manner. You can say something like, “Thank you so much for setting me up with William. I really appreciate it! I can see why you connected us – he certainly checks off a lot of the important “relationship checkboxes” we discussed. I’m not sure why I don’t feel a spark, but thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet with him. Please keep me in mind as you meet with other potential dates!” Or you can be more specific if it would be helpful, but be sure to stay upbeat to keep the matchmaker regarding you as a positive person she’d like to set up again (“He was really nice, but he talked a lot about his ex and it made me feel like he wasn’t focused on me; so I think I’ll pass on a second date– but I’m flattered to hear that he wanted to go out again, I do wish him the best. Please do keep me in mind if there’s anyone else you think might be a good fit!”)
KEEPING UP MOMENTUM
- Stay current. Like anything worth doing, matchmaking is a process that can take time. After all, we’re talking about finding lifelong love and commitment! Start by demonstrating your commitment to matchmaking, which you can do by staying in regular contact with your matchmaker. Make sure she is aware of any important updates, experiences, or accomplishments that would be of interest to potential dates. One of the simplest ways to do this is by sending in a new photo of yourself once a month. A picture that reflects what you have previously told the matchmaker about yourself is ideal. For example, if you love traveling, let’s see some travel photos! This not only keeps you at the top of the matchmaker’s mind, it also allows future dates to see your social side in action. Keep a list of all the matchmakers you know, and note when your last contact was. If you haven’t heard from one of them in a month, reach out to send a new photo. It doesn’t even have to be a brand new photo, maybe just one they haven’t seen before- but ideally you’re having a friend snap photos of you somewhat regularly. Another idea is to have a professional photo session and hold back some of the photos when you first meet the matchmaker, so that you have a few spares to use when you want to follow up and share something new. The idea is to stay “on the radar” of the matchmaker by checking in somewhat regularly with a short, upbeat note and an appealing photo.
We all know that sometimes finding love can feel like an overwhelming and intimidating journey. My hope is that, newly equipped with these ten tips, you feel better prepared to take your first step with confidence! And, of course, if you wish to learn more about matchmaking and dating, I invite you to check out my videos and books or schedule a private session. Remember, the best time to start working towards a lifelong goal is today. Ready, set, go!