A Matchmaker's Best Advice this Valentine's Day
Matchmakers hear it all. Break up stories, bad dates, good dates, what went wrong, who was wrong, and LOTS of partner wish lists. And one thing is for sure, the blind spots are everywhere, and we all have them. If single, Valentine’s Day is not only a good time for a little self care, it’s also a perfect time to take stock and reflect. To that end, from a matchmaker’s unique perspective, here are the top tips to help you find your person.
Ditch the checklist
Today. Throw that long and specific wish list in the garbage. While it’s essential to have some dealbreakers and standards, being too inflexible may lead you to dismiss potential matches who possess the real qualities that will make for a great partner.
Here is a scenario that happens all the time when matchmaking. Two people look great on paper and appear to have lots in common, and it’s a thumbs up on the pictures, too. Lots of expectation around this date. They’re excited to meet but instead of sparks, it falls flat and there is no connection.
And then the opposite, two people don’t appear to have a lot in common on paper (having different interests is ok!), and may not feel an initial attraction to pictures, but decide to give it a shot anyway and meet. No expectations. And it happens. They really hit it off and end up in a serious relationship! It’s just one of the reasons why online dating is challenging. You could be swiping left on your soul mate. There is too much reliance on a short profile, which is really just a small sliver of who someone is.
So it’s crucial to strike a balance between having the right standards and being open minded to different personalities, backgrounds, and interests. Embrace the idea that your ideal partner may not fit that predetermined idea of who you should be with, and say yes to people you normally wouldn’t say yes to.
Don’t ignore red flags
You go out with someone crazy attractive and there is a ton of chemistry in the early days of dating. You are smitten. Things move fast. A couple of months later and it either fizzles out because they were actually emotionally unavailable, or it ends badly and you get hurt. Or worse, it drags on for months and maybe even years and turns into a really unhealthy and unhappy relationship that you feel stuck in.
Looking back, you know that the initial attraction and chemistry was actually masking some serious red flags that you ignored. So how do you prevent that from happening? It goes back to the checklist and your list of standards – are you valuing the superficial over substance? And are you moving too fast? And that leads to the next piece of advice…
We live in a world of immediate gratification. You need something tomorrow, you order it from Amazon. You feel ready for a romantic partner, you go on a dating app with what appears to be almost unlimited choice. It should be easy, right?
But the reality is finding the right match for you rarely happens on a specific timeline. And when you have expectations around that, and are feeling frustrated with how long it is taking, you will rush into situations that are not healthy or good for you. You will mistake chemistry for compatibility. Finding the right person will take time and often a lot of time. Be ok with that.
Forget about what people think
The search for a life partner is often clouded with societal expectations, and peer and family influence. Take the time to reflect and understand what YOU truly want in a life partner, and be honest with yourself. Those superficial qualities that we tend to think are important are not about what we really want, but what we think will look good to other people.
As matchmakers, we are selective on who we take on as a client. We have to feel very confident that we can match a person and help them get into a relationship. And a lack of self-awareness is one of the biggest red flags that dating may be a challenge for them. Do they have reasonable expectations on who they can attract? Are they in a good place emotionally and have done some inner work? Are they ok being alone, or are they trying to fill a void? Are they very focused on the superficial?
In summary, dating is an inside job. And the more you can reflect and really be honest with yourself about why you make the choices you do, and what might be holding you back, the closer you will be to being in a happy and healthy relationship.