Ever wondered how matchmakers bring people together? It takes more than intuition alone to navigate the twists and turns of the relationship world. We sat down with two of our matchmakers to find out just what it takes to be a great matchmaker, how they measure success, and why helping people find love feels so rewarding.
Can you tell me a little about how you got started in matchmaking?
MIKA: Yeah, of course! I worked for a long time in property management, then I pivoted to the much more sparkly world of bridal gown sales and alterations. In the wedding industry, love is always in the air. Maybe that’s why I was so intrigued when I saw an ad for a matchmaking service. I thought “People still hire matchmakers?” So I started researching the industry a little bit, just out of curiosity at first. Then I saw a posting to work for The Matchmaking Company, and I’ve been here ever since.
LORI: Oh gosh… can I say it just happened? I have no idea how I became a senior certified matchmaker. I came to matchmaking from the medical field, of all places. Several years ago, my position was outsourced, and I found myself very unexpectedly on the job market. An old friend was a new client advisor here at that time. She told me about a position that needed to be filled, and I applied. I started in a more IT-focused role, and then I eventually got confident talking to clients. It just snowballed from there; I officially became a matchmaker, I got certified, and I haven’t looked back.
Are there skills you were surprised you needed to do this job well?
MIKA: I was a little bit surprised at how much influence a client’s friends and family have in the matchmaking process. It’s tricky when clients change their minds about matches they had a great first date with because someone in their life “wouldn’t like this match”. But they really do like the match. I say the same thing I used to say to my bridal clients: The opinions of your support network are important, but they can’t outshine your own desires.
LORI: You really have to understand the difference between things that are central and things that are peripheral. Things that are peripheral are someone’s appearance, their car, and anything that is likely to be completely different in 15 years. The central things don’t usually change much; that’s a person’s moral compass, their overall demeanor, and the like. People tend to focus on the peripheral stuff, and you sometimes have to guide them to the more central things.
Something that’s surprised me in recent years is how important it’s become to some clients to match them based on politics. Before the COVID pandemic, it wasn’t such a make-or-break issue for most of our clients. Now, things have polarized so much that it’s become a central issue and you have to really pay attention to those details.
What qualities do you believe make a great matchmaker?
MIKA: You need to have empathy, but also an ability to face reality. This is an emotional environment, and people aren’t always their best selves when things aren’t going great. When a client starts to give up on themself because their last match didn’t work out, you have to keep everything in perspective for them. Remind them this is all a journey, and one rejection is not the end. I’m not dismissive, but I am stern with my clients sometimes. Nobody is throwing in the towel on my watch.
LORI: The key is empathetic yet effective communication — with other matchmakers and with my clients. I always want to be sensitive, but I’m also not here to waste anyone’s time, you know? My clients’ comfort is hugely important to me, so I want to give them all the information they need to feel safe and comfortable. I’ve also had clients sometimes decline to meet matches after hearing a detail they don’t like, but likely wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. You have to strike a balance between being transparent with your clients and rambling to them. I want to talk about the important things, and then I want you out on an amazing date!
In your opinion, what makes a match successful?
MIKA: It always makes my day when clients say they could be great friends with their match. When they say their date lasted for hours and they didn’t stop laughing the whole time. That kind of connection can’t be manufactured. Falling in love is a slow process, and they don’t realize that this is how it starts. They’re planting the seeds for a beautiful love to grow in time. When I get feedback that says “It might not be a love connection, but we had so much fun together,” I know I’m heading in the right direction!
LORI: A successful match is when two clients go on a few dates, then a few more, and then call me to say they’re thinking about taking it to the next level. I wait until at least the third meeting before I let my clients put their membership on Happy Hold. I talked to a client this week who I introduced to a match in January. It’s now September, and they’re still taking it slow, being open-minded and patient. They’re taking the time to let their attraction and connection build.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
MIKA: I just really believe people give up on themselves too soon. I love seeing my clients’ bravery and helping them conquer their fears. It’s incredible to watch them blossom throughout their journey. They gain a sense of confidence and self-worth. Even clients who don’t find a long-term relationship are changed by the experience. I had a client who was adamant that he would never meet the right woman because none of his matches led to the kind of relationship he imagined for himself. Fast-forward to today, he is a whole new man. Because of his new confidence, he met someone on his own and they’re doing great. The kicker is that she’s a lot like the matches I picked out for him!
LORI: It has to be when I get a call from a client to say they’re getting married. It’s happened so many times over the years, but every time it makes me just as ecstatic as the first time. I also hear from past clients sometimes on their anniversaries. We all do this job because we believe in true love, so it feels really good when clients let us be a small part of their story.