Matchmaker Services: Can They Help Reduce Loneliness During COVID-19?
As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people around the world have been experiencing extreme isolation and loneliness — particularly if they are living alone. For some folks, these feelings have pushed them to find a significant other, even if that means meeting prospective partners exclusively on apps and setting up virtual dates. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has reshaped the way we date and view relationship benchmarks, but it may have also rekindled single folks’ interest in matchmaking services. Sure, a traditional matchmaker may not be as mainstream as Bumble or Tinder, but such services have seen an uptick in business, especially among clients who want a lasting relationship as opposed to something more casual.
How Do Matchmaker Services Work?
Matchmakers typically find their clients one of two ways: A) prospective clients reach out to them after seeing advertisements or conducting an online search, or B) through word of mouth. In non-pandemic times, matchmakers also recruit clients at parties, restaurants and other places singles hang out. At the beginning of the process, a matchmaker will often offer up a free consultation; this allows them to find out what kind of relationship the client wants and who might prove to be a compatible partner.
When a client officially signs on, matchmakers will usually conduct a more in-depth interview to get a sense of the client’s background. In essence, it's a deep dive into family dynamics, education level, religion, hobbies, values, previous relationships and, most importantly, dealbreakers. After reviewing their findings, the matchmaker will then present the client with date options based on their compatibility.
Unlike dating apps that charge fairly nominal monthly or weekly fees, matchmaking agencies often charge a hefty amount. While prices vary depending on location, the average matchmaking service costs somewhere between $10,000 and $50,000 a year. But that price tag might just be outweighed by all the benefits these services offer.
What Are the Benefits of Working with a Matchmaking Service?
Instead of grasping at straws and shooting your shot online, working with a matchmaker allows you to take a more targeted, personalized approach to dating. Matches are pre-screened for safety reasons — not just verified with a checkmark — and subsequently selected for dates based on both compatibility and relationship goals. In addition to all that legwork, matchmakers also save you time and energy when it comes to planning out dates; odds are, you’ll have a connection and common interests, which makes getting to know each much easier.
The most valuable benefit? Reputable matchmakers have years of experience. They're not just scrolling through profiles like you would on your own. Best of all, matchmakers will also help you prep for a date by providing insight and feedback. After all, not even the most successful dating app’s algorithm can act as your coach and cheering section. And, sometimes, that personal touch goes a long way.
How Can One Become a Matchmaker?
Successful matchmakers have certain qualities in common, including a love of people. In order to be a great matchmaker, you have to like meeting and engaging with other people, as well as serving as a source of support and encouragement for them. Clients will have plenty of questions and concerns, which means you’ll have to be willing to respond honestly and professionally. It also helps if you’re intuitive when it comes to setting up potential matches. In fact, experts in the game say that matchmaking isn't really a skill that can be taught — either you're able to bring people together or you're not.
Budding matchmakers first learn the ropes from seasoned vets by working for other matchmakers as apprentices or affiliates. These apprentices can also work with a matchmaker agency, which works to train qualified candidates and place them with clients. Of course, aspiring matchmakers can also strike out on their own, but, be warned, entrepreneurship can prove just as challenging as finding love.
Is Using a Matchmaker Service the Key to Solving Loneliness During COVID-19?
Given the benefits that matchmakers provide, it's clear that this type of service can be key to helping people find love and combat loneliness, even during a pandemic. Now that "turbo relationships" — those based on quarantine convenience — have ended in droves, folks are looking to get a bit more serious, all while staving off the boredom and loneliness of quarantine life. "Coaching [in addition to matchmaking] has seen a bit of an uptick," says Claire AH, owner of the Canada-based Friend of a Friend Matchmaking. "[This is] because a lot of people are having a tough time adjusting to a different way of dating."
With a lot of events going virtual, it's no surprise that dating would too, and matchmakers have had to adapt. "Conversations seem to flow when there is common ground to discuss and commiserating with each other often sparks laughter and an outlet for the stresses they have been under," writes one of Virginia-based Select Date Society’s matchmakers. "[...] When two people have a spark, there is no denying it, regardless of being face to face or meeting through another venue like FaceTime or Zoom." Of course, you’ll have to get in the same (Zoom) room as a partner-to-be first — and with the right matchmaker and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, staving off some COVID-induced loneliness could be a reality.