- Gender and Relationships
Matchmakers: Failing at Love to Finding Love
The use of matchmaking has become increasingly popular in our culture- putting someone or something else in charge of finding us love. What an interesting concept.
The closest I ever got to a matchmaker was an online dating site...many years ago...out of curiosity...because my roommate at the time seemed to be having great luck with it. My experience taught me a lot. I typed in my criteria, I typed in who I thought I was, and made some matches. It was easy and I had several wonderful dates, met several wonderful men, but did I fall in love with any? No. Did I marry any of them? No. They were great honestly, everything I was searching for, everything on my "check list". I could go on a date with the "perfect" person, but still not find someone I'd fall in love with let alone share my life with. We think we know what we want and that's where it gets tricky.
The whole experience taught me first that I was ready to have a committed "forever" relationship. This is important to know before you sign up for a dating service or matchmaker of any kind. Some people aren't ready and there is no point to date if you're not. Yes, you can sleep around, have casual outings or "hang out" with people, but dating is for the serious...seriously! A Matchamker's job is to get you ready to fall in love, not necessarily finding you that love.
Things must be in line before you find love. I don't believe the issue of finding love is a lack of prospects. People claim they have a hard time finding someone out there for them and unless you live under a rock, people are everywhere. That's not the problem- there is no mystical shortage of men or women. If you can't find someone, you're probably not ready- too picky, not approachable, haven't recovered from your last relationship, you want someone who has it all together but you don't (in other words you're reaching for the stars), and the list goes on.
The effort needs to be with yourself in order to find someone. When I was ready for the love of my life, I attracted him to me. While I was dating a few men from the dating website, I was in a college class with my future husband- just an ordinary funny and honest guy with a lot of baggage like all of us. He wasn't perfect, but he was my perfect.
Why talk about Matchmakers and the art of matchmaking? For the invaluable insight. Because they are in the position of seeing people for who they are, pin-pointing how that person comes across to others, and getting them ready! If you did that for yourself (and you can), you could easily be the best matchmaker for you. Wouldn't you like to learn some of the tricks of their trade?
"Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match". Fiddler on The Roof
Who's your Matchmaker?
Perhaps the earliest form of matchmaking was/is arranged marriage. It seems archaic or barbaric to Americans, but many countries and cultures still practice some form of this. We like having our choices in America, even if they are are wrong, even if we don't like the consequences. But you have to wonder if someone else would be better than us at picking our true love.
Eventually a handful of the "unlucky" in love get restless and seek the help of someone else to do the matchmaking for them. They realize their failure in love may have something to do with their choices and mistakes, or their inability to move on and adapt from those mistakes. This is when people reach out for help- a matchmaker.This could be an online dating service, a friend who sets them up, or an actual Matchmaker.
The matchmaking industry makes over $400 million/ year. This is not including online dating sites. An online dating site typically matches for commonalities among people, but quality ones will read between the lines and ask in-depth questions that get under the surface because we know that people like to present themselves in a good light and things are not always what they seem.
The Real Issue
Matchmakers recognize a few types of people who need "improvement" before matching or shouldn't be matched- the ones that don't want to be serious, the ones too good for everyone else, and those who have issues with trust. Those that aren't up for long-term or a relationship need not apply. Matchmakers pick up on that type of person quickly and turn them away- it's a waste of their time if they can't get them ready. Like I said before, don't seriously date if you're not ready for the long-term possibilities.
Those with trust issues can't move beyond that issue in each relationship now and in the future. There seems to be an automatic distrust from the beginning, when they first meet someone. They place that burden of mistrust on the other person.
The sad truth about this mistrust issue is it boils down to themselves. They do not trust who they pick to date, and often they don't realize it's them they don't trust. They've been wrong so many times before, now everyone they meet is a suspect- no one is to be trusted because that's who majority of their encounters are. Why is that? Are all people untrustworthy? No. They no longer trust their own instincts, they follow their passion, their wants, their history of abuse, etc and end up down the same wrong path.
Lastly, the people who are too good for everyone can benefit with someone who will put them in their place or someone opposite of them. These people are hard to match and are measuring love by financial status or perfect looks- all the wrong reasons. Sometimes a Matchmaker can help them identify the err of their ways and sometimes they end up being a perfect match for themselves, by themselves. The lesson- if you're looking for someone's flaws, you will always find them. Try not to be so critical and realize, like I did, that perfect is not necessarily perfect for you.
Matchmaker/Life Coach/ Dating Coach- Tricks of the Trade
Matchmakers have also called themselves, and their profession, Life Coaching. Essentially they have to dig into someone's life and figure out what's not working that creates a barrier to their happiness. They are willing to do the work on someone who is not willing to do the work for themselves.
We can all do the work for ourselves because we have a knack for nailing down someone else in a few minutes with a few words- we judge them right away, we like them, we don't like them. We can probably guess what their main issues are pretty quick. Obviously we don't see ourselves objectively very well. But we can...
What a matchmaker will do, but you can do for yourself too:
- See yourself clearly and drop the ego. As soon as you find yourself wondering or thinking about what someone else is doing wrong, or how others have hurt you, take a hard look at yourself and your contribution to what's going wrong. Why does every girl put you in the friend zone? Is it because you're too nice? No, but isn't that a sweet notion for you to think about yourself- that's a nice (and easy) explanation. You're picking the wrong girls- girls who use others to get what they want or perhaps you need to take initiative as to where the relationship is going- find out in 3 dates if she just wants a friend rather than 3 years later. Sure, it's easier to think you're too nice rather than make a move before you're comfortable.
- Get out of the comfort zone. Matchmakers will purposely set people up with someone they don't usually date. Most of the time when Matchmakers set someone up with someone very similar to that person, it backfires and it's not a good match. So maybe, just maybe...pick the wrong person for you instead of what you think is the right one. Chemistry comes in all shapes and sizes. In my experience I wouldn't have picked my husband out in a line-up on a dating site, but turns out he's the one I married.
- Stop being the victim. Some people are always the ones dumped or the ones hurt or cheated on. Matchmakers use a lot of tough love on their clients- they're brutal, they're honest, they're blunt. Victims claim the whole world has been tough on them, but if they were tough on themselves for a little while instead, they would see what's going wrong.
- How many fish? I stated above that not many people should have a shortage of prospects, but it might help to do some math. How many people are in your age group in the city you live in. Do you even live near a city or large town? Are you a single 60 year old living in a college town? Those kind of odds need to be taken into consideration.
- Gain insight into the opposite sex. It helps to have friends of the opposite sex or of the type of person you want to attract. Often a male matchmaker can help a female identify what men think of her and how to relate to and attract them.
- Have a little help. Enlist an honest friend who will tell you what you may be doing wrong or how you could dress or present yourself to attract more people. Sometimes you just need help getting your foot in the door for a first impression and a second date.
- Identify the problems and make a plan. This is the essence of Life Coaching work (and Matchmaking). This isn't stuff people can't do for themselves. Once you've identified a few problem areas, make a plan (with specific steps and a goal/desired outcome) to work on those.
- Focus on being ready for love, not falling in love. A Matchmaker doesn't claim a success only when someone finds their perfect match. They identify success in a client when they have prepared and gotten a client ready and open for finding true love.
Matchmakers will tell you their success rates are not always promising with the matching itself, but they will also tell you about all the people who spontaneously found love on their own shortly after working with a Matchmaker. It's because the work was really done on the person themselves.
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