Patience is a virtue when it comes to matchmaking (AKA you can't hurry love)

by Claire AH


SUBJECT LINE: Just Checking In

Hello, yenta!

Just a quick e-mail to see if you’ve found any good matches for me! I’m really hoping to get dating soon.

Just want to make sure you haven’t forgotten about me!


Your Enthusiastic Client


A courteous check-in e-mail! What a nice thing to do…right?

While the intentions are often benign, emails like this give your matchmaker pause.

Here’s why:

We explain our matchmaking process pretty carefully. Between FAQs on our website and our in-person meetings, we endeavour to make it clear that we’re about quality over quantity. Friend of a Friend Matchmaking doesn’t just create matches to fill a quota, so it may take some time before you receive your first match. Very successful matches have occurred late in the membership year for many clients. We’re looking for strong mutual matches, and sometimes that takes time. We’re always meeting new people and sometimes past clients come back, so it’s not a question of either having someone for you right away or not at all. Likewise, sometimes the best matches for you are currently dating someone else, out of the country, taking a break, tending to big life things… but don’t worry because they often come back.

We do our very best to manage expectations early on (website, contract, interview) and yet sometimes there’s a disconnect between what we say and what the client hears (or wants to hear). We’ll say: “We will provide one to five matches a year with an average of two. Please don’t expect a match right away. It can take many months. We’ll contact you the second we have a strong mutual match.” and the client will nod. We’ll ask if they have any questions. The client will say no. I’ve taken to telling people to look me in the eyes when I say it to make sure they remember…and I still get check-in emails like the above all the time. A not insignificant number of people hear about our process and how it can take some time but they think “Okay, but I’m different! I’m special! Can’t wait for millions of dates next week!”

This stems from a false understanding of the situation: that if you’re somehow good enough (and you are! You’re great!), that we’ll have lots of matches for you right away. This is not how matchmaking works. It all depends on who we have in our client base and what they’re looking for in a partner. There are so many moving parts when it comes to matchmaking and we need so many complex things to line up for a solid match. It’s not about you at all. Not having a match for a while should not be a blow to your self-esteem. If things are taking longer than you had envisioned, know that this is part of the process and that you are wonderful and amazing and, yes, even special.

Matchmaking is so much more than meeting people and sending introduction emails. We agonize over Word docs and Excel spreadsheets. We have ongoing email chains discussing the minutiae of personalities, interests, goals and lifestyles. We meet for social gatherings and end up staying hours later than planned to discuss potential matches. The behind-the-scenes action is non-stop, so no, we definitely haven’t forgotten about you. We may have even attempted to match you today, but the person we were considering just wasn’t the right fit, for whatever reason. And we don’t generally think writing you to tell you about a near-miss is productive.

That said, we have been getting messages from clients that they’ve been feeling forgotten about. In the past, we have let client know as soon as we have something new and exciting to share because we don’t want to be in the business of clogging up your inbox with false hope.

We all suffer from the scourge of too many emails, and we have simply wanted to streamline the matchmaking experience so it doesn’t feel overwhelming or periodically disappointing. We have genuinely felt it would be a downer to receive an email from us only to find a message about how we have had a few close calls but no matches for you so far.

We’re realizing that we can do more to mitigate the situation, however.

Going forward, we will include:

  • more discussion in our preliminary meeting around how matches don’t relate to datability

  • an optional brief coaching session at the six-month point and

  • an option for check-in e-mails at customizable intervals, to be discussed

Not everyone wants to hear about the near-hits and near-misses, so we wanted to keep this optional. If your expectations for customizable intervals aren’t in step with your particular matchmaking plan, we can let you know about that at the time of your interview, as well.

Additionally, we’ll continue to email back and forth if we have any questions, if you have any life changes or updates that we need to know about for matchmaking purposes, or if we’re engaged in coaching. We welcome any clarifying questions, we’re happy to give dating advice within reason, and we’re always happy to hear about big things in your life!

We need to co-create trust in the process. It’s hard putting control into someone else’s hands, we get it, but that’s why you hired a matchmaker! We are super upfront about what to expect in terms of communication and quantity of matches so we’re all on the same page, but taking your feedback into account, we wanted to add in a few options so that people feel more secure in what’s going on behind the scenes (trust me, it’s a lot)! From there, we’ll do our best to find you some strong mutual matches. Just know that they won’t follow a strict schedule.

In the meantime, please be patient with us and gentle with yourself.

After all, you can’t hurry love.

Claire AH