I went to a matchmaker and her advice changed what I look for in a partner

My matchmaker gave me some interesting new priorities in finding a partner. Agape Match
  • Though it might seem antiquated, the art of matchmaking is entering the modern era.
  • Matchmaking is an alternative option for those who might not be able to online date or meet people in bars or social settings.
  • And it turns out that matchmaking may actually provide some helpful insight for those looking to enter long-term relationships.

It goes without saying that dating has changed a lot over the last few years.

Swiping through apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Grindr is now the norm. Online dating used to be considered taboo, but now, according to the Pew Research Center, 59% of people believe online dating is a good way to meet people, a 15% increase over the span of a decade.

Despite all these new ways of meeting people, we all like to play matchmaker at some point, connecting two friends on Instagram or setting up two people we love on a blind date. But if there’s one practice that doesn’t seem quite as common these days, it’s matchmaker as a profession.

For every Tinder and Grindr date I’ve been on and every incorrect “you’d love my friend” message I’ve received, I’d never given any thought to trying out an actual matchmaker.

One expert matchmaker,Agape Match‘s CEOMaria Avgitidis, told me that people’s hesitation about matchmakers tend to come from what they have seen on TV or in movies.

“People often think [matchmakers] are b—– or loud, but that’s wrong. We just tend to be extroverted,” she told me.

Matchmaking isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when deciding how or where to turn for finding love, especially for me, a 24-year-old boy on a budget. Besides, I reasoned, maybe I’d just been picking the wrong photos or making the classic first date mistakes.

But, at the end of the day, I’m also a person extremely interested in finding the one (corny, I know!), so why limit myself to just Tinder, Grindr, and flirty Instagram DMs? I’d consulted a tarot card reader on the matter, for God’s sake. At this point, my random reservations sounded more like ill-informed excuses.

Besides, Avgitidis made the sound point that not everyone can or even should online date, though she’s not at all opposed to anyone using apps or websites.

“Certain people just can’t online date. Maybe they’re in high-profile jobs or it’s for professional and personal reasons,” Avgitidis said. “Apps have pushed people to look for confidential resources to be able to date… Before smartphones, you could count on talking to strangers. Now, everyone’s thumbing. They’re looking at feeds. People can’t even go to bars to meet people.”

Maybe I’m just not the online dating type. Louis Baragone

That’s where a new generation
of matchmaking services comes in.

That said, Avgitidis is quick to point out that not every company calling itself as a matchmaking service is exactly that.

“Dating agencies masquerade as matchmaking services, but we’re not about quotas or sales [at Agape Match],” she said.

Some dating agencies try to label themselves as matchmakers only to slap themselves with quotas or sales figures and basically try to get as many people on dates as possible, whether or not they’re a match.

True matchmakers like Avgitidis prefer a quality over quantity approach.

“Essentially, a professional learns more about you and what you’re looking for and your values and they look for someone who can compliment that for the rest of your life,” Avgitidis said.

That’s more easily said than done, and it doesn’t even sound that easy to begin with.

Gay men date
Going to a matchmaker can be tough when you’re an LGBTQ person. Shutterstock

Not to mention, there also aren’t as many options for LGBTQ people when it comes to matchmaking.

It’s easy for me to download a specific app with plenty of choices, but there aren’t necessarily as many matchmakers who have a database of diverse LGBTQ clientele.

“Gay matchmaking has its own set of rules,” Avgitidis said when I disclosed my sexuality to her over the phone. “It’s a whole other thing.”

Despite the lack of options when it came to other agencies, though, reviews of Agape’s services were pretty enticing. One testament, in particular, stuck out to me.

“If I blew it [on a date], they told me … bluntly,” a Google user wrote. “Another added value. No more wondering ‘was it something I said?'”

I’d been there and empathized with the commenter, I was curious about what made Avgitidis’ method different, as well as how I could incorporate her mantras into my own search for love beyond one matchmaking session.

Well, with her help, I’ve got new rules. New rules that have helped Avgitidis send 100% of her clients on dates, as opposed to Match‘s 19%.

According to Avgitidis, there are three main principles to finding a good match, though obviously nothing is foolproof.

First, she looked at my lifestyle. These are the choices that shape the way we live, from when we go to bed to how we stay in shape. Avgitidis asked if I wanted kids, what I’d be doing in five years, and where I’d go on a date with a boyfriend this weekend.

Next, Avgitidis looked at my family values. She asked how much my parents emphasised a strong work ethic and how close my family is, as well as which religions shaped my fundamental beliefs.

Finally, the team checked out different communication styles. This obviously refers to how a person communicates, but in this case, it’s particularly relevant to how we express and like to receive affection or love. Do words do the trick or would I prefer for someone to put some actions and affection to their ‘I love you’?

Each question was eye-opening in its own way, but one thing really hit me hard.

Casually, Avgitidis said that her biggest challenge as a matchmaker continues to be making sure that two people can like each other for life. Not just love. Like.

“You can love someone when you meet them, but liking someone for 50 years can be really tough,” Avgitidis said. “It’s about appreciating someone forever.”

It’s easy to fall in love (something I’ve done about 800 times, or so I’d convinced myself at the time), but it’s not as simple to fall in like, to get to know someone on a level beyond butterflies, fireworks, and sex.

With the help of this principle in mind, I’ve learned to start looking at the right things and not just swiping right with the power of my eyes or a cheesy idea of love. Tinder and Bumble have incredible amounts of potential, but just as important are the classic indicators of a true match. It’s easy to swipe right, but it’s not quite as easy to get it right IRL.

In the end, the more things seem to change, the more they stay the same. Dating included.

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