- Nana Wereko-Brobby is the founder of Social Concierge, an elite dating club which operates in London and New York.
- Business Insider met with her in London to hear her top tips for young professionals in the modern dating game.
- She’s not a fan of swiping to find love, and has a simple philosophy: to see results, you need to get out there and meet people.
Nana Wereko-Brobby is a professional matchmaker and the founder of Social Concierge, an elite dating club which operates in London and New York.
She’s also a dating columnist who has written for the “Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger, who has been called the “fairy godmother of love” for her reality show where she sets wealthy and successful people up on dates.
Business Insider caught up with Wereko-Brobby at The Curtain, a trendy new private members’ club in East London, where she shared her pearls of wisdom for “time poor” young professional singletons who are looking for a match.
1. Forget about swiping.
The first thing Wereko-Brobby is clear about is that finding love is not easy and it takes real effort — if you want to see any results, that is.
She’s not a fan of swiping to find a date and, in fact, Social Concierge is one of the few apps where users don’t have profiles and don’t swipe. Instead, the app puts on a series of events which are free to its members.
Her philosophy is simple: get out there and meet people.
“Yes, it is difficult, but you have to remember it always has been,” she said. “The pain of your first kiss when you were younger, being asked out or trying to get noticed, we just had to man up and get through it.
“Now we are adults we expect the awkwardness and vulnerability to disappear and for meeting someone to be easy.”
In fact, this is not the case.
2. ‘Qualify your buyer.’
The best dates are those without strict time restraints, she explains, but this all depends on your expectations before you arrive.
Wereko-Brobby advises her clients to “qualify your buyer” by doing their homework before agreeing to a date. “Have at least one good conversation before you lock it in,” she said.
“If it goes wrong, 45 minutes is polite enough,” she went on. “If it goes well, stretch it out but change locations after a couple of hours to bring some variety into it.”
As far as when to wrap it up? Wereko-Brobby said you should call it a day (or night) “when you have the option for just one more drink/location/thing, to leave the adventure unfinished. Don’t do the whole three dates in one.”
For second dates, she advises her members scale it back and meet for either brunch or to take a walk “to see if you can bond without the smoke and mirrors.”
“And pin down the third during this date, just to complete the set,” she added. “We all take stock after date three.”
3. Dress up.
“I always tell clients to peacock at parties,” she said. “A red dress goes a very long way, as does a silly pocket square.”
According to Wereko-Brobby, a man’s best bet is a white shirt, but the most important thing is to look like you’ve made an effort.
“I’ve seen busy corporates just leave the office and head straight to a date with wet gym hair, a crumpled shirt, saying to themselves ‘they should take me how I am.’
“As with anything in life, you get out what you put in. And what’s more attractive than showing you can be bothered in life?”
4. Be time efficient.
If you’re time poor, there are ways to be efficient with your dates, Wereko-Brobby said. This can be a coffee on your lunch break or even two dates in one evening, but she also suggests incorporating dates into your fitness regime.
“Many of my clients sometimes take a break from dating to alleviate their health and bank balance, especially in London where “loving food and drink” now qualifies as an interest.
“But an interest in fitness and looking after yourself is up there with one of the most asked for qualities when matchmaking, so why not play on this by inviting them to workout alongside you and then just grab coffee?”
Social Concierge’s unique selling point has to date been hosting boozy parties, but the club has recently started working with gyms like 1Rebel and BXR to introduce an alternative — group fitness dates.
“It’s already gone down such a storm. The idea that you have to compromise your lifestyle in order to find the one is an outdated one.”
5. Go sober.
“I’m a massive fan of coffee dates that could lead to more,” she told Business Insider. “The GRIND coffee empire in London has perfected the first date formula by offering a coffee-meets-cocktail setting where you can get away with a sober chat, or descend into full debauchery.”
And it’s one of the first places Wereko-Brobby recommends to her clients.
“Five to 10 years ago sober dating seemed highly bizarre. Now, city professionals are more perfectionist, the boozy lunch culture is dead, and we are more conscious of health, performance, and the cult of self-improvement — so it’s no big thing to go sober. It can be more deeply bonding, in fact.”
If her members do fancy a glass or two of wine at one of Social Concierge’s events, Wereko-Brobby just advises them to pace themselves. “The tolerance for sloppy drunks is low in our network,” she added.
6. Remember: whoever picks, pays.
Whether or not to “Go Dutch” on a first date is so subjective that Wereko-Brobby conceded there are no hard rules.
“I used to pay for a lot of dates and that didn’t always go well. You need to read the person and the situation and do what feels comfortable and fair,” she said.
“The rule of ‘whoever picks, pays’ is a good one to follow in the early days — it’s courteous to pay if you’ve picked an expensive place. If you got dinner and all is going well, they can get the drinks at the bar after. If the date went badly, split it.”
“And if it’s all a bit unclear but you’d prefer them to pay, at least attempt an offer or reach for your wallet.”
These are here go-to date venues:
For London singletons:
- Clerkenwell and London Grind.
- The basement bar at Blixen.
- Restaurant Ours for a swanky dinner.
- Billy’s Bar at The Curtain members’ club.
- Cocktails at the Rosewood Hotel/Scarfes Bar.
- Coffee at Colbert in Chelsea followed by the Saatchi Gallery, the farmers market, and lunch at the Ivy Chelsea Garden.
- The bar at MASH in Soho for “Mad Men” vibes.
For New Yorkers:
- The Jane Hotel for quirky vibes.
- The Ace Hotel for post-work oysters.
- Sant Ambroeus for coffee in the West Village.
- Public for something new and swanky.
- Air’s Champagne Parlour for “girly girls.”
- Augustine for super classy French vibes.
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