In a day and age of convenience and instant gratification, finding your soulmate is no easy task (if that's something you aspire to and believe in, that is). In fact, today's fast-paced world may have made pinpointing your forever partner more challenging than ever. Amidst these plugged-in times, perhaps it's best to turn to tradition with the ancient art of matchmaking, which has been practiced by different cultures for centuries throughout history. And luckily, you don't need a time machine to find one of these pros; modern-day matchmakers can tell you how to find your soulmate in the here and now.
So if you're tired of dating apps and bland first dates, and you've realized your social circles have no romantic potential, stay tuned. Ahead, three matchmakers give their tried-and-true tips for finding your other half — or simply putting yourself out there a bit more, if that's more your angle. From the best places to meet potential partners to giving off a great first impression (but, as they'll tell you, first impressions aren't everything), these love gurus dish on what works — and what doesn't. Lastly, you'll hear from a few clients who've found success, thanks to their matchmaker's advice. If you've just about given up on finding "the one," hang tight — there's hope yet.
Know Where You Might Meet Him/Her
To state the obvious, the first step to finding your soulmate is to meet them, which can be tricky if your routines have you in the same social circles. But according to Chicago matchmaker Brittney Smiejek with Three Day Rule, the trick is to look for opportunities everywhere. "There’s always the possibility of finding your soulmate anywhere, you just have to have the courage to put yourself out there," she says. "If you see someone that interests you, go up and introduce yourself. What is the worst that can happen?" She says that some of the best places to scope out potential partners include the grocery store, the dog park, on public transportation, at happy hour, and at live events like baseball games or concerts.
Kelsey Lord, a Three Day Rule matchmaker in Orange County, adds that mutual friends or acquaintances could also connect you to a great potential partner. She mentions that you could find a match at work, but warns it's important to be careful about it. "This can be a tricky one," Lord admits. "Typically, it is better to stay away from a situation that might make things awkward if it doesn't work out. But many people find their soulmates at work because you get to spend most of your time with or near that person and you have plenty of time to get to know them." (Hey, it worked out for Jim and Pam).
Decide What You Want In A Significant Other
Two decades ago, Leah McCullough, aka The Fibro Lady, was paired with her husband through a matchmaker. The turning point in her dating life, she says, was when she became clear about what she wanted. "I think the thing that helped me the most [was when] I wrote a list of characteristics I wanted in the perfect man. I only shared part of it with the matchmaker, but it was like I put an order in with the universe and it was custom-matched for me."
One word of warning: Don't let your tailor-made list prevent you from giving someone a chance if they don't quite fit the bill. But general traits pertaining to your values and how you want (nay, deserve) to be treated are a great place to start. Smiejek lists some signs she recommends her clients look for in a potential mate:
- Good communicator
- Good listener
- Good sense of humor
Then, there are "The Three S's." "My colleague, Devyn Simone (senior matchmaker, NYC) has coined the three things women need to feel in a relationship," Lord says. "Safe, special, and sexy. Women should be looking for a [partner] that makes them feel that way. This is what is going to really make you happy and satisfied long-term." Further, says Julia Bekker, the matchmaker, dating expert, and coach behind Hunting Maven, "Your values should be considered when deciding on your non-negotiables. Make sure he or she aligns with the things that are most important to you."
Be Wary Of First Impressions
While it's important to be clear about what you want, it's equally important to be open-minded. And when it comes to first impressions, these love gurus agree that a less-than-perfect one isn't always a reason to write someone off. "Introductions and first dates can be nerve-wracking and not everyone does well under pressure," notes Smiejek. "It is the unfortunate truth that we often tend to judge a book by its cover, rather than taking the time to read through all its pages. Everyone's story is unique and has made them into the person they are today."
"Many people look for fireworks and sparks on a first date," Lord adds. "From my experience with the majority of our client success stories, this is not the way it normally goes. I always encourage my clients to give it three dates; two at the very least, to see if their feelings start to change the more they get to know the person. You would be shocked at how many clients come back and thank me because they would have never given this person a second date, and now they are in a forever relationship."
Lead With Your Authentic Self
"Honesty is very important in the beginning stages of a relationship," Smiejek points out. "If you are dishonest early on and lose one's trust, it can be difficult to gain it back."
"I think the most important thing you can do is to show that you are ready for a relationship, both emotionally and mentally," Lord continues. "This means opening yourself up to the possibility of love. People are drawn to or turned away from you based on the energy you give out." To do this, she suggests, "Always show the other person you are positive/optimistic; [be] emotionally available, never talk about exes or other relationships in early dating; [demonstrate] responsiveness and communication, you want to show this person that you are interested in them and being responsive and communicative is the best way to do that!"
Advice From Successfully Matched Couples
Physician Souji Tummuru, D.O., and Nathan Grenzer, a director of master data services, were matched by Smiejek in January 2018 and were married that October. Looking back, both confess that they never would've picked each other, if not for their matchmaker's encouragement.
"Although I instantly thought Nate was a good-looking and sweet guy, I worried a lot about the differences in our upbringing and culture," Dr. Tummuru admits. "When I expressed these concerns to my matchmaker, she really encouraged me to keep an open mind and get to know him better. By date five, I knew we had something very special and am so thankful for her advice and guidance." The moral of this (love) story? "Keep an open mind and be honest with yourself in what you are looking for," advises Dr. Tummuru.
A client of Bekker's has more of a "love-at-first-sight" story, but the lesson she learned was that before finding her soulmate, she had to let go of the past. "I took a break from dating after my last relationship with someone, [who] I learned wasn’t the person I though he was," she explains. "It took a long time to heal." But when she least expected it, Bekker called to say she may have found the perfect match. Though hesitant at first, she agreed to go on a date, and the two hit it off immediately. "I was absolutely smitten after the first date. I didn’t even think it was possible to meet someone so perfect for me."
A year later, they're still together. The client says her key to success was "to make amends with my past and give someone a chance without any preconceived notions or expectations of it not working out." Finally, she gives this short but sweet advice: "Take risks. Leave the past behind. Stay positive."