Shedding Some “Dark Light” on Matchmaking

Do you know the difference between a dating coach and a matchmaker? Sometimes it can be hard to tell, especially because there’s a lot of crossover, but I’ve heard too many stories about earnest, hopeful singles who don’t know what to expect and get a whole lot less than they thought they bargained for. If you want to enlist someone to help you in your search for love, make sure you know exactly what kind of help you actually need, and who can provide it.

“Give a man a fish, he eats for a day—teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.” Pretty much everyone’s heard that one, right? Well, it’s as true for the dating industry as it is for any other. If you give a man a date, but none of the tools he needs to make it a success, he’s probably not going to get much farther than that first date. The best thing you can do for someone who’s looking for love is teach them how to find it for themselves—after all, “there’s a lot of fish in the sea,” you just need to know how to catch them.

A professional matchmaker will arrange dates for their clients, but they often don’t do any of the coaching or confidence building that will make those dates work. Dating coach services like mine will “teach you how to fish.” A dating coach can help you fight your insecurities, develop an approachable and likable attitude, show you what’s expected (and what isn’t), help you understand what women want, and even help you choose what to wear. Matchmakers might get you a date, but that’s where their services end. When you have a dating coach, you’ll be able to make your own opportunities. You can always use online services like OkCupid or Tinder to set up your own dates, or use your new-found skills and confidence to meet people organically. A dating coach turns your attitude of scarcity into an abundance mentality, and you’ll see opportunities everywhere—at bars, parks, the line at the bank, etcetera. Matchmakers, on the other hand, rely on their clients believing in that scarcity—they need their clients to think that the only chance they have to meet someone is through their service. Many dating coaches (myself included!) can also help set up dates for you, but they’ll make sure you have what it takes to be successful, first.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against matchmakers. After all, I am one too! They can provide a valuable service for people whose only obstacle truly is just meeting other singles. But if there isn’t a certain level of preparedness, many clients aren’t going to see the results they’re hoping for. And sometimes, they pay a lot to be disappointed.

According to the Matchmaking Institute in NYC, matchmaking industry brings in about $500 million annually—approximately half the total billion-dollar worth of the dating industry. There are an estimated 2,000 professional matchmakers in the US, and it’s not uncommon to pay thousands of dollars for their services, many of which are usually biased in the first place because they'll only match you with other people who also pay them. There are also sites like It’s Just Lunch, which charges $2,300 for a year-long membership and does nothing beyond getting people a few introductions. A lot of men out there need more than just an introduction, and if you think that’s true for you, you should probably choose a dating coach instead. And once you learn how to fish, you might be surprised at how much the dating world opens up.

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