Mountain View dating

The current state of the matchmaking industry from an insiders perspective

It’s 2018 and I can officially say I am obsessed with being a matchmaker. It’s incredibly hard to believe that I have been running my niche business since December 2003. I will never forget the day that I walked into my former boss’s office at Merrill Lynch and told him I was quitting to become a professional matchmaker. I think his head fell off and rolled across the floor in shock. But it was the right move. I wasn’t happy in financial services. It was neither my calling nor what I was meant to do. I knew deep down in my core that I would start my own company one day and succeed at it – I believed in myself. In the same vein, and at the beginning of another year, I encourage you to believe in yourself. To achieve your dreams, whether professional, personal (e.g. meeting an exceptional life partner), or a combination, you need to believe in your ideas and have a solid confidence.

 

I am writing this particular blog entry to address the state of the matchmaking industry, as I see it. I’d like to think I have a good sense of, and some deep insights into, this space.  My livelihood is my business – I have been at this for 14 years, it runs deep in my blood, and it has been an integral piece of my life’s journey. At the beginning of a new year, I want to share my thoughts with all of you.

 

Not to sugarcoat anything, I have been very disappointed reading the press coverage of many matchmakers over the last several years – last year’s news, in particular, struck a chord with me. Something is just plain wrong with so many of the “high-end” matchmakers and “not so high-end” matchmakers out there – the vast majority of them are volume-driven businesses who’s business ethics are very questionable.

 

As a business owner, I have learned some of my greatest lessons over the last 14 years. A big one is not to take someone on board as a client if I can’t deliver. Seems pretty basic right? Contrary to this principle, matchmakers for the masses (and those handful who claim they are “elite” but have zero filtering or curation), are extremely focused on total revenue. I get it. It’s so tempting when running a business, whether big or small.   BUT I can proudly say that I have worked extremely hard via science (my database) and art (my heart and intuition) to truly “cherry pick” the best of the best clients whom I know I can match and with whom I know I can work. Emphasis on whom I know I can match!

 

Thus, one of the most critical distinctions between Linx Dating and pretty much any of the dating services available domestically and internationally is that we actually turn away a lot of incoming demand. To reiterate, why would I turn away these prospective male and female clients who can help me increase my business revenue? For starters, Linx prides itself in representing a very select group of clientele. There are other matchmakers that make these claims, but I can assure you that the majority of these firms have a revenue model that basically requires them to take all of the business that comes through their door. It is precisely THIS model that gets these other business into serious trouble when they cannot deliver results. In addition to this, a large complaint is that when the matchmakers work with so many clients, it is extremely hard for the client to feel any connection to the team or that anyone really knows or remembers them.

 

The news that I have been reading, and the stories that I keep hearing, involve nasty lawsuits where disgruntled high profile clients file claims against matchmakers time and time again. What are the root causes of most of these cases?

 

  • Matchmakers taking on clients that they probably should not have.

For example, some clients will never be satisfied under any circumstances. Maybe they have unrealistic goals, or haven’t really thought about the most important qualities they want in a match, and this makes it impossible for the matchmaker to ever deliver, as they in search of glorified unicorns that do not exist.

 

  • Due to (1), Matchmakers are under pressure to make introductions that are often so patently “bad” that the client freaks out at the quality of match.

 

“Bad” could be a long list of reasons, with characteristics ranging from undesirable to unacceptable: e.g. the introduction is unemployed, a drug user, a sex offender, convicted criminals….the list goes on and on. Firms do these set-ups like this with random people to meet the quota of introductions for the client. It is a very bad, often times unethical, business that makes this industry at large look bad!

 

I have never been consumed by trying to grow my business to some massively large scale operation and becoming a victim of image, keeping up with the Joneses, or trying to be something I am not.  There’s plenty of matchmakers doing PR campaigns posing in front of fancy cars, private planes, using waifish models to bait men, and bragging about the last names of some of their clientele to the media (which is also a breach in confidentiality mind you.) Instead of resorting to these tactics, I have worked very hard to maintain my core values and business standards throughout the years. While no one is perfect and, sure, I have made my fair number of mistakes along this journey, I know I have done and continue to do a superb job of try to make my corner of this industry shine with integrity while staying true to who I am.

 

If it wasn’t already looking so grim, other matchmakers I’ve read about have chosen to launder money when it was meant for donations to charity, or taken all the membership money, and essentially disappear on some island, all while not returning worried clients’ phone calls, and often literally not even delivering on promised introductions.

 

And then there are other matchmakers who loathe the success and positive media attention of their competitors so much that they resort to guerilla tactics that I have had to deal with over and over again in my business – e.g. false reviews posted on Yelp from “people” who were never even clients. “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” -Colin Powell

 

To thrive in business and life, one must be prepared for critics and for those who wish to see you fail. While it can feel very out-of-control in the moment when it is happening, the silver living becomes your greatest blessing. The silver lining is the motive of the competitor. Envy. They recognize something great, likely question “how” such a small, niche business has managed to get to where it’s at, and want to copy its success. There really is no greater compliment than a person wanting to model your success.

 

As you are possibly researching matchmakers to hire, I encourage you to meet with many and do your due diligence. Do meet and greets, ask them questions, see which ones feel right, ask if they offer references (often we cannot, due to the strict privacy policy, but sometimes a client is willing to speak), and most importantly follow your gut. Just like I tell my clients when they are on dates, study your date’s body language, look into their eyes. What feeling are you getting? Is it a good one where your intuition is telling you to keep exploring the chemistry over the course of future dates or does something feel off?

 

The greatest lesson I have learned is never to ignore your intuition. There is a reason we human beings have it. My biggest regrets, and luckily they are few and far between, have been going against my intuition in business hires or in admitting a client or two whom I definitely should not have. So I encourage you to do the same, listen to what your heart and mind tell you.

 

While I continue to try to make a positive impact on the matchmaking industry, I wish you a strong start to your New Year filled with health, peace, prosperity, and clarity into your love lives in 2018!

Your New Years Guide to Ghosting

 

iStock-653123384 copy.jpgYou’ve met someone new. You’ve been out on a few great dates. All signs point to a promising future and then nothing. Your date—and any hint of a relationship—disappears into thin air.

 

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. You, like so many others, have been ghosted. When I was dating ages ago, way before the term “ghosting” made its debut, I called this “pulling a Houdini.” Ghosting happens when someone ceases contact without explanation. In lieu of a break-up conversation or a gentle letdown, a ghoster simply disappears in the hopes that the silence will send the message.

 

In this era of digital dating, the rate of ghosting is higher than ever. In one study by online dating site Plenty of Fish, results showed that 78% of people between the ages of 18 and 33—have been “ghosted” at least once.

 

If you’ve been ghosted…

 

Realize that the ghoster’s lack of communication isn’t about you. Ghosting happens when someone tries to suppress their own uncomfortable emotions and, in an effort to numb them, avoids communicating. Ghosting isn’t meant to be malicious; ghosters generally consider their actions to be “nicer” than an upfront conversation.

 

Getting ghosted can be extremely painful. Many people on the receiving end are left not only questioning the validity of the relationship, but also their own judgment. They may wonder why they didn’t see it coming or read the signs. Feelings of abandonment and loss ensue.

 

Though you may not receive the closure you need, you do have the power to write your own ending. A simple message may help you tie up loose ends even when your date has opted for a less thoughtful route.

 

Possible closure messages include:

 

  • “I enjoyed spending time getting to know you. Unfortunately, it seems this wasn’t the right time for us. I’m not expecting an explanation but, if you’d like to chat, I’m available.”

 

  • “Given how close we became, I would appreciate a quick conversation to understand your feelings. Though I’m not expecting to hear from you, some communication could help us land in a better place.”

 

The goal of your closure message is to make a definitive request for communication while also demonstrating that you are moving forward regardless of whether it happens. The request shows that you have self-respect while also giving someone an opportunity to make right or, at the very least, exit the relationship with integrity.

 

An additional thought… If you suspect that you are being ghosted – for example, if you haven’t heard from a date in a couple days and feel like calling it off before getting hurt, reconsider his or her schedule. It’s tempting to assign intent to a lack of communication, but in the preliminary stages of dating, not many people know how to prioritize their personal lives, careers, and new relationships.

 

You could send a message like this:

 

  • “Looks like your week is as busy as mine. Wanted to double check for Tuesday.”

 

If you’re planning to ghost…

 

You’ve been set up with a new date. You’ve exchanged texts and you’re looking forward to meeting. You have a date on the books and then something changes. You might have received an awkward message or a sudden drop in messaging that is causing you to reconsider that first date. Finally, after much deliberation, you send a quick message: “Schedule got a little hectic on my end. I’m sorry I won’t be able to make dinner. Maybe we’ll meet another time!”

 

You thus have canceled the date without an alternative proposal for a new time and are hoping that your date will understand and move on. (I am not even addressing extreme ghosting here, which is even worse and horribly rude – i.e. blowing off the date and not even contacting the person.)

 

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Most ghosters have also been the victim of ghosting, so you can choose to perpetuate the cycle, or not. Although you might argue that this is a case-by-case decision, the way you end a relationship is a reflection of your personal brand. Approaching others with respect and honesty will help you attract someone who subscribes to the same thinking.

 

Before calling it quits, realize that going out with someone is the only way to know if he or she is worth pursuing. Throwing in the towel before meeting isn’t helping you find the love of your life any quicker; it’s just an excuse that’s keeping you from growing and learning.

 

One message you could send if you’re thinking about ghosting:

 

  • “Hi! My week is crazy. I’m thinking it might be better for me to go out for coffee instead of dinner. Does this work?”

 

This message might not be ideal, but keeping the date casual might be better than nixing the date completely.

5 ways people unintentionally sabotage relationships

 

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It’s impossible to break patterns without awareness. Whereas ending a relationship is seemingly straightforward, ending relationships without fully understanding why is a dangerous pattern—a pattern that can’t be broken unless we employ serious self-reflection. Focusing on the outward makes us feel powerless to make changes; it’s easy to surrender to a victim mentality. Below are the most common ways men unintentionally sabotage relationships:

 

  1. Holding on to a relationship fantasy.

Believing that the grass is always greener—that there is better elsewhere and anything less than perfect won’t do—is a mechanism that shields people from deeper levels of intimacy. If you believe better is just around the corner, there is no reason to invest fully, emotionally or otherwise, in the current relationship.

 

The belief that better exists is usually rooted in fear—fear of commitment, fear of losing one’s individuality, and the fear of pain. Believing that something better exists outside of the relationship mitigates the fear. Looking deeper within will reveal that the greener grass mentality is a projection of the discomfort we have within ourselves; idealizing something or someone who isn’t real soothes those uncomfortable feelings.

 

What to do: Take an objective look at your relationship patterns.

  • Are you constantly seeking change?
  • Why did your last relationships fail? What was your role in that?
  • Are you content?

Figuring out what you idealize in a partner might be a good starting point to figure out what you’re missing within.

 

  1. Inability to address pain openly.

Emotional intimacy can only be achieved through vulnerability. Being unable to share openly and truthfully will inhibit emotional depth and closeness. In The Real Rules of Life: Balancing Life’s Terms with Your Own, Ken Druck, PhD., writes that men learn that anger is a “good” male emotion as it demonstrates toughness and makes some men feel like they are in control. After years of programming, it’s no wonder that many men act aggressively in the face of stress, fear, sadness, or loss.

What to do: Learn to identify your emotional needs and learn how to get these needs met in and out of your primary relationship. This is a process; a therapist can help make it easier.

 

  1. Taking feedback personally instead of objectively.

Criticism can be highly triggering; hearing something that challenges a strong ego can cause an emotional reaction. Not only does this reaction reveal insecurity, these emotional reactions make will make it harder for your partner to communicate openly.

 

What to do: Stop Defending.

According to Robert Taibbi, LCSW, the best way to handle your partner’s concerns is to affirm your good intentions and seek a better understanding of your partners needs. Trying to build a case that refutes your partner’s point of view might stroke your ego, but it will ultimately prolong resolution.

 

  1. Failing to recognize your partner’s love language.

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman describes the most common ways people feel loved: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. If you haven’t discovered your partner’s language, reading this short book will help you learn how to express feelings more effectively.

 

Often times we express love in the way that makes us feel most loved, but that is not necessarily the way your partner will feel most loved. Additionally, learning your partner’s love language will help you avoid situations that could be especially devastating. For example, if your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, non- constructive criticism or failing to express appreciation will be very painful for a partner who is more sensitive to verbal communication.

 

  1. De-prioritizing the relationship.

Complicating factors—work, children, aging parents—can certainly detract focus from the relationship. Situational distractions are inevitable, but letting distractions, and the distance that follows, get out of hand is a dangerous pattern that gets in the way of valuing your partner.

 

What to do: Schedule couple time.

Date night, Skype dates, weekend getaways—whatever you choose is irrelevant. The most important part is that you choose something. Be intentional. The 9-5 autopilot lifestyle can easily suppress passion and spontaneity. The busier you are, the more important it will be for you make room for quality time.

 

350 dates in one year….what not to do on your next date!

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An interesting piece of feedback I hear from a lot of men and women who juggle working with a professional matchmaker, and dating apps, is how often their respective dates almost brag about how many people they date. This is a major “no no” when it comes to dating 101.

A friend I had a conversation with the other day mentioned that one man she is interested in, told her last year alone, he had over 350 dates with women. She chalked it up to being a Silicon Valley “data driven” type but the truth is, it’s not only daunting to imagine but a turn-off. 350 women! Who on earth has time for that unless unemployed and loving the hamster wheel lifestyle, yet with no real purpose or intention to settle down with one person?

My advice is not to talk about how much you have been dating recently. I think part of the psychology behind what fuels someone to mention all the dates they go on and people they meet is to showcase how desirable one is to the opposite sex. As in, the more I mention to him all the men that are emailing me for dates, the more he will think I am attractive.

The reality is, most of the time, if you share these conquests of sorts, you will appear as though you are not serious about finding a relationship. Instead, you’re in what I call “play mode” and not “serious mode.” There’s no denying play mode is awesome but be supremely careful with the information that comes out of your mouth and the image you project on dates. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to play the game right.

My advice is to focus on the man or woman who is sitting across from you on your date and show genuine interest in them. Be present, intentional, and motivated to find the right match with the “perfect” chemistry that works for you. If your date pokes around to see if you are actively dating and appears curious to hear stories, simply “don’t go there.” No need to lie or fabricate the truth but you can delicately switch topics with grace and dignity, while focusing on your date and not entering the slippery slope that is “TMI.”

Handsome Harvard educated Bay Area Bachelor seeks Outdoorsy Animal Loving Match to Embrace Life with Together

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Our client is a handsome Caucasian male who’s 43-years old, 5’10”, with a nice athletic build. He keeps fit from regular hiking, mountain biking, weight training and bits of yoga. Wellness is very important to him. Originally from Connecticut, he’s very much at home here in California.

He’s undeniably intelligent, Harvard educated and successful, but also down-to-earth, approachable, and loves to have fun and laugh – especially playful sarcastic banter.

He’s had an eclectic career spanning a number of industries and roles. Most recently though, he realized his true passion is helping people get healthy and has spent the last few years in leadership roles at healthy food companies.

You can just as easily find him leading a company, spending time with friends and family, or going on outdoor adventures with his five and a half year old vizsla.

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Our clients vizsla….adorable!

Our candidate is an empathetic, compassionate, direct communicator, in touch with his emotional side and unafraid to communicate it in caring ways. He’s definitely a bit of romantic and gives his whole self when in a relationship. He loves to travel and has been to at least 50 different countries, with dozens more on his wish list.

Favorite places so far: The night sky in the Maldives, the top of Mt. Whitney, Yarra Yering winery north of Melbourne, Borobudur Temple, the Whitsunday Islands, the wine in Saint-Emilion, his couch and a good Netflix series.

He approaches all aspects of life with creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, and doesn’t believe there are problems that can’t be solved. He believes you should always treat people fairly and equally, regardless of background. You can be absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, but if, for example, you treat service people as second-class citizens, he can’t be with you.

He would love to build a family and believes raising children will be the most important thing he’ll ever do – creating wonderful human beings and teaching them to go out and help change the world for the better. He learned that from his parents and wants to do the same for his children. Most importantly, our candidate is inherently happy and likes being around other happy, uplifting people.

His best suited match is between the ages of 28-40 years old. At her core she is highly compassionate, caring, and a giving soul. O. Henry’s book, “The Gift of the Magi” is a great example of the type of relationship our client strives for. Where two people give more to each other than take from one another.

As our client is into health, fitness, and overall wellness, it’s important that his match share a love of balance and healthy living too. In terms of physical appearance, she’s fit, naturally attractive, and isn’t greatly influenced by “keeping up with the Joneses”. She’s comfortable in her own skin, isn’t driven by money, highly altruistic, and looks forward to love deeply and to be deeply loved in return.

If you or anyone you know might make a great match for our handsome Bay Area bachelor, please email Amy at: amy@linxdating.com

Harsh Truths: 6 Reasons Why Your Relationship Fell Apart

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Relationships end for a variety of reasons—some we can control, others we cannot. Before your next relationship, consider asking yourself if any of these issues are sabotaging your efforts at finding a deep, committed relationship.

 

  1. Your ex is STILL coming up

We all have a past, but when the past becomes the fodder of our present, you are creating a rift between you and your partner’s ability to connect. Talk of past relationships not only reveals that you’re not moving forward, it also jeopardizes your chances of a future. If you find yourself beginning sentences with “My ex and I…” or “When I dated X…” consider taking some time away from dating to understand why you’re still telling these stories.

 

  1. You couldn’t trust

It’s no surprise that trust is the crux of all healthy relationships; without the bond of trust, a couple will miss an opportunity to experience true intimacy. Aside from cheating, trust issues can also indicate jealousy, game playing, and possessiveness.

 

If relationships have ended because you couldn’t trust, ask yourself if it was because of actual events (i.e. your partner lied to you, broke promises, hacked into your phone) or if you are feeling unable to trust without cause (i.e. you feel jealous even though your partner has never strayed). Being able to differentiate feelings that stem from actual events versus unsubstantiated paranoia will help you uncover barriers to intimacy.

 

  1. You were Mr./Mrs. Right Now, not Mr./Mrs. Right

The relationship is guaranteed to fail if you find yourself on either side of this equation. Not all relationships are built to last—and that doesn’t make them any less important to our growth—but if you are looking for a life partner, meeting someone who is open to the same is crucial for long-term success.

 

If you are with someone until you land your dream job, move, lose weight, or meet someone better, you are wasting your time and your partner’s time. If your partner is not your priority, you aren’t ready for an enduring long-term relationship. If you’re wondering if you’re the top priority—you’re not.

 

  1. You harbor contempt

Dr. John Gottman, a leading expert on couples’ studies, concluded that the single, best predictor of divorce is contempt. Contempt, a toxic combo of anger, disgust and frustration, stems from a superiority complex. When we are unable to see our partner’s point of view because we believe they are less intelligent, sensitive, or competent than we are, we are making it impossible to communicate about the things that bother us.

 

In addition to contempt, there were three other closely related patterns of toxic communication: criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling (shutting down, no eye contact, etc.)

  1. You were emotionally dependent

If you are unable to make yourself happy, you will always seek someone who can distract you from the uncomfortable feelings you have towards yourself. Not only is it unfair to expect your partner to keep you afloat, it’s dangerous to allow someone else to hold the keys to your happiness. Codependent people usually don’t keep high standards when it comes to how others treat them, so it’s more likely that they end up with a partner who doesn’t treat them well. There are many ways to heal from codependency, but they all start with a belief that you—and you alone—can make yourself happy.

 

  1. You stopped appreciating your partner

A lack of appreciation comes in many forms. Perhaps you’ve stopped making an effort—to make fun plans, to keep up your appearance, to remind your partner how special they are. Taking someone for granted is a quick way to kill the romance and up the apathy.

 

When someone is asking what is best for “us”, compromise ensues. If you stop appreciating your partner’s efforts, it’s easy to stop asking “What is best for us?” and replacing it with “What is best for me?”

 

Of course not all reasons our relationships end are because we are at fault. Without the right timing, otherwise compatible people won’t be able to connect for reasons outside of their control. Age, seemingly just a number, will start to matter if he’s 28 finishing grad school and she’s 34 looking forward to starting a family. Life situations can also affect our chances of connection. If he’s ready to move things forward while she’s healing post divorce, the couple will not be able to connect on the same level. Situations can change, broken hearts can heal, and different phases can pass, but if the timing is going to be ‘off’ for more than a few months, it is better to make a clean break and revisit at another time.

 

Does He Think You’re the One? 7 Signs that Point to Yes

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You meet and there’s chemistry. Real chemistry. You are starting to fall hard, but ghosts from relationships—and flings—of the past prompt you to ask: “Is this serious infatuation or could this be real?”

 

Instead of spending energy trying to figure out what he means, look for behaviors that reveal investment. If these signs apply to your current relationship, chances are he thinks you’re the one or, at the very least, a serious contender.

 

  1. He wants everyone to meet you.

He’s excited to incorporate you into his world, and that starts with meeting the main characters. You are meeting friends, family, coworkers and anyone else who knows your partner well. You’ll notice that many of them have been looking forward to meeting you. If he’s aiming to build a life together, he wants start building memories with the people who matter most. He feels proud to stand next to you and he wants his social circle to see what a wonderful person you are!

 

  1. He talks future plans—especially holidays.

Any nod to future plans is a good sign, but if it’s summer and he’s already discussing Christmas logistics, he’s smitten. Holidays give people two major excuses to be apart—family and extensive travel. If he’s ignoring the implications of both to include you, he values your time, your company, and the long term potential of your relationship.

 

  1. He handles your down moments.

This sign goes beyond his willingness to to see you in all of your forms—this sign is about YOU. Are you able to fall apart in front of this person and know that his opinion of you won’t change? If so, he’s giving you a gift that is beyond weathering occasional storms; he’s showing you that he offers unconditional support—a strong indicator that he’s in it for the long haul.

 

  1. He says “we”

When his decision evolves from “best for me” to “best for us”, he is subconsciously showing that you are part of bigger plans that extend beyond the present. In this case, “we” is more than just a pronoun, it’s his way of saying “you are a part of me.” As the relationship progresses, you’ll notice that questions directed to him are answered with “we”, because in his mind, most of the plans include you. We means he is “facing forward” into the future and seeing both of you as a unit.

 

  1. He wants to learn you.

He’s not only curious about what makes you tick, he’s interested in showing you that he’s absorbing the information. So, you love coffee. Does he know a coffee run is in order before Sunday’s errands? If you can’t join the coffee run, does your coffee come back with the right ratio of milk and sugar? Although seemingly small, these gestures speak volumes about his desire to learn you and your routines. At the end of the day, he wants to make you happy.

 

  1. He lets you in.

Emotional intimacy starts with vulnerability, and he’s willing to get vulnerable with you. Since some men struggle with expressing their feelings, the emphasis is on his willingness. If you ask the hard questions, he will work with you on answering them—even if that means visiting a counselor or therapist. Emotional bonds are much harder to break than their physical counterparts. If he’s serious about growing with you, you’ll be strengthening both types of attachment.

 

  1. You never wonder if he thinks you’re the most interesting person in the room.

In a crowded room, he always seems to be aware of how you’re doing; you have an ability to sense each other. Maybe it’s the way he encourages you to share your personality. Maybe it’s the way he knows what you’re thinking without any words at all. Whatever it is, you know you’re with someone who reads you and enjoys the story you tell.

 

If you’re dating someone and he hasn’t started to exhibit any of these “signs”,  give him a chance and don’t give up too soon. Everyone arrives to the dating game with their own history, set of experiences and expectations. It’s impossible to know what’s going on in his head but by giving him some time, you can closely watch his behavior and see if he’s the man for you or you’re meant to be moving on.

You can always email our founder Amy at: amy@linxdating.com and ask her dating advice in a confidential manner.

Happy Spring, happy dating….XO