Silicon Valley expert

Putting the CON in Confidence… Part I

I love my coffee

When Amy and I are asked to name the one quality that women find most attractive in a man, the answer is easy: CONFIDENCE. We hear it every day, and while it’s true that some guys can seem a little bit too confident, confidence is a lot like money; it’s hard to tell when you have too much of it, but it’s very, very obvious when you don’t have enough.

Confidence is absolutely essential for converting a first date into something more, and eventually ending up in a relationship; after all, if you don’t believe that a particular woman should be interested in dating you, then why should she be? And how are you ever going to convince her that you’re the right guy if you can’t even convince yourself? Given that we aren’t all 6’5” with a cleft chin, a full head of hair, and huge biceps, it can be easy to doubt yourself or be anxious on a first date. Thankfully, a little bit of confidence is something a guy can fake pretty easily (Do you hear that, ladies? You aren’t the only ones who can fake things.). And for a guy who’s low on self-esteem, even faking just a little bit of confidence can go a long way.

1. Before you pick up the phone, have a plan.

Under no circumstances should you ever call a woman for a first date and say “What would you like to do?” As a man who has spent most of his life dealing with “complicated” women, I can tell you that this is a huge mistake. To get the upper hand (and earn some respect at the very beginning of your relationship) only present her with a series of Yes or No questions. And do them in order of Day, Time, Place, and Transportation. For example:

“Are you Free on Saturday?” No? “How about Sunday?” No? “Can you be free for dinner on Friday?” Once you get a yes, IMMEDIATELY move on to times. “Does 6:30 work for you?” No? “How is 7:30?” No? “Great, I’ll make a reservation for 8pm.” Then move on to “Do you like Indian?” or “I was thinking of this Burmese place” or “I thought we could go to a bistro I like in Saratoga.” Be sure to have three or four different options picked out in advance, and once you get a Yes, MOVE ON. “May I pick you up?” No? “I’ll see you there. I’m looking forward to it. Feel free to text me if anything changes.” And then HANG UP THE PHONE.

Do not ask “What times works for you?” DO NOT do that. If you do, she will likely spend several minutes telling you why all of the other times do not work. You will feel beaten by this. You will be tired. We do not want that. And do not ask “What kind of food do you like?” Do not do that. Because most women will tell you what they don’t like instead of what they do. Even if she started with something like “I love Thai” you will end up hearing a story about food poisoning or a bad date or a cockroach that she encountered at a Vietnamese place with bad lighting on the outskirts of Boston that she mistakenly frequented during her first year of grad school. Ten years ago. And you will forget where you are in the entire date planning process. See? You probably forgot where we were in this lesson, and I only distracted you from the path for just one sentence.

It is really key that you do not open any windows into her past in this initial phone call. Remember that this woman is interested in dating a gentleman – and you might be that gentleman – so take a firm hold of the conversation, and make sure that you only open the door that leads to her future.

If you’re new to the area (or new to dating) or really want to make a great impression, Amy and I will happily give you recommendations if you ask. And we can certainly make you aware of any dietary restrictions or allergies you should consider. Make a checklist if you need to, but go into the call with clear goals and objectives, namely a day and time that work for you, a place you want to eat, and clarity on how she’ll get there. You’ll be off to a good start. And believe it or not, she’ll be glad you took the lead.

Next time, more tips on how to fake it… for when you’re actually on the date.

The Great Love Debate

The-Great-Love-Debate-2014-Tour
Hello Linx Line Lovers!

Team Linx has been invited to participate as panelists and local experts on the San Jose stop of The Great Love Debate, a national tour discussing societal shifts in courtship, the dynamics of sexual politics, and the future of romance in a lively and spirited discussion titled “Why is Everyone Still Single?”

100 Silicon Valley bachelors and 100 local single ladies will come at us (and each other) with questions about dating, mating, and more in this Town Hall-style event on Friday, June 27th at 8:00pm at the Tabard Theatre in downtown San Jose.

The tour has been described as “groundbreaking,” “brilliant,” and “hilarious,” and we would love for you to be part of it!

The producers in parnership with Match.com have provided Linx with a special code of “LINX10” which is good for a $10 discount on admission. The event is expected to sell out quickly, and each ticket includes admission to the post-show “Meet, Greet, Mix, Mingle, & Match” party, where you’ll have the chance to get to know all of the other attendees as well as the panelists. With 200 eligible singles and 6 relationship experts all in the same room, we can almost guarantee that lightning will strike. You definitely do not want to miss out on this incredibly entertaining (and promise-filled) evening!

Tickets may be purchased here (don’t forget LINX10 for your discount at checkout)

More information about the tour is provided here

And check it out on Facebook to see who else might be going, and to get a head start on the debate. 1395855019000-great-love-debate

We hope you decide to be part of the fun, and would love to see you there in person!

XO,

Amy & Michael

8 Outdoor Dates for June in the Bay Area

Even San Francisco fog can’t fully disguise the extended daylight hours of the next several weeks, so do yourself a favor and get outside for a date or two as Summer displaces Spring. From a Japantown food tour to ultimate Frisbee to a nighttime walkabout through important parts of SF history, the month of June promises to let the intrepid among us sample a little bit of everything.iStock_000026905060Small

Two Valleys for the Price of One…

Daily during the summer – If you want to cross Yosemite off of your bucket list but don’t like to drive, hop on a tour bus that takes you from San Francisco all the way to Yosemite Valley and back, with a stop in the agriculturally vital Central Valley along the way. Be sure to take your camera. And sunscreen. And bug spray.

East Meets West…

June 6-8th – Head to AT&T Park this coming weekend to see the SF Giants take on the NY Mets. If watching the national pastime in a stadium with ocean views isn’t enough for you, Saturday tickets include free Sergio Romo Superhero Socks, and Sunday tickets entitle you to your very own Hello Kitty Giants Plush. Peanuts and Cracker Jacks are available for purchase.

Ready Oar Not…

June 9-13th, Daily – See how well your date can bond with your fur-covered best friend as all of you set out on a Russian River paddle-canoe raft! Canine (and human, of course) children are welcome on these relaxed and refreshing outdoor adventures where you can see if your pet really knows how to doggy paddle.

Tune in, Tokyo…

June 13th — If you like your seafood raw and your furniture small and colorful, this Japantown walking tour of outstanding eateries might be just right for you. Stops change regularly, but the focus is neighborly rather than culinary, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself in DOSA Fillmore or Crown & Crumpet. Sushi aside, it might help to know exactly how you like to take your tea.

Who You Gonna Call…?

June 14th – If you manage to survive Friday the 13th, step out the next night for a viewing of Ghostbusters with thousands of other SF locals. There’s no better excuse for spooning in public than watching an outdoor movie at night, but you might want to bring a couple of blankets and pack a picnic as well; just breathing the air in Dolores Park has been known to conjure all sorts of appetites.

A Little Bit of History Repeating…

June 18th – If you’ve ever been curious about the seedier side of San Francisco’s history, try a walking tour of the old Barbary Coast. A local crime expert and noted historian will guide you out of the present and into the past as you visit the birthplace of the gold rush, explore the sites of some notorious brothels, and (probably) find out how the City by the Bay came to be famous for booms, busts, and bourbon-based cocktails.

Join a Biker Gang…

June 20-22nd – Arrange a double date or invite some friends to meet the minimum requirement of four riders in order to form a personal peleton for crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on motorized bicycles. Cruise into foggy Sausalito for lunch, and then take the ferry back to urbanity. No one needs to know you had a little help maintaining your cruising speed; just tell your friends that the entire experience was… electric.

Duck, Duck… Oops!

June 28th – Revisit your college days (and try to avoid getting hit) as you watch perfectly nice guys with great educations chase flying saucers across a grassy field by taking in a game of Professional Ultimate Disc! The SF FlameThrowers are a franchise team in this fledging sport, and – just like in college – these guys are still trying very hard to get attention.

A Note to The Guys (from the new guy at the office)

Blog written by: Linx staff member, Michael Norman

For those of you who don’t know, there has actually been a guy hanging out at the Linx offices for the past few months (and that guy happens to be me). For most of the members I’ve met, I seem to be a very welcome addition; as a gay man, I know how men think, and I know what women find attractive. And as a Stanford graduate(twice over, with engineering degrees, no less) who has heteronormative values, I know how difficult it is to be a single person with high standards who is hoping to find someone passionate, compassionate, and compatible who is willing to put in the work required to nurture the kind of relationship that leads to lasting love. beautiful girl looking out the balcony of a farmhouse

Unlike a lot of gay men I know, I also grew up with (and still have) very close straight male friends, so I really do understand what straight guys find sexy. And that’s why I have to tell you that Amy and I spent last Wednesday interviewing six incredibly different women (ages 24-50), who all really had their act together, and were all – consistently but uniquely – very hot.

In no particular order, we had:

-A petite 50-year-old brunette with a voice for radio but a face for film. A Bay area native, she now spends her time helping people focus their energies on positive outcomes, improved health, and personal growth, and she’s looking to focus her own energy on building a future with one great guy. If you like beautiful women with tight bodies, sultry voices, very little baggage, and a great sense of style, you might want to ask Amy for an introduction.

-A tall 24-year-old blonde with great legs and a surprising maturity. Some people really do have old souls, but hers was certainly still young at heart. She’s not looking to settle, but she would like to settle down, and if you think sweet, 5’9”, fit and easy-going is out of your league, then you should have seen the way that her face lit up when we asked how she’d feel about dating a thirty-something geek. Match_Feb_2010_Anna

-An extremely polished 39-year-old mother of three with a gorgeous foreign accent and dangerous curves. Professionally, she is at the top of her game, but she still needs someone to help her celebrate life’s victories. For her, being sexy is about being emotionally aware and present; she doesn’t need your money, but she might like a piece of your heart. In case you’re wondering, this standout blonde has no height requirement, and thinks true love is colorblind.

-A smart and sensual 35-year-old chef and author with an Ivy League education who is deeply curious about the motivations of people, the roots of cultures, and the ties that bind us all together. She had long brown hair, a natural femininity that was complemented by a love of the outdoors, and some considerable… assets. She needs a smart and sensual man with a playful sense of humor who will happily eat her food; granola has never looked so delicious.Sasha_Match_Running

-A 27-year-old blonde with Colorado roots but a touch of Southern charm who is as mature as she is feminine. California seems to suit her well, and the ideal suitor for this avid tennis player and occasional marathoner with the face of a one-time supermodel is tall, dark, and handsome, with a good heart, great character, and conservative values that mirror her own. If you don’t already go to church, she’ll gladly take you; she’d be a very good reason to give thanks.

-A stunning 31-year-old scientist with green eyes, a smattering of freckles, and light brown hair whose recent move to the Bay area must have left a void of hotness in at least one part of LA. Tall, shapely, smart, and grounded, this woman was genuinely down to earth, and she’s an exceptional catch for any masculine but emotionally open guy who can appreciate the texture of her blue collar roots and ivory tower education. Secure and confident, she doesn’t need a man to be happy, but we suspect that the one with whom she falls in love will be one very happy (and lucky) guy.

Don’t forget that there are truly thousands of women in the Linx database, so don’t fret if you didn’t find yourself drooling over one of these. In fact, these were just the women that we met in ONE DAY and the office. In just ONE day.

Amy and I conduct interviews all the time, and we are flattered, amazed, and excited by the quality of the people we regularly see at Linx. As the days get longer and the weather continues to heat up, we expect to see more and more exceptional men and women come through the door. For those of you who read the blog but have never actually walked through the door, I have one simple question for you: If we know hundreds of women like these at Linx, what, exactly, have you been waiting for? young man in grass

We encourage you to reach out to Amy today to learn more about how Linx can match you to the girl of your dreams. These women want to meet you! Most all of these women we interviewed (per the description above) are NOT ONLINE as they are private and place their trust in Linx Dating to match them to good, genuine guys. We are your conduit to a new pool of carefully vetted single women in the Bay Area and beyond. Why wait? Email amy@linxdating.com

Five Great Ways to Feed a (Spring) Fever…

Blog written by: Linx staff member, Michael Norman

Winter didn’t spend much time in the Bay Area this year, which means that Spring Fever has set in early, and with a vengeance. With summer wedding season ahead and spring BBQs and baseball games just around the corner, we have our hands full at Linx with eligible singles looking for their own “plus one” to attend all of life’s big (and small) events. At Linx, we believe that setting the tone for a good first date is one of the most important steps in developing a great relationship. Along with being open, positive, and confident when meeting someone for the first time, it can also be useful to step outside of your comfort zone, even if just a little bit.

We all have the tendency to want to impress others with things we already know and places we’ve already been, but diving into a new experience together can be very rewarding… and revealing. Not only does it put the two of you on equal footing, but it also removes the need to worry about how he or she responds to your favorite places and favorite foods. Building a relationship is about finding things that work for both of you, not just trying to fit another person into the already-existing patterns of your life. So for your next first date, try a new neighborhood, a new restaurant, a new cuisine… or get really crazy and try all three!

To give you some ideas, here are five great places in five different peninsula towns where you can get Linxed with good food and great company!

Iberia, Menlo Park
Step out of the Bay Area and into Barcelona with a trip to Iberia in Menlo Park. We recommend the coziness of the bar, where the tall and intimate booths make it easy to focus on getting to know your date. No matter what sort of mood you’re in, the extensive tapas menu is almost guaranteed to have something that suits your appetite. Amy loves sending people into the bar area near the fireplace to sit in the comfy club chairs and get into relaxation mode with a pitcher of Iberia’s delicious sangria and bite-size tapas.

Iberia also offers some fabulous sounding Spring cooking classes such as learning how to make paella while enjoying tapas, sangria, cooking, eating, and lively discussions with your fellow students. These classes really sound great! Sign up…educate yourself, break away from the daily grind, and mingle with the attendees. You just never know who you’ll meet while cooking hands-on and embracing everything about Andalucia Spanish cuisine (Andalucia is the southernmost region of Spain and where Iberia Chef Jose Luis was born.)

1026 Alma St, Menlo Park, CA 94025 Tel. (650) 325-8981sangria-and-tapas-1

La Bodeguita del Medio, Palo Alto
Take a break from University and visit California Avenue to spice up your dining options in Palo Alto. While new establishments are popping up all over the place on this street, La Bodeguita has been a mainstay for many years, serving Cuban inspired cuisine since 1997. It may also be the only restaurant in town that actually encourages you to finish off your evening with a cigar.

463 S. California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306 Tel. (650) 326-7762 home_image2


Los Altos Grill
, Los Altos
You may be a little bit shocked the first time you walk into this suburban staple; it’s all log cabin from the outside, but the inside includes live music, an even livelier bar scene, and a 30+ crowd that’s typically dressed for a good time. The raised seating and spacious booths make it easy to focus on your date, but the crowd will give the two of you plenty to talk about.

We recommend kicking the night off with their delicious “dip duo” which is a great appetizer for two (a generous scoop of guacamole, side of cheese dip with pimentos sandwiched between warm torilla chips), the macho salad (warm roasted chicken mixed with goat cheese, homemade cornbread croutons, dates, avocado, with a tangy vinaigrette) and “the best” homemade Oreo cookie ice cream dessert- frankly the banana pie is amazing- ok everything is really good. Hungry yet? 😉 For those who don’t have a date- no worries at Los Altos Grill. This place is packed with an attractive set of eligible men and women eating and drinking solo at the bar. Find a bar stool and wedge yourself into a hoppin’ and friendly bar scene.

233 Third St, Los Altos, CA 94022 Tel. (650) 948-3524losaltosgrill

Rangoon Ruby, San Carlos
You may already be familiar with their Palo Alto location, but get adventurous and take a drive to San Carlos for a night of Burmese food at Rangoon Ruby. If you haven’t been, downtown San Carlos is a delightful surprise on spring and summer evenings, with plenty of restaurants offering seating on the extra wide sidewalks, and a Thursday night farmers’ market that holds its own on the local scene.

680 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA 94070 Tel. (650) 592-1852628x471 Palata appetizer at Rangoon Ruby

Vesta, Redwood City
Redwood City continues to develop as a destination for good restaurants and solid ambiance, and remains the only local downtown to support a (national) movie theater chain. With sleek decor, a healthy wine list, and a collection of small plates and inventive wood-fired pizzas, it’s a great place to raise a toast and break the ice on a first date.

2022 Broadway, Redwood City, CA 94063 Tel. (650) 362-5052vesta Handcrafted wood-fired Vesta pizza…delicious!

Date Coaching Testimonial

We recently had the pleasure of doing a third coaching session with a fantastic 30-something female in Silicon Valley. She bravely contacted me last summer and we have been working together to get her ready for the dating world. In this last session we all had a sort of “a ha” moment because it was so obvious in this last interactive session she “gets” all of the techniques we’ve been preaching. Before we all had that revelation of sorts, our client had simply not “activated” that part of her mind on. She gets how to flirt. She understands how to attract a man. She is a great conversationalist. With around 7 total hours of coaching, that ember is ignited in her core being and she’s ready to tackle dating on her own. Like we encourage our students to do…we hope she’ll report back on how she’s doing in a few months. Here’s what she said about working with Linx…

“Amy is a true joy to work with – she is truly passionate about what she does and it shows! She is extremely knowledgeable and intuitive, which made it seem like she had known me for years when we first met. I contacted Amy due to my shyness and struggles with dating. My dating perspective began to turn towards viewing it as a fun process to get to know myself and what I as a person have to offer in addition to getting excited about making connections with other people. Working with Amy is an opportunity for personal growth, not just matchmaking, and I would highly recommend her to anyone from all walks of life!” – Anonymous

Announcing New Search | 35 Year Old Male | A Blend of East Coast, West Coast, blue collar, academic, and NPR host

We are excited to announce a new search for one of our clients. Here is his statement in a few words…

“I like to tell people I am just an average guy, but my life is pretty awesome. I have built a very successful career for myself in the Bay Area and while I love my job I have reached a place that I can let up on myself a bit. When I’m not working, I am not one of those guys who is into fire dancing or Faberge egg volleyball or some other obscure hobby. I’m usually cooking with/or for friends, studying either a foreign language or history, attempting to keep my self in a shape other than round, collecting too much art, and reading either the Economist and random non-fiction.

I also raise chickens for the eggs, and if that doesn’t work out I can get them to grow to 6 feet tall and pull me around in a chariot through the city. image Chickens in my backyard! foto What’chu lookin’ at? …I’m a chicken in my posh coop…city living at its best.

I can talk about almost anything and I have a broad set of interests outside of my field, and it would be nice to be with someone who shared similar qualities. People often comment that I do not have a mean bone in my body, and I tend to be rather generous. I would like to find a partner that could reciprocate in the same way.

I tend to get along with women who are more East Coast than West Coast, more introverted than extroverted, and have a certain dark/ironic sense of humor. I would like to be with someone who is an adult, in every sense of the word, and we would want to be equals in everything. And, well, I’m looking for something serious that would lead to a lifelong commitment and a family of our own. If you are a bit of an intellectual (I reached the pinnacle of nerd merit badges by completing my Ph.D. in EE) with an unfiltered mouth at times and have a heart of gold at the same time, I think we could be a good fit for one another!

I’m 35 years old, athletic/average build (about 180 pounds) and 5’11”. I love my life in San Francisco and prefer locals but am flexible on meeting a match who is anywhere in the Bay Area.

My ideal match would be between 28-35, height and weight proportionate and wildly intelligent.

I am ready to build a life and a family with the woman of my dreams, or at least not from one of those nightmares you have when you drink coffee too late in the evening. Let’s travel, cook, take in art, play, and be the best of friends…true partners in every sense of the word. Physically- you are keeping active and are sexy in your own way. Confidence always gets me…as do brunettes. image copy My trip to Venice, October 2013

Email Amy: amy@linxdating.com if you might make a match for me.”

Announcing Our Most Exciting Silicon Valley VIP Search Yet!

We are elated to announce our latest VIP search for a Silicon Valley based bachelor searching for his match. Our client is exceptional above and beyond – academically, physically and professionally. As we all know, timing is everything in life (especially when it comes to truly being ready for a serious relationship and marriage) and, for our client, this is ‘his time’ to find the love of his life! lazaro-bridal-tulle-ball-gown-pleated-silk-satin-organza-floral-jewel-natural-waist-circular-chapel-train-3108_zm

We will be hosting a series of confidential, in-person interviews for qualified candidates ongoing in 2014 (note this search started end of 2013 and is an on-going, high profile project.) If you contact us and qualify, you will be invited to meet the matchmaker, Amy Andersen, in the comfort of our private suite where you can learn more about the bachelor and we can determine if you might be the perfect girl for him. This process is 100% private – anything you share will remain strictly confidential – so there’s no risk in contacting us if you’re interested. Small_Red_Rose

Our VIP is a true Silicon Valley superstar! He is not only a very good looking guy standing 6’0″, a CEO, romantic, a world traveler, a loyal friend, extremely well educated, social, honest, a great communicator, and most importantly marriage minded. Like so many of our VIPs, he has the graduate degree, a fantastic career, is very confident (so sexy..right ladies?), and a long list of incredible hobbies and fascinating pursuits outside of his job. Our VIP has enlisted our services to help him find his dream girl… the one in a million, the needle in a haystack, the perfect match. Are you that girl? We are so excited and need your help! wedding046-1-ddb17f

Our VIP wrote a letter from his heart to the Linx blog readers hoping she might be reading it. If you are not eligible but you know a great girl who is eligible and searching for “the one” let us know. In fact, email founder/CEO amy ASAP to amy@linxdating.com. As mentioned earlier, we will be hosting a luxurious event conducting one-on-one casual screenings with qualifying candidates in November. NO FEES if you qualify.

VIP LETTER

I’m a Dreamer, a Doer, and a Serial Hugger

As a child, I loved building things and daydreaming. I distinctively remember one of these dreams I dreamt at twilight time during a family vacation on an island overlooking the Mediterranean. In that dream I remember juggling a big happy family and a thriving business. In that episode of the dream (just before my mom called me for dinner in the real world) I imagined celebrating a gorgeous summer day next to a lake with my future kids, my beautiful wife, our extended families, our best friends, and a handful of execs from my growing business. We celebrated life, love, human spirit, and doing-good. In that dream, my wife and I had just come back from an exciting trip to Africa and Asia, where we met fascinating people and helped bringing them valuable knowledge and resources. We were eager to share with our loved ones the fascinating stories from our trip about the wonderful people we met and helped.

I distinctively remember the smiles and laughs in that special celebration of giving and life. I also remember the joy I felt for bringing all the people I loved together to enjoy each other’s company, amazing stories, great music, delicious foods and lovely wines. The memory is so vivid that I can almost smell the beautiful flowers that decorated our reunion of family and friends. I’ve always liked making and enjoying art, and in my mind, every flower is a form of art that nature produces to celebrate beauty, giving, and the creation of life.

The art of creation has always been an important part of my life. I still remember the “Time-machine” I built when I was a child, which helped me daydream about my future. With my ragged desktop computer, using less computing power than I have in my current watch, I programed a simple app that helped me easily “assemble” exciting dreams about the future. Using this app I could instantaneously “jump” with my imagination to the all the countries in the world I always wanted to visit, to all the businesses I wanted to build, and to the happy family I wanted to nurture. The simple “database” I created included all the things I wanted to do and see and all the things I wanted to learn. With the logic I programmed into my Time-Machine, I was able to create fascinating imaginary life journeys that became the blueprints for my daydreams.

Weaving dreams was so much fun – it helped me create a vision for my future life as an adult. It was the best preparation for the adventurous, ambitious, and caring lifestyle I’ve adopted when I grew up. My Time-Machine helped me safely experiment, explore, and “experience” what a wide array of undertakings, challenges, and accomplishments would make me feel. I programmed my Time-Machine, and then it programmed me.

Once my Time-Machine worked, I was thrilled to share it with the many good friends I had growing up. I loved their feedback and ideas, and even more so, I loved how they used the Time-Machine I built to weave their own dreams, and sometime even combine them with mine. Dreaming together with friends and translating these dream to fun adventures we’ve gone through together, shaped who I am today in both my personal and professional life.

A few months ago, after a long run along the coastline in Rancho Palos Verdes, when I tried to imagine what my ideal wife and family would look and feel like, the sweet memory of my good old Time-Machine came up. With a big smile on my face, I decided to visit to my parents to try and find it, so I can take another exciting walk on memory lane. When I discovered that my parents donated my old computer and disks, which hosted my Time Machine, I was pretty disappointed. However, pretty quickly, that state of mind gave way to feeling great. In my heart, I knew that there’s a good likelihood that there’s at least one child out there, who now has access to my Time-Machine, and that it can give him or her an opportunity to dream big dreams. I was very hopeful that this child was adventurous enough to embark on imaginary daydreams too, and that she or he was foolish enough to make these dreams come true!

While browsing my childhood photos in an old album at my parents’ house, it became clear to me that the Time-Machines that my own children will build would be so much better than the one that I build as a child… And it must be so much better because my children will have not only the genes that made me a dreamer, a builder and a serial hugger, but also the genes of an incredible partner, lover and best friend – my soon to be wife!

About my Soon-to-be Wife (i.e., the Love of my Life):

So… fast forwarding back to the present, when I’m fortunate enough to have already had many of my dreams come true, it’s time to daydream again (this time without my Time Machine) to imagine who would be my dream wife? Well… the Love of my Life is one of a kind. She’s the most affectionate, loving and caring person in the world. One can feel her positive energy when she enters a room – she’s one of these “angles” who everyone deeply adores. She’s always honest, unconditionally loyal, romantic, and a bit of a dreamer herself. She’s adventurous, beautiful and full of life.

My future wife is very genuine and comfortable in her own skin. Everyone admires her because she makes them feel good about themselves when she’s around. She’s loved her family and has many real friends whom she keeps in close touch with, and she’s always there for people she loves. She’s great with children, has the sweetest heart for all beings, and she almost always smiles. She’s also very intelligent, wise and thoughtful, but very humble about it. In her work, and in her personal life, she’s responsible, diligent and proactive, but balances these with a genuine understanding that everyone is human, and a natural sense of humor that everyone loves. vip-shield

Are you a match?

Age:
24-32 years old

Physical appearance:

Caucasian, Mixed heritage, or European heritage
Taller the better! 5’7” is a fantastic height (5’4” minimum)
Slender/athletic/feminine and keeping in great shape
Natural beauty and beautiful eyes are the key to the soul
Keeps a healthy diet more than a diet rich in fatty foods. Balance is key!

Personality:
Above all else, you are a caring, compassionate, and a kind person.
You are positive, happy, and you do the right thing in life. You like life!
You were raised well and perhaps look to your parents as role models.

Occupation/Education:
You are responsible, independent, and educated. In terms of the industry you work in, it doesn’t matter but what does matter is that you have time to get to know our VIP bachelor and are not 100% tied to work. In other words, you honestly can say you have balance in your life.
Smart is sexy for our client so the more educated, the better.

Personal Goals:
You are positioned for a deep, unequivocal love and can confidently state you are ready for marriage and what that entails.
You can picture being married, having 2 + children, and living in the Bay Area (our client runs a successful business here and has large ties to Silicon Valley and plans to stay here).

Lifestyle:
You are unattached and are not in a current committed relationship. In other words, we ask that you NOT move forward with our process if you are dating someone seriously that has a substantial probability of progressing into an exclusive relationship. This can lead to a waste of everyone’s time.
You enjoy meeting new people, would be considered social, and would welcome new friends into your life (our client is social and would want you to be included in his full and thriving life.)

Fascinating Academic Insights into the Matchmaking Industry

A few months ago I was contacted by a professor of sociology at St. Thomas More College University of Saskatchewan to participate in a study on matchmaking in North America. We spoke for around an hour by phone and after she completed her research, she sent me the research document filled with incredibly interesting discoveries about matchmaking. 535451_10150747499285804_895856513_n

Interviews lasted 52 minutes on average, and were conducted between March and May 2013. Participation in the research project was voluntary and entirely confidential, and the project obtained research ethics approval from the University of Saskatchewan’s Research Ethics Board. The final sample discussed here consists of conversations with 20 matchmakers representing 19 different companies (the one instance of matchmakers from the same company involves 2 matchmakers at different company branches in 2 distinct regions of the country).

This professor presented to a group of national and international colleagues in June and in a recent email to me said, “I was surprised to discover that many sociologists who study relationships and dating have little awareness of matchmaking’s place in the dating industry, and of why clients tend to seek out a matchmaker.”

This project’s main aims are to improve social scientists’ understandings of the North American matchmaking industry by interviewing matchmaking professionals and gaining insight into 1) why North Americans are turning to offline, personalized matchmaking services to assist with serious dating/couple formation, 2) the extent to which use of matchmaking services is connected to geographic and time constraints in clients’ lives, and 3) identifying other major motivations, choices and constraints involved in clients’ decision to work with a matchmaker.

I have extracted some of the findings for this blog yet did not include the entire publication. The publication is titled: MATCHMAKING IN NORTH AMERICA: An emerging option for couple formation

Findings:

The sample consists of 11 Canadian-based and 9 American-based matchmakers, for a total of 20 matchmakers. While 6 of the matchmakers say they frequently work with clientele or seek matches for clientele beyond the country in which they are based, most carry out the majority of their work and source matches for their clients within the country where their company is headquartered Sixteen of the matchmakers are the founder/co-founder and/or CEO of their company, while 4 are COO and/or senior matchmaker. The matchmakers have worked an average of 7.3 years in paid matchmaking work, and 18 report that matchmaking is their sole or primary job. (Some matchmakers noted that they had engaged in unpaid matchmaking work prior to working as paid matchmakers, but since this work was largely sporadic and casual, it is not included in the average years of experience.)

Matchmakers’ educational backgrounds, from most common to least common field, are 1) social sciences and social work, 2) business, finance and management, 3) arts (general), 4) hospitality and tourism, 5) law and education (tied). In terms of major field of employment prior to paid matchmaking, participants mentioned (from most to least common) 1) sales, financial services and client services (including sales at online dating agencies), 2) hospitality and the cultural sector, 3) management and headhunting/corporate recruitment, 4) social work.

When asked how and why they have chosen to work as matchmakers, participants spoke to a combination of factors that influenced their career choice. Consistently, matchmakers mentioned how their awareness of having the right skills or aptitude for the work influenced their decision to become paid matchmakers. They highlighted either excellent people skills (in particular, being highly intuitive or gifted at reading personalities and sensing others’ needs, and relating easily to people from a variety of backgrounds) or a combination of people skills and business acumen (namely knowing how to attract desired clientele and market their services effectively) as core components of their skills and aptitudes. In addition, several matchmakers mentioned that their extroversion is an asset, and that they feel energized by their interactions with others. The matchmakers’ core skills and aptitudes were most often recognized and praised by others (friends, family, former colleagues, mentors) prior to individuals making the transition into matchmaking work; in a few instances, successful attempts at casual matchmaking with friends and family members fueled individuals’ desire to take up matchmaking professionally.

The skills and aptitudes noted above, however, were necessary but not sufficient causes for individuals to pursue work as paid matchmakers. All matchmakers also noted awareness of a business niche to be filled in their geographic area— either no other matchmakers worked in their focal geographic area, nobody in their geographic area focused on the target demographic they had in mind, or nobody in their geographic area used the particular matchmaking approach or method that they intended to use.

In the study, several matchmakers emphasized that being self-employed and/or having a flexible schedule added to matchmaking’s appeal, and 5 matchmakers spoke in detail about how their decision to work as a matchmaker came after (or as part of) a major—and often jarring—life transition that pushed them to reevaluate their personal and professional goals. For these matchmakers in particular, but for several others as well, there is a clear empathic dimension that they bring to their work with clients.

Seven matchmakers spoke openly about having “been there” in the same dating trenches as their clients, and could attest to the challenges and disappointments of dating, particularly in mid-life with diminished opportunities and venues for finding a long-term partner. Read this feature on Linx in Fortune to hear about my having been there ‘in the trenches’ just like so many readers here. I get it! Young beautiful girl in love

Along with demonstrating empathy for clients’ situations, most matchmakers also emphasized, but usually spoke positively about, the significant emotional labor involved in matchmaking. They stressed that matchmaking is “not easy money” for the emotional investment it demands, involves “intensive coaching,” “a lot of hand holding” and “being like a sister or cheerleader” who will offer reassurance and support through a process that often leaves clients feeling vulnerable. That said, most emphasized that they find their work immensely rewarding and feel that the satisfaction of creating lasting matches offsets any emotionally draining aspects of the work. Two matchmakers said that they have been “yelled at many times” by clients, and attribute these incidents to clients’ unrealistic expectations (this theme is explored in greater detail below in the Major themes and trends section). These matchmakers went on to explain that matchmaking requires a thick skin, and that matchmakers must actively coach clients in setting reasonable expectations.

I couldn’t agree more with the paragraph above. This work is NOT for anyone who is susceptible to becoming overly emotionally over their work. I’ve remained a systematic Silicon Valley machine for over a decade now as I keep incredibly focused on my business. I am a tightly scheduled, master of organization, and relentless in the pursuit of my clients happiness (often it means running on limited sleep and my friends being irked with my contestant hamster wheel work ethic approach-especially when I am so hard to schedule fun things with.)

I also have learned to have a thick skin due to the nature of this business. For instance, yesterday I got a scathing email from a passive member client because this particular person has not found love yet (granted this person has received many matches and I’ve been extremely judicious and professional along the journey.) A “Patti” would have YELLED back and told the client to go “F-yourself and Get Out Of My Club!” but I’m not like that- AT ALL. As clinical and calm as I had hoped to be, I was really affected by the nature of the email. It was just so out of the blue. When I had been this clients cheerleader…then all of a sudden what felt like poisonous arrows being thrown my way had totally engulfed me. A fact for everyone- I’m not Copperfield as much as I think that would be tremendously cool, I just don’t seem to have been given those talents to perform matchmaking “magic.” Thus, at the end of the day, I too, am human.

An interesting trend I have found in running Linx is that I am not surprised by the number of eager, bright-eyed folks who want to open their own matchmaking firm. Most of these people contact me wanting to “team up” and “create a strategic approach to merge networks” when they are in the infancy stage of their businesses. Sometimes I hear “at Harvard Business School” we learned that “you are supposed to create alliances as such.” Um, ok?!

I listen and hear what they have to say but in most cases, I have turned them away. I wish them success, luck, and know they will be swimming in a big ‘ol sea, probably feeling a lot of anxiety about how to even begin. Yet that feeling of anxiety can be channeled into good stress as it happens to be THE MOST exciting time as the seeds have been planted and the business starts to blossom. Once you begin something like this, it starts to multiply very quickly taking on complex new directions, a whole host of wild demands/requests. I hate saying this but the fact is most of these aspiring matchmakers sink and move onto a new career. They are unable to handle the pressure, have the sheer focus to get the business off the ground, maintain their professionalism, be ethical, establish a brand, grow a network, do a good job at the actual matchmaking and so on. iStock_000008297937XSmall

Back to the study…Major Themes and Trends from the study

1) The role of the Internet and Internet dating in clients’ work with matchmakers

Matchmakers estimate that an average of 2/3 of their clients have tried online dating before seeking out their services. Within this population, the majority have ceased dating online by the time they contact a matchmaker, and most have turned away from the method because of frustration and dissatisfaction. While 2 matchmakers said that they see Internet dating as a positive or worthwhile strategy alongside working with a matchmaker, the rest spoke to how it has negatively affected dating and/or daters’ mentalities by fostering a “kid in the candy store” mentality whereby daters are always searching for the “bigger, better deal” instead of focusing on getting to know the people they date. Several matchmakers noted that this attitude of trading up or treating dates as disposable had soured their clients’ attitudes toward online dating, and the majority said that they do not advocate Internet dating, whether as a stand-alone dating strategy or strategy alongside working with them. Matchmakers against online dating also noted that the strategy does not offer a worthwhile return on the dater’s time investment, particularly in the case of the high-earning professionals who make up the bulk of matchmakers’ clientele; further, it does not offer the discretion that matchmakers’ clients typically seek. Matchmakers also noted the tendency for dishonesty and misrepresentation among online daters, and said that their female clients, in particular, often turned to matchmaking as a way of avoiding the disappointment and frustration connected to daters’ misrepresentations (namely surrounding martial status, age, current physical appearance and financial/career stability).

While not directly connected to online dating, but also concerning the negative impact of new(er) technologies on dating and couple formation, 8 matchmakers spoke extensively about the negative effect that they see text messaging has had on dating and relationships. They explained that communication by texting is problematic insofar as it 1) is prone to causing greater misunderstandings, and therefore greater insecurities, in a couple (particularly in very early stages of dating); 2) is less polite than speaking over the phone or in person (again, particularly in the early stages of dating), and fails to convey respect or serious intent when a man uses text messaging to ask a woman out on a subsequent date; 3) takes new couples away from the face time and phone time that help them develop a deeper understanding of one another and determine compatibility and chemistry. Five matchmakers said that they give explicit phone and texting etiquette instruction to clients—their suggested texting etiquette usually involves zero text interaction until the relationship is firmly established and exclusive. Once the relationship takes off, matchmakers suggest very limited use of texting for very quick logistical conversations (e.g. “Meet me at the restaurant at 6 p.m.”). Matchmakers spoke of their extreme disappointment when clients do not heed their advice about texting, and say that texting has caused unnecessary dating “drama” in clients from the 20s up to their 70s. There does not appear to be a particular age group that is most likely to ignore matchmakers’ texting etiquette.

2) The role of career/career development in men and women using matchmakers

Particularly in younger clients (i.e. those up to their early 40s), matchmakers noted a common theme of work/career demands that have kept clients from looking seriously for a long-term partner until they reach an age when opportunities to meet eligible singles have dwindled (i.e. until most peers that they meet through social and work activities have married or paired off into relationships). In particular, they see this in their clients who are entrepreneurs, whose work has been particularly all-consuming and left little time for dating. There appears to be no significant gender gap regarding career demands and use of matchmakers—in this sample, matchmakers spoke equally of men and women whose careers have left minimal time for forming relationships. For matchmakers’ clients, career development has precluded relationship formation mostly because of time restrictions, but geographic mobility and multi-city living connected to the client’s career also appear to play smaller roles (and male clients cite mobility and multi-city living as factors more often than women).

Whereas some matchmakers spoke of their clients’ career demands and impact on dating factually and uncritically, others took a more critical view that clients have not “had” time to find a serious partner because they have not made time to do so. Those who took a more critical approach said that they frequently coach clients on the importance of carving out time for dating and building relationships and the need to prioritize relationships or find reasonable work-life balance in spite of career demands. On this note, 3 matchmakers expressed disappointment in some of their clients’ “stalled” relationships that have not progressed (or have progressed very slowly) toward marriage because partners continue to invest heavily in their careers at the expense of their relationship.

3) (Un)realistic expectations about the product and process

When asked what they find most frustrating or challenging about their work, matchmakers most commonly spoke about their clients’ unrealistic expectations with regard to the matchmaking process and outcomes, and relationships more broadly. Several matchmakers commented that when meeting and developing a rapport with a new client, they are careful to say that they do not sell or offer love per se, but rather the opportunity to meet high-quality individuals with whom a client may form a loving and committed relationship. Particularly at the outset of the matchmaker-client collaboration, matchmakers note that some clients have an unrealistic expectation that they will meet the love of their life, and that this will happen quickly. While matchmakers agree that meeting the love of one’s life is a central aim of the matchmaking process, and are pleased when this happens within a short time frame, many must remind clients to be patient and to realize that a match with a compatible individual may not yield the chemistry and mutual interest needed for love to develop. They are also careful to balance statements about how successful they have been in matching clients with a disclaimer that they cannot guarantee a long-term match as an outcome of their collaboration. Matchmakers also expressed concern at several clients’ conflation of compatibility in a relationship and the idea that a relationship requires no work or compromise; they were surprised by how often clients expect a serious relationship to thrive with little work at communication and compromise.

Several matchmakers pointed out that their clients tend to be “Type A” personalities who are highly driven and used to getting whatever they ask for. In some cases, this manifests in unrealistic demands or expectations about who they will be matched with. Did you ever read the incredibly well written piece featuring a Linx client as he searches for the one in San Francisco Magazine? This story showcases some of the wild demands from Linx clients.

Specifically, 5 matchmakers said they often work with clients who expect to be matched with people who are, in the matchmakers’ words, physically “way out of their league” (namely, older men asking to be matched with much younger and/or much more attractive women, or women requesting matches with much younger and/or physically fitter men). In these cases, most matchmakers take a soft or diplomatic approach in suggesting that these unrealistic clients broaden their search criteria. Typically, the client acquiesces to the matchmaker’s suggestions, but 2 matchmakers cited repeated instances of being yelled at by clients when the clients perceived their matches or the matchmaker’s suggestions to be sub-par. Another matchmaker, who did not report having been yelled at, nonetheless spoke about how being a matchmaker requires developing a “thick skin” to deal with difficult and demanding clients.

4) Stigma and awkwardness

According to matchmakers, most people who self-select into working with a matchmaker “get” the idea of hiring a professional to help them with their love life. Many clients outsource work in other areas of their lives, so do not see anything awkward or shameful about extending this model of efficiency into the realm of their relationships. That said, nearly half of all matchmakers noted that they have clients who express feelings of embarrassment during initial meetings. Matchmakers consistently noted that this is more common amongst their male clients, for whom “ego gets in the way,” than it is for women who tend to approach matchmakers with greater confidence and minimal or no feelings of shame about using their services. For male clients who express initial embarrassment, matchmakers say that this feeling tends to fade as the client becomes more involved in the process.

But, whereas most clients express little or minimal embarrassment to matchmakers about working with them, most also tell matchmakers that they keep their use of the services a secret from friends, family and colleagues; this is largely out of fear that they will be negatively judged for their inability to find a partner on their own. Matchmakers are very rarely invited to clients’ weddings, since clients do not like to go public with how they met their partner. I am invited to many weddings and in some cases not. Often clients will share their stories here.

Overall, matchmakers spoke optimistically about their expectation that the practice will continue to lose its stigma and become a more widely respected form of couple formation. They also mentioned that many clients view matchmaking as a much less stigmatized activity than online dating.

5) Issues surrounding gender

Several of the themes outlined above touch on gender, but the issues below deal most directly with gender. When asked about what their clients are seeking in a partner, matchmakers responded that clients typically say they are looking for a mixture of traditional and modern elements in a relationship. Specifically, clients of both genders prefer dual-career relationships, regardless of whether they also desire children within the relationship. As one matchmaker puts it, men are showing a strong preference for “Michelle Obama” type partners (i.e. true equals in the private and public spheres). Another matchmaker summarizes a similar trend in clients’ desires as “bimbos are out,” and explains that male clients find career women most desirable. While matchmakers and clients express a preference for egalitarian relationships, 5 matchmakers said that they encourage their clients to blend the egalitarian model with male chivalry and believe it is always a man’s job to organize and pay for dates. As one matchmaker phrased it, couples should get “back to the basics” of men taking the lead romantically while respecting fundamental gender equality.

6) Defining “success” in matchmaking

Although the majority of matchmakers interviewed say that marriage is the ultimate goal of their services, they define “success” in matchmaking as anything from a matched couple going on a second date to a matched couple getting married. Another matchmaker defines success as finding the right caliber of person for a client—someone who is outstanding, regardless of where the match leads after the first introduction. Most often, matchmakers define success as the moment when a matched couple becomes exclusive, regardless of whether the relationship culminates in marriage. Many matchmakers emphasized that success, to them, is not just about making matches that last—a collaboration with a client is always a success if it engages the client in a process of personal growth (and, oftentimes, improved self-confidence) that opens the door to finding love and living authentically.

Matchmakers reported mixed feelings when matched clients (typically clients whose contracts have since expired) “fall of the grid” and quit keeping in touch. Some matchmakers are diligent in keeping in touch with former clients long after their collaboration has ended, but most do not—typically because they do not want to “pester” former clients. Some “snoop around” (e.g. online) to find clues as to whether a couple they matched months or years prior is still together.

7) Reality TV: Helping or hurting matchmaking’s reputation?

This was not a topic that I expected to discuss consistently with matchmakers, but it came up often. Matchmakers spoke positively about how reality T.V. shows about matchmaking—i.e. Millionaire Matchmaker (Bravo), Arrange Me a Marriage (BBC), Love Broker (Bravo) —have raised the overall visibility of the profession. At the same time, they expressed concern at how some portrayals of the matchmaking process, particularly those on Millionaire Matchmaker episodes, are highly sensationalized and do not reflect typical client-matchmaker, affiliate-matchmaker or client-affiliate relations. In particular, matchmakers noted that their approach is more “subtle” than the approach of matchmakers typically found on reality T.V. shows, and that their clientele is “classy and discreet” as compared to the brash clients featured on Millionaire Matchmaker. They are confident, however, that the general public is aware of the disparity between matchmaking in reality shows and typical matchmaking processes.

New Linx Testimonial ! 30-something exec female, Ivy League educated marries incredible man!

I originally was introduced to Amy in Summer 2010 and heard about Linx from friends who had met and worked with Amy and were very impressed with her and the quality of Linx matches. Living in San Francisco I found it difficult to find the right match who was looking for the same long-term goals as myself. I had had long term relationships with great guys but ultimately the common theme was there were missing pieces for discussions of marriage or they simply where not in the right place to contemplate getting really serious.

I met Amy in June 2010 and the experience was surprisingly great. Her approach is straight forward, honest and she seemed to really get me. I knew this was a leap of faith and I felt in trusted hands and that she could increase my odds and what could I lose in doing this? If anything meet some nice new guys and make a few new friends. Linx placed me across from a few great guys that I would not have met otherwise. Even in the brief amount of time Amy spent me with in her office, she really hit the nail on the head of identifying good guys for me who shared the same goals, background, etc and I would never have met these guys in my normal course of life. Young couple

On match 7th, I met my husband. We shared our first date in San Francisco and I felt that he was interesting, cute and really easy to spend time with it just felt easy. We starting spending large amounts of time together very early on and it felt like things evolved very naturally without any stress or different goals he really seemed to understand me and loved me for me quirks and all.

He proposed on a ski trip, the site of our third date on our one year anniversary! He feigned exhaustion one night to stay at the hotel, he had shipped the ring to Colorado (without insurance, thank you FEDEX!) and was in a panic trying to hide it and conceal the surprise. I came back from the spa and the room was decorated with rose petals and my favorite food. When I asked why I was such a lucky girl he said it was to mark our one year anniversary together and then he proposed and ended up putting the ring on the wrong hand. So cute. It was amazing!!!

We married in summer 2013 and lived happily ever after (just kidding this is a true story!)

Linx is great as it opened up my horizons to meet people I would never normally have met, Amy is very professional intuitive and a joy to work with. I highly recommend her service!”