Do people still use matchmakers?

Tired of swiping left, singles are turning to new matchmaking services for dates. A new generation of applications and companies are looking to bring matchmaking to a new generation more easily. Matchmakers' success rates can be difficult to pinpoint, as many of their clients choose to be anonymous and confidential. In addition, accredited services do not take all the fish out of the sea; they select customers and only commit to working with those they believe they can match correctly for the period of time desired by the customer.

Most of the time, only successful customers are willing to share their stories. And to further discourage detractors, some companies offer full or partial refunds, or expand their services with free or discounted rates if a customer hasn't yet found love when their package ends. For Claire AH, matchmaker, dating coach, and owner of Canada-based Friend of a Friend Matchmaking, the process is a good companion for other ways of meeting people. Online dating used to be considered taboo, but now, according to the Pew Research Center, 59% of people believe that online dating is a good way to meet people, an increase of 15% over the span of a decade.

Shaklee, who met her spouse through a matchmaker, also squashes the idea that “desperate people hire them. Social distancing has forced people to live more of their lives online, where potential partners are just a video chat away. In fact, other parameters such as the success rate, the time frame for matching, the accuracy of matches with preferences, security and confidentiality are some of the reasons why people switch from applications to professional matchmaking services. She expected the matchmaker to honor her essentials, but she was disappointed to discover that the service kept asking her to have an open mind, meaning she never had the opportunity to go out with the type of people she asked to meet.

The company, founded in Los Angeles, and its matchmakers work with people in cities across the country. Coincidentally, Avgitidis said that her biggest challenge as a matchmaker remains making sure that two people can like each other for life. However, that claim can be misleading, because many people who use matchmaking services have exhausted low-cost options, which may include users who never sought a serious relationship in the first place. Some dating agencies try to label themselves as matchmakers just to slap each other with quotas or sales figures and, basically, they try to get dates with as many people as possible, whether they are compatible or not.

An expert matchmaker, the executive director of Agape Match, Maria Avgitidis, told me that people's doubts about female matchmakers tend to stem from what they've seen on television or in movies. But as she and other dating coaches and matchmakers learned, the isolation of the past year has given single people time to look inward, reflect and, in some cases, redouble their efforts to find a partner. Matchmakers, accustomed to hearing people complain about hard walks down 405 or across town, are having better luck convincing people to think outside their city or at least to look beyond Los Angeles County.