Below is the extract from a recent Cupid’s Library article, interviewing our MD Rachel MacLynn.
By Patricio, April 7th 2015
Matchmaking dates back to as early as 1600 and single people’s dating and relationship needs since then haven’t changed much hundreds of years later. In the library of Cupid, we asked fellow professional cupids about their process, their most memorable matchmaking moments, and why matchmakers still matter. They also serve some really practical advice for those who are seeking eternal romantic bliss.
For five years, Rachel MacLynn specialized in the selection and leadership development of senior executives. As Managing Director of The Vida Consultancy, she is now focused on selecting dates and leading a team of matchmakers in developing romantic prospects for successful professionals. Unlike Meredith Brooks, Rachel MacLynn’s ‘one-hit wonder’ reputation is marked by an early successful foray into matching a major client with the love of his life, which then continued with a trend of multiple matchmaking ‘hits’. In this interview, the London-based matchmaker and founder of The Vida Consultancy shares her company’s approach to matching and some insights on what type of lady Prince Harry ought to be paired with.
Matchmaking seems like one of the most exciting professions there is. Have you always seen yourself as a professional cupid? What made you decide to become one?
I always knew that I wanted a career which involved helping people. To be honest, I didn’t even know matchmaking existed as a profession, when I started out in my working life.
I’ve always been fascinated by the human mind and behaviour, as well as in business, so I completed a degree in psychology, followed by a Master’s in Business Psychology. After several years of practising as a psychologist, I realised I particularly enjoyed working with people on a one-to-one basis. I became curious about life coaching and through this, matchmaking caught my eye.
When I first spotted a job advert for a matchmaker/psychologist, I had butterflies in my stomach. It felt like the job was just perfect for me. I’ve been matchmaking for nine years and running Vida Consultancy for four. It excites me how much the industry is blossoming and I’m honoured to be working alongside the Matchmaking Institute, to develop and raise professional and ethical standards amongst new and existing matchmakers, in what is thus far, an unregulated profession.
What are the most important factors to consider when creating a match?
At Vida, we consult our clients throughout the entire process. We fully respect their viewpoint, but we’ll also contribute our own expertise and insight, as vital ingredients which must go into the melting pot. We recognise that what a client says they want in a partner and what they actually need can be very different. So, when creating a match we always consider the following factors and adopt the same stringent approach with all of our clients:
- Profile the client, to establish their core values and aspirations.
- We also explore what attributes relating to each ex-partner contributed to the success and failure of the relationship.
- We review and discuss what the client says they want in a partner, then redefine this to build a profile of their ‘ideal partner’, based on shared values.
- We then search for profiles that most closely fit this ‘ideal’ description, focusing predominantly on these shared values, then considering factors such as age, appearance (physical attractiveness is particularly important to men!), intelligence, whether or not they have or want children, etc.
Who are the best candidates for a matchmaking service? Why do you think certain people turn to matchmaking to find a partner?
Most people come to a matchmaking service because they don’t have time to find a partner on their own; they’ve exhausted other avenues of finding love and they want to meet someone of a high calibre. Above all, they turn to us seeking to be imbued with hope, and fortified by our affirmation based on our extensive experience, that there really is someone ideal for them out there, with whom we can help them find and connect, to form a fulfilling partnership.
However, not everyone who approaches a matchmaker would make a suitable client, so the best matchmakers will quickly ascertain just who the best candidates are, and consequently only work with these people as clients.
Is there a specific trait that prevents someone from being successfully paired? Do you have some requirements for your clients?
Within Vida, we apply the following rules of thumb when we meet potential clients, as criteria for accepting them:
- They must be relationship ready, ie., have an open and willing attitude, requiring no more than a few parallel coaching sessions, if necessary. Matchmakers aren’t therapists, so if a client has been traumatised by a past relationship experience, for example, we advise that they seek independent support to deal and process such factors, before we take them on as clients.
- Their personal expectations must be realistic. We agree the general parameters under which we would be searching for a partner, before any commitment to joining is made on the part of the potential client.
- The profile of their ‘ideal partner’ must fit within Vida’s network. Every matchmaking agency deals with a certain demographic and geographical area. We specialise in finding life partners for exceptional people who live cosmopolitan lifestyles.
- They also must approach the matchmaking process with a positive attitude. Matchmaking is an emotional process, with many accompanying uncertainties. It can feel like a relationship minefield. We have a much higher level of success with clients who possess a positive mind-set towards matchmaking, and to finding a partner in general.
In what ways is professional matchmaking more effective than online dating?
Online dating misses the human element of assessing compatibility. It focuses on the outside in, with Tinder being a key example of this. Whilst Tinder is hugely successful for those whose objective is simply to find a hot date, exclusive matchmaking is much better suited to those who are ready, and fully-committed, to finding their life partner. In the same way that you turn to consultants to advise on other important areas of life (where to invest your money, personal trainers, etc.), matchmakers can share their view and expertise on subjective factors such as values, a match’s behaviour, and so on.
Any unforgettable matchmaking anecdote you would like to share?
I’m nick-named amongst my team of matchmakers as “the one-hit wonder”. I hit instant success just a few months into running Vida, with a very high profile client who was seeking his life partner. He married the first person I introduced him to. I realised through this, the importance of not only really listening to a client, but also working together to redefine the ‘ideal profile’. I’ve since successfully matched many clients with their first or second introductions, recognising that, provided the core values are aligned, other factors such as age, location and physical attributes don’t necessarily have to be exactly as defined at the outset. When it comes to finding true love, the rule book often goes straight out of the window!
How does being a cupid-for-hire affect your own love life? Do you apply the same rules and matching techniques to your own dating habits?
I’m very lucky to have met my fiancé a year before setting up Vida. Being a matchmaker has taught me a lot about how to maintain a healthy and happy relationship. When I met Jamie, I realised for example, that it would be important for him, as the man, to take the lead as we danced through the dating phase. We communicate with each other as best friends, we laugh constantly and we both understand that to maintain our current levels of contentment, we need to focus on making the other person happy, rather than on our own selfish demands. I’m pleased to say that after nearly five years, we’re still madly in love and I don’t ever see this changing!
Is matchmaking as fun as it looks or is the stress level equal to that of a neurosurgeon? Would you recommend professional matchmaking as a career option?
Overall, matchmaking is loads of fun! I’ve an incredible team at Vida and we work very closely together, constantly supporting each other. When a matchmaker puts together a successful match, we usually do a victory dance around the office! But like any job, there are stresses and strains, too. Matchmaking is very subjective and dealing with people’s personal lives means there are a huge number of given variables at play, at any one time. It’s particularly painful having to tell a client that a match doesn’t want to meet them. We feel the disappointment almost as keenly as the client does.
I’d definitely recommend professional matchmaking as a career option to anyone who genuinely wants to help people find true love. Matchmaking should be seen as a vocation, not as a money spinner. For the industry to continue growing, it’s critical that matchmakers work to a pre-determined, high level of ethical and professional standards.
How much do you charge for your service? Are there significant differences in rate? Some matchmakers are more expensive than others, but differences in fees aside, what makes your services special?
Our fees start at $15,000 for one year, and increase depending on how much bespoke searching is required. Our service works particularly well for successful men and women seeking a search either locally in London, or a full international search. At Vida, we’ve a network of thousands of singletons, in many cities throughout Europe, the USA and the Middle East. We don’t advertise, so are proud to have grown our network through word-of-mouth. This has maintained the exceptionally high quality of our profiles.
If you were to pick a popular figure to match, who would you pick and what kind of date would you set?
I’d love to match Prince Harry – once he’s ready to find his life partner, that is! Like his brother, I think he’d suit someone who’d feel comfortable moving in aristocratic circles. However, this lady would also need to be grounded, compassionate and ‘real’. I’d look for someone with the values and likability of both Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cornwall.
If there’s one piece of advice you’d have for singles who are looking for a partner, what would it be?
Before you start looking for your life partner, you absolutely must get yourself into a good place in your own life. The better you feel about yourself, the more easily you’ll attract the right person and the greater will be your chances of enjoying a permanent, mutually rewarding relationship.
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