20 Things I’ve Learned After 7 years of Being a Professional Matchmaker

2016 marks my 7th year as a professional matchmaker. Thanks to the addition of an incredible team added in 2013, my agency has dramatically increased the number of clients we serve and our client geographic footprint continues to expand, as well (last year we coached and matched people in the United Kingdom, Turkey, India, and the United States).

Since 2009, my firm has served over 1,000 coaching and matchmaking clients. For our matchmaking clients, we directly organized thousands of dates in 2013, alone. Some of those dates went incredibly well (and led to committed relationships), some of those led to platonic friendships, some of them there was no “chemistry,” and some completely blew-up with both parties hating each other.  All in all, I took notes on everything.

Over the years, I have gained an incredible amount of insight on how commitment-minded singles date and interact in the early stages of a romantic relationship. Here are 20 of the most interesting things I’ve learned:

 

1) Everyone should be in therapy

Therapist-Couch

I’m not kidding. 1 out of every 5 people in the United States have been negatively affected by someone else’s pathology. This means you have had a relationship with or are currently a sociopath, psychopath, or have a disorder associated with ‘no conscience’. Serious business. You may be out of the relationship, but the relationship may not be out of your mind. The clients I have who are actively engaged with therapists are typically the ones who gain the most from their dating experience.

 

2) Physical attraction is everything

a boyfriend courts his girlfriend

This post says it all. Even though many hate or are hesitant to admit it, the decision for my clients to move to a second date was 99.9% weighted on whether they were physically attracted to the other person.

 

3) You can’t authentically date without first being vulnerable

vulnerable-hero-text

So very hard for nearly all of my clients, but so very necessary. Just like you can’t fill a closed bag, you simply can’t expect love to materialize without first opening your heart to the possibly of it.

 

4) There is power in dating multiple people at once

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I wrote a full chapter about this in my book. You are empowered when you can assess “apples to apples.” The more people you can see at once, allows for better analysis of each.

 

5) The worst topic to talk about on a first date is politics

Hillary-Christie

I had a client this year tell me he went from the best to worst date in his life (in the matter of an hour), simply because of the stance his date took on a political position. Can people who have differing politics be in a relationship in the first place? Absolutely. That said, you have to give yourself a chance to “get in the game” first and polarizing topics are not helpful.

 

6) The worst question to ask on a first date is “why are you still single?”

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I’m not even single and I hate this question. It sets a bad tone and the answer will have little to no value in your decision to have a second date with the person (because the decision to see someone on a second date is highly based on physical attraction – see #2 above).

 

7) Most people overanalyze the first date

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I once spent 3 sessions (that’s 3 hours) talking to a client about his first date performance. I allowed him to go on and on to prove a point – that the discussion was pointless. While there is value assessing areas you can improve in, most post date discussion surrounds “I wonder” questions – “I wonder if he likes me” or “I wonder if she will call me now” etc. Do your best to stop the wondering and see the next bullet (#8 – it’s all about effort)!

 

8) Effort is the best indicator of interest

Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.

This applies throughout the dating, courting, and marriage. I guarantee this. If he/she pays you LITTLE attention, they’re not HIGHLY interested. If he/she is HIGHLY attentive they’re HIGHLY interested. Hard pill to swallow, but true 100% of the time.

 

9) You teach people how to treat you by the second date

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Everything you do and communicate to your partner tells them how you want to be treated on the second date (and moving forward). Don’t hold to your boundaries, they’ll always be crossed. Don’t hold to your standards, they’ll never be met.

 

10) Identifying (and holding to) your values is an often overlooked step

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One of the most popular posts in my ‘30 Steps To A Better You series‘ was on value discovery. If you haven’t yet established what your values are (if you’re in a committed relationship or not, please do so – this one exercise can change your life).

 

11) Men (who are ready) seek commitment fast and first

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This is a shocker to many women but it’s the truth. Like clock work, I see men who believe they have found “the one,” attempt to shut down the world in order to focus (and get the full focus) of the woman. The guys don’t want “their woman” seeing anyone else. They want to have the exclusive talk and create clarity of their positioning. This is very important to know and also ties directly with #8 above.

 

12) Going exclusive with someone too early is typically disastrous

SSJ+Soon+to+Be+Mugs

The average dating couple in the U.S. becomes exclusive between date No. 3 and No. 5. I’m sorry but that’s just too early. You need to see your partner’s values play out in action. You need to see how your partner can handle adversity. You need to observe your partners consistency of effort. All of these things require time. Making an early relationship commitment is a high risk gamble I’ve seen too many good people get burned on.

 

13) Long distance relationships can work, but seldom do

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I’m referring to the relationships that begin as long distance.  I say this so often I should just tattoo it on my face: The only way a long distance relationship can work is if there is a plan to end the distance. 

 

14) Self-love isn’t just a cliche, it’s the first question you should ask yourself

first-and-last-love

I view self-love as the admission requirement to dating. If you don’t love yourself (meaning actively caring for your mind, body, and spirit) you can’t afford to enter the arena of romance with someone else. Get yourself right, first.

 

15) Most of us have a disconnect between who we believe we are and who the public believes we are

mind-the-gap

I’ve been doing a lot of studying on personal branding and I’m in love with the subject because ultimately we all have one – it’s basically our reputation. The issue is that unless you’ve done the proper analysis (this is something we do in my agency’s coaching service) you may be projecting an image entirely different from your true self (and therefore, facing additional difficulty when dating).

 

16) Your belief in the availability of “good” men/women is exactly your reality

affirmation stones

I find it fascinating when a female client will call me up and say “Paul, New York City is the WORST city in the world for dating, I don’t believe there are any “good” men, and I can’t find any.” Then, I’ll hear this “Paul, New York City is one the greatest in the world for dating, I believe there are good men, I date them all the time (but haven’t found the right one for me).”  Bottom line is that your belief is your reality.

 

17) Your friends are not relationship experts

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Please read this.

 

18) There is no “secret formula” to matchmaking

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I know online dating sites are spending millions to develop (and market to you) that they have some secret sauce, but nearly 6 years in the matchmaking industry (on the ground, working with people directly) has taught me that there simply isn’t a certain algorithm or formula that will find your perfect person (if their was, the inventor would be the richest person on the planet – seriously). So what can you control? Look for someone who matches your values, who compliments your personality, meets your non-starters, and that you’re attracted to physically. Those four steps together are the most important matchmaking formula you can use!

 

19) If your dating goal is “outcome based” you’re not going to be happy

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There are two categories of goal setting: Outcome based or process based. Outcome based goals suggest it doesn’t matter how much you try if you don’t actually achieve the desired outcome. Process based is another view that says you should focus more on the process (and what you can learn). You can probably guess my opinion on the better to choose. Process based is the way to go in dating!  A process based goal is what helps you develop habits and different habits are what change your life.

 

20) My agency is considered one of the best matchmaking firms in the world!

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Okay, shameless plug time. According to one of the largest (and oldest) dating industry conferences, The Paul Carrick Brunson Agency is one of the BEST in the world! We recently won both Best Matchmaking Agency and Best Dating Coaches. This would not be possible without my amazing team – we look forward to continuing to serve, learn, and share.

 

For Discussion: What is your top lesson learned about dating? 

 

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About Paul C. Brunson
Mentor, Entrepreneur, & Television Host. My goal is to help you live your best life; in love and professionally. I’m the world’s most influential matchmaker, founded and exited three businesses, host two television shows, spent nearly a decade working directly for a billionaire, and share my experiences by mentoring and coaching thousands of people.
460 comments
Priya Gopal
Priya Gopal

On nr. 2: Yes, physical attraction is everything but men also choose what they believe they can afford and/or have, based upon their education, social and economic status, race, life phase, etc. I've experienced that men approached me, the homely woman, and not the beautiful girl sitting next to me because they didn't believe they could have her. I can't find a man with the same qualities as I and education as I have because that man has more options. Why should he choose me if he can have more beautiful women. But, I have no problem finding a man who is much older, had a long marriage, has children, has no good education, etc. You can't tell me those men don't see that I am not beautiful at all. Yes, physical attraction is important but it's apparently not the only strong determiner in choices. I wonder if you have experienced if some races have better/more dating options. Worldwide, I see successful men of all ethnicities marrying white (Christian) woman but I don't see that happening for colored women or women of another faith.

Paul Carrick Brunson
Paul Carrick Brunson

Priya Gopal I'm preparing to conduct a survey you might find interesting and will hopefully answer many of these questions.

Alicia Maria
Alicia Maria

Paul Carrick Brunson Does your agency offer matchmaking services in Northern California ( Bay Area)?

AcinthaJay OlsonTay
AcinthaJay OlsonTay

Paul, I've written before, and it must've gotten lost in the other messages, does your firm work with Cancer Survivors and had success? I find challenges with when to having to divulge this as it has backfired quite often. What is the best way to see what your firm has to offer?

AcinthaJay OlsonTay
AcinthaJay OlsonTay

Thanks Paul! I sure will! I look forward to meeting you Cylia speaks highly of you.

Paul Carrick Brunson
Paul Carrick Brunson

AcinthaJay OlsonTay I actually just spent this last year coaching an amazing woman who was also a cancer survivor. Please go to pcbagency.com for more info or feel free to email joi@paulcbrunson.com to arrange for someone on the team to call you.

Natasha Rogers
Natasha Rogers

Excellent post (visually speaking). The content is great also.

Wendi Bekoe
Wendi Bekoe

Love it! But I have a question about number 19 - process v outcome.. What if you're not dating for the sake of dating, because you want an outcome (marriage)? Should that not be the head you have on?

Wendi Bekoe
Wendi Bekoe

Ok, I get you. I have to take the slightly impatient thoughts out of it.

Paul Carrick Brunson
Paul Carrick Brunson

Wendi Bekoe Very fair question. I completely understand that marriage could be an end goal and something you passionately want. The trick is that on each date, try not to focus on that larger goal of marriage. Instead, try your best to look at each date as an opportunity to learn something new (about yourself, the activity, etc). Focusing on the lessons will allow you move to more of a "process" mindset.

Nivia L. Di Vincenzo
Nivia L. Di Vincenzo

That's a great question Wendy! I've found that when I am dating someone that I really feel good with my mind automatically jumps ahead and has us getting married! I realized that this clouded my judgement when tension and conflict started to appear and I would hold back and not speak my truth because I was so focused on holding on to my dream. I've learned to enjoy the journey, take each moment as it comes speak my truth and state my boundaries. I stay aware of how I'm feeling and my energy in the experience as well as how the other person handles the interaction when there is conflict or tension. Staying in an intuitive feeling place works for me, and I have found that I can tell when a dating experience isn moving in the direction that is aligned with my goals or desires. I try to balance that with how the experience is evolving and whether we are on the same wavelength about marriage, kids, etc. You don't have to let go of your ultimate goal or wait on someone forever, it helps though to really give yourself and the other person space to allow the experience to move in that direction if it's meant to be. By the way Paul number 1 is spot on! Therapy has been a powerful tool for me and I consider it a form of self care and self love for myself.

Nurj
Nurj

nice stuff

Jennifer Taylor
Jennifer Taylor

Wow Paul I've been following you and your journey since 09. It may take a minute but I can tell the exact date.

Lana Price
Lana Price

Nailing it again, Paul! This led me to the value determination exercise. I agree that 3-5 dates is too soon. I feel like you should at least get to know how someone is when they're not at their best ( sick, cramps, injury) and how they treat others and 3-5 dates isn't enough. The penny still looks shiny and new and untarnished. Not to say people need to be broken to be believed, just that it takes more than a few whirls around the salsa floor to know if it's worth it.

Najj Perry
Najj Perry

Shannan Wilson this is what I was reading

Wendy Fortson
Wendy Fortson

Great points! My add on is continue to identify the lessons throughout the 'process' of dating. Just because the relationship didnt workout longterm, doesn't mean it didn't positively affect who you are as a result of that experience! The good, the bad, the ugly- i believe we should be growing from it all. Thus, creating one the best version if ourselves and hopefully someday attracting that special someone who inspires us to be even better and change /enjoy the world & this life-experience together. That is all. \U0001f49d

Shantae Charles
Shantae Charles

What I have learned? There is no secret formula for matchmaking. But there is a God who knows who is right for you, and we often leave out his consultation. ✌

Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez

JD Figueroa Diaz, Marci Anne, Angela Marie, Tracie McKinney, Marie Lamadieu this is a very good article. Def worth the read.

Tracie McKinney
Tracie McKinney

A lot of it make sense, but as a spiritual person, I think he left out the importance of praying for spiritual guidance. But he still had some good and useful tips.

Kelly My
Kelly My

Thank you for sharing Paul! \U0001f64b\U0001f3fdI'm a "Work In Progress" regarding #3!

Dionne Derrick
Dionne Derrick

Thanks Paul Carrick Brunson. Those were all good points, some a little harder to realize than others but I do love reading your posts.

Cindy Jean
Cindy Jean

Yes to #8 Effort is the best indicator of interest

Carla 'Miss Classie' Taylor
Carla 'Miss Classie' Taylor

Thank you for sharing, it gave me a lot to think about especially #1. Recently I thought about going to counseling due to my last relationship but wasn't sure.

Anna Marie Jones
Anna Marie Jones

What if there are terrible signs of no effort but he says he will change?

Paul Carrick Brunson
Paul Carrick Brunson

Anna Marie Jones never, ever, ever, ever fall in love with potential. Make sure the person who stands before you today is the person you're in love with because chances are they won't change (for the better).

Mel E Mel
Mel E Mel

Paul \U0001f64c\U0001f3fd\U0001f64c\U0001f3fd\U0001f64c\U0001f3fd #mrhereandnowonly!

Katie Hubbard
Katie Hubbard

So many of these people need to hear. I think should also add that you cannot judge someone by the actions of others. People are different! The one about outlook is so overlooked too! If you don't believe positive you can't get positive

Tory L. Cason
Tory L. Cason

AMEN to #1!!! Tahirah M. Hendricks Nortnic Revihs

Jessica Hooper
Jessica Hooper

All true! Come talk to my single friends in LA \U0001f629

Paul Carrick Brunson
Paul Carrick Brunson

The-Olivia Jones however long it takes to see their values in their actions. I can't give you a specific time but 3-6 months of dates is typically what I see (on the healthy side).

The-Olivia Jones
The-Olivia Jones

Helpful. Very, very helpful. Next question. After waiting appropriately can a lady initiate, with a lil nudge, the exclusivity convo ? (My mama always says no cause it ain't lady-like.) Or should she wait for him to bring it up?

Wendy Fortson
Wendy Fortson

My very-wise friend, much wiser in mate-selection than I...was taught by her grandmother (who raised her..and Paul, she too is Jamaican lol) to date at least each season of the year. Doing so allows each to exp the natural ebb & flows, ups & downs. That spoke volumes to me.

Revuan Denise
Revuan Denise

Thank you for sharing your wisdom Paul Carrick Brunson. Very informative...

Colleen4me
Colleen4me

I like the references to the topics...your a gifted individual!!!!  Finding matched souls is a gift! Colleen