While the virtual world may offer new means of finding love, Dateworks (formerly The Dating Co.) – a certified matchmaking agency, takes the long-established route, promising a high success rate.
In a digital era where apps like Tinder and TheSugarBook abound, one might think it’s a lot easier now to find a partner – but is that really true? Sure, we may have heard or read happy ever afters online, but do those instances actually reflect the overall success rate?
“It really boils down to what you’re looking for” is how Joanne Ng, CEO and Founder of Dateworks (formerly known as The Dating Co.), a certified matchmaking agency, puts it. “Are you looking for someone to have a fling with, someone to love what you have or someone to be in a serious relationship with you and love who you are?”
If the honest answer to that question is the third route, then matchmaking could be the easiest and most effective way for you to find (your idea of) love.
Before jumping the gun and discrediting the idea as old-fashioned or intrusive, it wouldn’t hurt to hear a matchmaker out – especially a legitimately certified one such as Joanne herself.
“Traditionally, people used matchmaking agencies to find someone compatible to their family background for marriage, but times are different now and expectations have changed,” she explains.
“There are so many working adults and professionals in their 30s or 40s today who have yet to find a partner and that’s why we want to help them. I know it sounds like a cliché, but even strong, independent people want a companion to lean on sometimes.”
Obviously, it takes more than mere intention to successfully match two individuals, and here’s where qualifications play a major role. The matchmakers at Dateworks are certified by none other than UK’s best matchmaker, Caroline Brealey, who has won multiple awards in matchmaking and set up her own matchmaking academy, Mutual Attraction.
What this means is their matchmakers are trained to ask the right questions through a series of profiling sessions to help you find a suitable match in their database. What this does not mean, however, is you and your match will hit it off right off the bat.
“Matchmaking is still a taboo in Malaysia, so a lot of people come in with unreasonably high expectations and hope for immediate results; but they need to understand that it’s not so simple, especially when we have to consider factors like race and religion,” she divulges.
“We need to make sure that their expectations are actually logical, so we tell our clients upfront that we can find them a match that meets 80 to 90 percent of what they want in a partner, but it takes the two of them to make things work.”
The devil is in the details
The matchmaking begins with potential clients filling up a form online before they determine whether the person is eligible for the service. This entails basic information including age, gender, education level, and other contact details.
Eligible applications will then receive an invite to the office for a thorough one-on-one profiling session, where a matchmaker will inquire further details such as family background, work experience, marital status and dating history.
“We want to know more about their serious relationships – why it failed, what were they really looking for and what was missing in those relationships,” she says unreservedly, “We’re very detailed, we even check for their preferences on things like tattoos.”
Joanne believes it’s these little details that make the difference. Teamwork and training has helped them pay more attention in this respect.
“Information to us is very precious. The more the client can tell us, the better we can help them,” she shares.
“There is no right or wrong for each client, and that is why during the training, we go through a lot of case studies to find the best matches. Although we already have our certifications, we still do video calls with Caroline from time to time so that we can learn from each other.”
They also hold weekly discussions among the six matchmakers at Dateworks, where they share cases and go through them together. This is when they will determine suitable matches for each client.
Once they have identified a prospect, they will walk the client through the profile and provide details on why they might be good match.
“If they are comfortable with the match, we will set up the date in a public area and also inform the restaurant beforehand to let them know that the couple is on a blind date so that they can be seated somewhere private,” she elaborates.
What tickles your fancy
Clients can be assured that everything is kept private and confidential from the start – even from their loved ones. Names of prospects are also changed when presented to clients for the first time, disclosed only after both parties are agreeable for a date.
“If you come with their family or friend, we’ll try not to have them in the same room because we want to know what you want, not what they want for you,” she says.
“Sometimes, you can’t tell the people that you love and care about how you feel, because you don’t want to offend them and that’s why agencies are a good platform to help you find a serious partner. We’re not going to judge you because we are here to help you find love.”
Therein lies another problem: some people don’t know what they’re looking for in a relationship. Thus, one of the major factors they consider before recommending a match is whether a client has former experience in a serious relationship. If not, they offer date coaching classes, where the matchmakers will teach on social skills, self-image (personal shopping included) and basic dating tips.
“We provide questionnaires from our training to help our clients understand things like how to tell whether someone likes you or not, and why their past dates or relationships didn’t work out,” she says.
Only after the matchmaker deems the client ready will a suitable match be proposed.
“After a date, we can then ask the client what they enjoyed about the date and what they liked about the person they met and from there we can filter it down again until they know what they want.”
Nothing changes if you don’t
The whole process takes about two to three months on average, but this again depends on the individual.
At the end of the day, Joanne holds to these three tenets for a successful match and/or relationship: be comfortable with who you are, never fake it (don’t lie to your date!), and “nothing changes if you do nothing”.
“I always tell my clients that if you want changes, you have to make changes. If you’re too afraid or embarrassed to find love through an agency like ours, then nothing will change in your love live,” she says determinedly.
With the right approach to dating and a little help from the modern-day cupids at Dateworks, you might finally find your match.
What’s the success rate like? Joanne reveals, “For clients who have signed up with us, it is as high as 90 percent.”
For more information, call 03 2858 5801 or log on to their website here.
Location: A-1-3, Northpoint Offices, 1, Medan Syed Putra, Midvalley City, 59200 Kuala Lumpur
Photography: Gan Yew Chin