As the CEO of London’s premier matchmaking firm, I am often asked what one thing single people can do when dating to increase their chances of finding love.
The answer from me is a simple one and has changed the romantic destiny of untold numbers of people.
When dating, the number one thing you must remember is this:
Love Is Not A List
I shared my magical term with The Telegraph in early 2019, with the Love Machine podcast in 2023, and have been sharing it with eager singles for years, guiding (hopefully former) singletons who are keen to learn all they can in order to find and keep a stable, loving partner – for life.
Why is this the most important advice I provide to my matchmaking clients, date coaching clients and people who are single, eligible and looking for love?
Because it is the NUMBER ONE MISTAKE that single people make. I don’t know if it’s magazines, well-meaning but entirely wrong friends, or just because people have been searching for love for so long that they think they deserve a shopping list of requirements.
Ditch the Dating Shopping List
So what do potential DDM matchmaking clients ask for when they first approach my team of friendly matchmakers? Everything you can possibly imagine, and some you can’t. Potential clients have asked me for a partner who can ski (when they don’t), for someone over 6 foot 2, when they stand at 5 foot 1.
Luckily for us, the clients we take on understand the importance of values based dating. The hobbies their partner enjoys, whether or not they went to University. Whether they attended boarding school, or the same Church, Synagogue or Mosque.
Unimportant in the search for true love.
Why? Because it stops you from being successful. The more criteria you have, the less likely, not more likely you are to find that love. The more barriers you place in your search for the person who is right for you, the less likely you are to ever find it. Why?
The narrower and narrower you make that search, the more likely you are to be searching for a Unicorn. Someone that simply doesn’t exist.. Which takes me on to…
Are You Who Eligible Singles Are Searching For?
Are you? And if you have 50 things on your list, how many things do they have on theirs? If you enter into the dating world, armed with your long list of criteria (none of which are values based), then, aren’t they similarly likely to be entering with theirs? What then is your chance of finding true love? How likely is it that your list of criteria matches with their list of criteria? A recipe for disaster in your dating life maybe, but more than likely a recipe for lonely hearts, instead of fulfilled relationships.
The Role of The Matchmaker
This is where the matchmakers at Drawing Down the Moon step in. We are here to challenge some of your preconceived notions of what a life partner looks like.
Our one job, our only job, the thing that gets us out of bed in the morning. Introducing our wonderful, interesting, intelligent and attractive clients to people who we think they will want to go through the highs and lows of life with.
To experience Sunday mornings with, to plan with, to strategize with, to dream with, to support one another as you move through life stages – together.
So that means we have to push you a little, we have to find out just how important the things are to you that don’t predict success in a relationship. The things that you might have been looking for, but that don’t tell you how a person will make you feel.
Values Based Dating
As matchmakers, we are hunting, searching, identifying and communicating with thousands of people each month. We want to learn as much as we can about our clients. We want to find out where you have gone wrong in the past, gone right in the past and the kind of person you want to come home to.
It is important that we gain an understanding of the values that drive you in your daily life, in your interactions with your family and your friends. The values that guide what a successful relationship looks like for you.
Are you Frightened of Rejection?
When potential clients offer a large list of criteria, I often wonder if they might be providing such an extensive list of criteria, such a large list of ways in which they can reject potential partners, because they are subconsciously frightened of rejection.
By putting a large list of criteria in place, you are almost guaranteeing that you will not meet someone who fulfills all of that list. And if you were to meet them, they would need to be looking for you…
It is worth asking yourself:
Are these barriers in place because I am worried that I will be rejected?
Are they in place because I am worried about rejecting someone?
Fears around rejection, and turning others down are normal, to be expected and part of what it means to be out there and dating. We know you need to be brave, and as matchmakers we are here to hold your hand and help you be brave. By getting yourself out there, and being vulnerable, you can connect
Are you Looking for a Unicorn?
Do You Want to Date Yourself?
If you are not yet working with a matchmaker here at DDM, I want you to ask yourself the following question.
When you write down your list of criteria for a partner:
- How much of your partner criteria is values based?
- How much of your list is based on criteria that don’t increase your chances of happiness in a relationship?
- How much of your list is simply a list of words describing you ?
And here is the crux of a number of my conversations. Do you want to date yourself? When I am sitting with potential matchmaking clients, that question often catches them off guard. You are high achieving, you have specific interests, hobbies, and your career has gone swimmingly. But, do you want to date someone exactly like you? Or would that bore you to tears in a matter of a few dinner dates?
The answer I have received, in many, many years of asking is this:
No, I definitely do not want to date myself! And, in all cases, my potential client had no idea they were doing that.
So if you are currently single, dating on your own, hoping to find the love of your life, I want you to ask yourself the following questions:
Have you subconsciously picked the virtues that you yourself display?
Do you want to date someone just like you?
Or might it be nice to branch out and bring something else and someone else into your life to add more than just a little spice?
And most importantly I want you to consider the following when you are deciding what kind of partner you would like to be with.
What Should I Look For When Dating?
A bit like Gwyneth Paltrow’s conscious uncoupling, we want our matchmaking clients to engage in conscious coupling.
Don’t fall back on old concepts of love, or lust, or romance. Don’t get stuck on instant chemistry, which we know is no more than lust. You don’t need to feel that heartbeat and butterflies to know you have identified your partner in life, in actuality, I would go so far as to recommend against those feelings.
So what do you look for?
Sometimes it is better to take something away from the list, than add to it. Why is a University degree, or worse, a specific University so important to you? It doesn’t signal intellect, it doesn’t signal curiosity, kindness or even an ability to express complex ideas or understand another person’s perspective.
It does tell you that either they or their parents were wealthy enough to pay for accommodation and tuition, that their parents didn’t need them to bring an income into the household, or that their lives in their teenage years were stable enough to consistently attend University.
But it doesn’t tell you much more than that.
So rather than thinking of reasons not to date someone, think of reasons TO date them.
Why Your Love List is Failing You
I want you to imagine the following scenario:
You are at a dinner party. You are seated next to the most incredible human being. Smart, funny, socially aware, relaxed in your company, and you in theirs. Until you make the most devastating of discoveries. They are dating someone new, a friend in common, they were introduced by your host.
You are shocked, horrified, the person for you, was introduced to their partner by someone who knows you are single?
Someone who knows you are searching for love? And yet they didn’t put your name forward?
You feel that feeling in the pit of your stomach. The one that you know you will wake up tomorrow, wondering what is wrong, until you remember the night before.
You corner your host in the kitchen. Why not me? Why wasn’t I introduced?
And they come back with this response:
“But she doesn’t like tennis, and you always said you could never date someone who doesn’t have a Wimbledon debenture!”
“He hates skiing, and you always say your annual week away is a dealbreaker”
“You said private school educated only, and she attended a comprehensive”
And your jaw drops.
When presented with someone, a good person, funny, witty, or just.. someone with something about them. All of this criteria you built up over the years? It goes out of the window.
So don’t wait until it is too late, when you are searching for love you need to remember these 5 Golden Rules:
- Be open
- Be optimistic
- Don’t put barriers in your path towards love
- Don’t expect lust at first sight
- Give people a chance to shine
And most importantly of all, remember that Love is Not A List, don’t put barriers in your path to finding true love, and instead find someone kind with whom you can develop the slow burn.
Gillian McCallum CEO
If you are ready to meet someone special, contact the friendly award winning matchmakers at Drawing Down the Moon Matchmaking.