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Blind Dates from Hell

Dear Philippa,

I keep asking myself why I keep bothering with blind dates. I'm a business professional. I joined a reputable matchmaking service and the guys they set me up are so off base it's scary. It was bad enough when friends would fix me up with another winner but now I'm paying for it? Help.

�Suze, Springfield, MA


Dear Suze,

A friend of mine refers to them as B.D.F.H. (Blind Dates from Hell) because with some people you just want to shut your eyes and ask "Why Me?"

The concept of hiring someone to go out find you a great guy is a very appealing concept. It's like having a personal shopper for your love life. But you do pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to be introduced to some "special" men. I've used matchmakers too and I know how you must feel. I hear similar frustrations from students who attend my seminars. Here are some ways you can have more satisfactory experiences with matchmakers.

Before you sign up, you need to find out find out how broad their screening process is. Typical compatibility surveys focus on very general criteria like age, height, schooling, common interests, etc. These factors alone will not guarantee a good match. Your matchmaker needs to take personality and style into account too. Ask yourself, is the kind of screening the matchmaker does going to produce the kind of matches you want? Come to an agreement about how the matches will be selected and get that in writing. Don't be oversold by matchmakers that tell you they represent the most handsome, beautiful, smartest, richest clientele.

Start by educating your matchmaker to the kind of person you are looking for. And, not just about the packaging since what a person looks like is the easy part. It is your responsibility to be clear on the kind of person you want to meet and then make sure the matchmaker understands what you want. If you're not clear, bad matches are not really the matchmaker's fault. Even the best matchmakers are only as good as their clients are at defining what they want.

Don't expect to have a ton of dates that really fit your criteria. If your goal is to date a lot, use the web or some other activity. You pay a matchmaker for only a few select matches and it can take quite a while to find these kinds of people. Are you willing to wait for the best?

Don't use up your matches just to get out or let yourself become the token eligible client that goes out with all new members. Figure out how much each of your introductions is costing you then ask yourself if its worth that amount to go out on a date with just anyone?

There are many happy couples who have met through matchmakers. But dating services and activities that result in just blind dates are not everybody's cup of tea.

When it comes to choosing ways to meet people my first rule is that you select activities where you feel most comfortable and at your best�where you will naturally appear more attractive. My second rule is that you use several different ways to meet people concurrently. While you are using a matchmaker you should also have some fun meeting men through a different mechanism, like a sports, cultural, or activity club, etc. This helps protects you from getting needy or desperate and then accepting substandard dates from a matchmaker.

Just because you're a busy professional doesn't mean you are best served by hiring someone else to do the searching for you. Recognize that whatever your schedule, if you are a highly visual person with strong image consciousness you will probably do better at video dating clubs, recreational clubs, dining clubs and other activities where you can see and be seen and avoid blind dates.

Just about everyone who dates has a B.D.F.H. story. These are the stories that keep your married friends chuckling and happy they're not out-there dating. Believe me they'll miss your stories when you're out of circulation�which you will be very soon when you empower yourself to bring the right person into your life.




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