My friend and colleague, dating expert James Preece, explains how and why using a matchmaker is preferable to using one of the many online dating sites…

Online dating can be a tricky thing to manoeuvre. There are seemingly endless dating websites and apps, and they generally require you to craft a clever profile that draws the right kind of attention. Then you need to maintain that all-important banter online until you both decide to meet in person. Many people tend to lose interest before that initial meeting, which means you never get a chance to make a real first impression. Instead of struggling with online dating, you might be better off considering a matchmaking service. Here’s why:

1. It saves you time.
One of the benefits of using a matchmaking service is the time you’ll save. Instead of searching through online profiles, you’re matched by the professionals. You can then use that free time preparing for the first date with your match. Most matchmaking services partner you with one person at a time, so you can truly invest in each date. As a bonus, many matchmakers will also set up the time and place you’ll meet.

2. No more ploughing through endless profiles.
One of the tedious aspects of online dating is sifting through endless profiles. There are hundreds of singles, regardless of where you’re living. This can make it tricky to find people with similar interests whom you believe you would get on with. Using a matchmaking service, you’ll be paired with people who have similar interests, and matches whom the matchmaker thinks you will click with. Matchmakers don’t accept everyone that approaches them, for many reasons. Although you’ll get fewer matches, the matches you do get will be of a higher quality. This means you’ll go on fewer dates and usually find someone more quickly.

3. It saves you money.
When you’re single, one of the most expensive parts of meeting someone new is continuously going on first dates. When you want to impress a date, you’re likely to want to cover at least half of the cost of the date. If you’re going on lots of dates that turn out to be unsuccessful, you’re likely to be wasting money. Obviously a matchmaking service costs money, but many online dating websites charge for a premium membership too. There are free websites and apps, but you tend to get what you pay for. If you want quality matches, it helps to pay a little extra up front.

4. You can let someone else talk you up.
Many singles get caught up on crafting a dating profile. It isn’t always easy to advertise yourself to potential matches; it takes time and care even for a matchmaker to create a profile. Using a professional service helps to eliminate the awkwardness of talking about your life and interests. A big bonus is that a matchmaker can say how attractive, intelligent, kind and charming you are in a way that you couldn’t do yourself, and explain why they think the match they have chosen should meet you. Matchmakers use a tried-and-tested combination of techniques to learn about who you are and what you’re looking for. This information is used to find matches with similar interests and energy.

5. Find high-quality, genuine matches who aren’t married!
Many singles who seek out a matchmaking service are genuinely single and looking for something serious rather than just a fling. These singles have usually tried various apps and websites without success. Also, many busy professionals often turn to matchmaking services because they are time-limited but still looking for love. With a matchmaker, you’ll get a higher quality of dates. Again, you get what you pay for!

6. Get specialised support and feedback.
Using a skilled, professional matchmaker is a great way to avoid some of the most common dating mistakes. Their feedback will probably be the most constructive advice you receive about dating, and it may prove invaluable in recognising simple mistakes that can easily be changed. Matchmakers offer unbiased support and advice with your interests at heart, which can help you to make adjustments and feel more confident about what you’re looking for. They’ll also be there to help you out when things don’t go your way, and help you come to terms with rejection if your feelings for a match aren’t reciprocated. Many people who’ve used matchmaking services say they’ve learned new things about themselves: from simple discoveries about which colours and clothes suit them, right through to a deeper understanding of who they are and what they need in a relationship.

7. It’s a private affair.
The modern world is a very public place, and very little is private online. However, using a matchmaker is a great way of keeping your personal information to yourself. Although the matchmaker will have access to all your information, it will all be protected by law. Your personal info and photos won’t be plastered all over the website as it would be with dating sites. This discretion should give you a lot more confidence.

James Preece, Dating Coach