Welcome to CarpeDM’s Black Women Deserve Series: Empowering our community one class at a time. This is a video series curated exclusively for the CarpeDM community where industry experts share advice aimed at helping our members improve their dating lives and find love.
This Black Women Deserve Series features professional matchmaker and dating coach, Brooke Fitzpatrick who reveals her matchmaking secrets for a successful dating journey. We call it Matchmaking 101: The Secrets to Success!
First things first, what is matchmaking?
Matchmaking is the process of matching or arranging a romantic connection between others. This may be familiar to some of you who have family members who have been trying to set you up with their co-worker’s son (who they say is the best thing sliced bread) for the past five Thanksgivings. (side eye emoji) But professional matchmaking is a service many singles have never considered a real option to improve their dating prospects – especially in the Black community. While today’s dating culture has a myriad of opportunities for us to “swipe” and an endless stream of profiles to sift through – it’s becoming increasingly hard to find the right match. Essentially, dating apps have you playing matchmaker based on a couple of photos and a 200 character bio! How’s that working out for you by the way? How would you rate your matchmaking skills?
Well, it’s probably safe to assume if you’re here, you need some help finding your person. Ready to learn how a matchmaker can help make your journey more intentional and successful? Let’s dive into the series!
Our expert, Brooke, is the founder of Mosaic Matchmaking and has first-hand experience with dating, and after succeeding in her search for a mate, her goal is to help others find their person. Brooke saw that populations of color were underrepresented in the dating services industry and she wanted to change that! She helps people improve their dating journey by making it more intentional despite how challenging dating can be. “I think the unlimited options mindset, coupled with people not truly knowing what they want, creates a paradox,” explains Brooke. “Matchmaking services like mine and CarpeDM can offer daters a solution to some of the biggest issues with the current dating culture by offering clients a personalized service that focuses on intentional relationships and providing efficiency.”
While dating without apps seems like a thing of the past, Brooke wants to help people understand the value of matchmaking services and the importance of trying something different to get better dating results.
We know what matchmaking is. So, who and what is a matchmaker?
The role of a matchmaker is to help singles find love by introducing or arranging for them to meet – traditionally for a compatible long-term relationship or marriage. By making your dating journey more intentional and focused on vetted compatible matches, the chances of finding the right relationship increase dramatically.
A good matchmaker starts by getting to know their clients through a series of interviews, assessments, or questionnaires. This process allows the matchmakers to get to know you and understand your background, motivations, lifestyle, and dating preferences. With this information in hand, they can identify what type of person would be a good match for you. Most matchmakers already have a database of singles, but they also utilize their networks to scout the best matches for you. Then they conduct a vetting process to make sure the matches are compatible with you before making an introduction. A matchmaker is a personal, very highly skilled dating assistant!
Brooke and CarpeDM uniquely specialize in working with singles who are satisfied in their personal and professional lives; all they’re missing is a romantic partner. A personalized matchmaking service that guarantees privacy and confidentiality is ideal for busy clients who can’t commit their time to use dating apps or in-person meetings with strangers that may or may not be a match (or just a plain bust!). Matchmaking can reduce the number of bad dating experiences since curated matches ensure a certain level of compatibility by prioritizing aspects such as shared interests, dating objectives, and relationship expectations.
Matchmaking is not one size fits all. Working with a black matchmaker means bringing increased value to the black community, given the massive gap in the matchmaking industry. Most matchmakers cater specifically to white people. A quick look at our competitors’ websites is all you need to see they don’t prioritize, or likely even understand, the needs of black professional women. A black matchmaker understands there are acute issues and challenges specific to black women. For example, black women make up the most educated group in the country, but we are also the group that holds the lowest percentage of marriages compared to white and hispanic women. This has to change!
The best matchmakers will advocate for their clients and support them through the dating process while staying realistic and encouraging.
We’ve given you enough definitions. Now… what’s your role, responsibilities & expectations in all of this as a matchmaking client?
Matchmakers have different ways of screening and getting to know their clients, including formal and informal client interviews, various personality assessments and dating questionnaires, or even reference calls with friends and family members. Singles should be open to the process; it is crucial to share information about yourself and trust the matchmaker. You must be open to sharing pertinent information about your past relationships and answering the matchmaker’s probing questions. This is the way for your matchmaker to curate the best matches for you; hence it’s vital to establish rapport through trust and honesty.
A successful outcome will be impossible if you’re closed off and won’t let your matchmaker in. You must be open and honest and your matchmaker’s job is to be real with you. “If we notice a pattern of undesirable behaviors and unrealistic expectations, a good matchmaker will discuss these with you,” says Brooke. “I have had several real conversations with clients to make sure that we were on the same page and that they had realistic expectations of the process.”
Matchmakers are neither miracle workers nor therapists! While you can have a list of the things you desire in a partner, when you’re working with a matchmaker, the focus will be on compatibility first and foremost. On that point, Brooke explains, “We care and we want to make sure that you’re at least attracted to your potential match, but when you come to us with a list, it is a limiting belief of yours, and it limits our ability to find someone that may be a great fit for you based on things that truly matter.”
But what does compatibility mean? For Brooke, alignment and balance on personality, values, beliefs, and lifestyle are essential for a good match. You have to trust your matchmaker to do their job, which means, not putting yourself or anyone else in a box. Further, you must remember matchmaking is an introductory service. While most matchmakers stick around — and serve as a resource or dating coach for their clients beyond the initial introduction — the relationship’s progression is the responsibility of you and your match.
“I have to give the analogy of going to the doctor. In this scenario, your Matchmaker is the doctor. Now, you go to the doctor to help cure or diagnose a specific issue. In this case, helping you find a program. The doctor does their part by diagnosing you. They may give you medicine or a treatment plan, but once you leave the doctor, you must make sure that you fill your prescription, take your medication, eat healthy, exercise, and show up for any follow-up appointments. And this is the same for any relationship.”
Time to meet your match! How to make an excellent first impression.
Now that the roles of client and matchmaker are clear, what’s the best way to approach a first date with your new match? Brooke’s walkthrough of virtual first dates and meeting your match for the first time in person covers first-date expectations and the secrets of making an unforgettable first impression.
When the pandemic started, it turned the dating world upside down, but a trend that emerged while dating during the pandemic, and it’s here to stay, is virtual-first. “There are several benefits to virtual first dates, and that includes making sure there is chemistry before investing time and money in an in-person meeting,” says Brooke.
Scheduling virtual dates is a lot easier than setting up in-person meetings. Amongst other perks brought by pandemic dating, virtual dates often allow you to connect with someone sooner, confirm they look like their photos, and give you more flexibility to date outside your local area. “Quite frankly, it is less stressful than getting ready for an in-person meeting.”
Before showing up to the first date, Brooke always gives her clients and their matches some talking points or facts about the other person so they can get the conversation going. “My advice is to re-read your match’s CarpeDM profile and pick things you find interesting or have in common to focus on your date.” Brook also recommends checking your background and making sure you have good lighting, a comfortable space where you won’t be distracted, and ensuring that you look good – put effort into your appearance.
If you’re meeting your date in person for the first time, Brooke always recommends not to have expectations. This even applies to virtual first dates; the goal of a first date is to have a good time and genuinely get to know your match and uncover any similarities, shared interests, or things about them that catch your attention. First dates aren’t for you to determine if this person will be your future bae. You’ll have plenty of time for that later. The focus should be on genuinely getting to know your date as a person and having a fun experience together.
“I honestly recommend that the first date is laid back,” says Brooke. “Keep your word and show up when you agree that you’ll show up. I suggest confirming your plans for an in-person meeting the day before to ensure that you have concrete details to go by.” She also suggests doing your research ahead of time. Recalling the last couple of conversations and preparing for the in-person meeting, such as making sure you have various dating conversation starters or booking nail and hair appointments. “I plan my life around when I wash my hair, so I completely understand. Consider what method of transportation you will use to get to the date ahead of time, and make sure that you factor that into your traffic time. You don’t want to be late, and if you are running late, make sure you text your date to give them an updated estimated time of arrival.”
Getting to know your match after the first date.
Once the first date is over, people wonder how often they should talk to someone they’re getting to know. As expectations start to build and boundaries are set, dating warning signs and dating green flags emerge. This part of our matchmaking series with Brooke covers the next steps after having a great first date. Brooke suggests, “don’t put too much focus on who is initiating the next meetup or who reaches out first. If you’re interested, there’s nothing wrong with letting the other person know.”
The first few days as you get to know your match should still focus on having a great experience while exchanging information and experiencing each other in different settings. This allows you to see different sides of your match’s personality and interact with them in different situations. Brooke also recommends planning to experience something new together, “whether you’re both trying a new restaurant for the first time or meeting in a different part of town that neither of you had explored before, shared experiences bond people.”
Once you and your match have gotten beyond the first handful of dates, you can get to know them deeper and evaluate their character towards a long-term relationship. You should strive to see how this person reacts under pressure, how they resolve conflict, how they interact with other people, how they respond to good and bad news, and how they behave when facing difficulties or experiencing rainy days.
Evaluating your potential partner’s non-romantic relationships is also key to understanding how they would fit into your life and its people. You’ll want to know their relationship with their family, who is in their friends’ circle, the person they look up to, and who holds them accountable. “Not only should you know who makes up their circle, but you should also understand the role that your match’s friends, family, and mentors all play in their life,” explains Brooke.
In the fourth episode of this series, Brooke also talks about when to become exclusive. She argues you should leave your options open and date multiple people until you can adequately evaluate your matches’ character. Once you have evaluated your matches properly, it’s time to consider taking things exclusively. “I always encourage women to be confident expressing their thoughts and desires. However, do keep in mind that becoming exclusive has to be a mutual decision.”
If you feel like your partner isn’t motivated or hasn’t brought up the conversation of confidently being exclusive, don’t ignore the signs. While you don’t want to give someone an ultimatum or pressure them to take a step they may not be ready for, make sure that you have a conversation and point out the mutual decision to become exclusive. “Don’t ever assume that you’re exclusive just because it doesn’t appear that you two are dating other people,” recommends Brooke.
What are green flags? –– How to keep momentum in a new relationship.
After the ‘getting to know each other’ stage, you should start looking for green flags to determine if this person is worth committing to. Once you are exclusive, how do you shift from getting to know each other to moving towards marriage or a long-term partnership?
While witnessing red flags in dating confirms that your partner is emotionally unavailable for a healthy relationship, green flags signal that your match is in a good position to maintain a healthy relationship with you. Some green flags include:
These indicators can establish the foundation of a healthy relationship. So, how do you keep the momentum going in an exclusive relationship?
It is important to create bonds to make sure your relationship is progressing. “A relationship best practice is for you and your partner to identify a hobby you both enjoy and share. That can be playing a sport, music, traveling, DIY projects, gardening, volunteering, whatever it is, but make sure that is something you both enjoy doing and can often do together.”
Brooke also mentions that it’s equally important to make sure that you keep your individual hobbies. Spending time apart doing your activities and growing as an individual is crucial to be the best version of yourself. It’s also beneficial to have positive examples of other couples in your life to help keep you accountable on your dating journey.
In addition, making sure that you and your partner are aligned is key to guarantee you and your match are moving towards the same goal. “Whichever route you two have chosen for your relationship, then make sure you check in periodically on your progression towards your dating objectives.” While Brooke doesn’t recommend putting timelines on relationships, it is important to evaluate that your relationship is moving toward your goal.
Let’s recap what Brooke taught us!
Before dating apps, there were matchmakers. For those wondering how to meet people without dating apps, matchmakers can play a huge role in your journey towards finding love. However, the time and effort you put into your personal growth and building healthy relationships determine relationship success. A matchmaker can significantly streamline your search process and help you find love without having to kiss every frog in the pond. They can not only save you time and money but also coach you into building healthier relationships with a partner that fits you and your lifestyle.
As a matchmaking client, you’ll receive professional assistance to ensure you make an unforgettable first impression and build upon it by creating bonds with your best matches until you’re ready to start an exclusive relationship with a potential long-term partner or spouse. Your matchmaker will teach you how to keep the momentum going in your relationship to ensure you are doing the work and putting in the effort to achieve your relationship goal!
If you enjoyed this series, follow Brooke Fitzpatrick on Instagram at @mosaicmatchmaking. To access the complete Black Women Deserve series or begin your matchmaking journey, apply to join CarpeDM, the most exclusive dating community for black professionals.
Seize the Dating!