This article was originally published Aug. 17, 2011, on Yahoo Shine.
By Sarah B. Weir, Yahoo! blogger
What makes elite matchmaker Christie Nightingale cry—in a good way? Witnessing her former clients melt into each other’s eyes on their wedding day. What about crying in a bad way? Learning that a client blew a chance at a second date with a great guy or gal by checking their BlackBerry halfway through dinner.
According to Christie, pulling out your cell phone is the number one faux pas people make on dates—and a real deal breaker. She recalls, “I provided an introduction for a charming, handsome, and powerful CEO. He pulled out his phone twice in the cab on the way to dinner, three times during the meal, and again on the drive home. His date informed me there would be no second meeting. When I mentioned this feedback to Prince Charming, he was shocked; he didn’t even realize he was doing it.” She suggests simply turning off your cell and giving your date your full attention. “If you really want a lasting relationship, you have to consider your priorities. Guaranteed, life will go on if you don’t check that incoming message.”
Part psychotherapist, part cheerleader, Christie makes it her business to deconstruct people’s courtship weaknesses and help them woo better the next time. And that business is booming— with offices in New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia, and partners in Los Angeles and London, her database includes over 10,000 men and women seeking a lasting romantic partnership.
Christie points out that no matter what is going on in the outside world, people never stop wanting to find true love. “My business has grown about 30 percent during the economic downturn, singles are looking for something real to hold on to.”
A far cry from the dating sites have mushroomed on the Internet, her company, Premier Match, will turn away a potential client if it seems like his real agenda is hooking up. Not that she doesn’t see a value in online dating. As she puts it, “If you are just ending a relationship and have been off the dating scene for awhile, it’s important to get back out there. Some people approach a date like a root canal—put on something nice and go have fun. It’s only an hour and a half out of your day.”
However, when you are ready to get serious, the excitement of online dating can turn to disappointment. Many of her clients contact her office after failing to cultivate a sincere relationship through the Web. They complain that the people they have met aren’t fully honest about themselves nor are interested in taking it to the next level. Other clients she has are busy professionals who woke up one day and realized, “Oops, I forgot to get married.”
Maybe her own match is the best advertisement for this real-life Aphrodite’s business. She recently celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary with her husband. When asked if he was her typical “type” when they first met, she admits that he really wasn’t but chose to give him a chance because she had so much fun with him. She encourages, “If you meet someone who is caring and funny and smart, stick it out for three or four dates—even if they don’t meet your usual criteria.” She points out that if you stay emotionally open and give it a little time, you might discover the kind of love that grows and lasts.