7 Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask a Dating Practitioner
From interesting stories on successful matches to what exactly goes on during a meet and mingle event for singles, dating practitioner Dolly Chua of GaiGai – a local dating agency – answers all the questions you’ve been curious about
By Sam David
Matchmakers, dating practitioners – they go by different names, but ultimately, they have one goal: to find a suitable partner for each individual. For the past five years, Dolly Chua, a dating practitioner with local dating agency, GaiGai, has been lending a hand to singles looking for potential life partners. But what exactly does a dating practitioner do, and how does she decide who’s compatible and who isn’t?
1. How do you decide which two individuals to match?
Human touch plays a big part in creating a match. We take the time to have one-to-one chats to better understand each client's background, dating experiences, and what are some of the important qualities they want in a partner. With personal knowledge of each client, we also look out for complementary personalities and compatible life values. In addition to the human touch, we are data-driven and systematic in our search as we need to sieve through a large number of profiles in our database.
2. Why did you choose to be in this business? What keeps you excited and motivated about coming to work?
Knowing that I get to play a significant part in someone’s dating journey and marriage aspirations is what motivates me. The reward is greater especially when a couple enters a committed relationship. I also love meeting people – it’s like making new friends every day – and working with them to increase their chances in meeting new people. When someone calls me to tell me about the great date they had last night and how they are planning for a second date, that's what makes my day!
3. What is one misconception that you think singles have about joining a dating agency?
One big misconception is that people who join dating agencies are ineligible or lacking. I've met many individuals who have great qualities and are simply looking for new ways to meet new people! Just like interest or social networking groups, dating agencies are just another platform where you can expand your social circle.
4. GaiGai organises events where singles can gather and meet each other – what happens during such events, especially how does a dating practitioner facilitate these meetings?
In addition to checking on administrative things like set-up of venue, catering and programme line-up, dating practitioners take on multiple roles like host, emcee and facilitator to ensure everyone enjoys the event. These include creating a welcoming ambience, be it finding the right music, or adjusting things like the lighting and even the temperature, to suggesting conversation topics which are easy for everyone to share something on to break the ice. We will then explain the flow of the event and guide participants to continually mingle and meet other participants. We also keep an eye out so that no one is left out, or step in should there be any tension.
At the same time, we must ensure that the event progresses as planned, whether it’s the food and drinks being served on time or making sure the cooking workshop continues without any mishaps. Timing is everything! At the end of the event, we get participants’ feedback to identify mutual matches (that is, both participants indicate that they are interested to keep in touch with each other).
5. Are there any interesting experiences or stories you’ve heard from your clients?
I remember matching a couple who were highly compatible in their personal values, lifestyles, and even job industries. They then realised they were working in the same building all this while! They are now happily married.
Also, there were a few times my clients forgot or missed the opportunity to ask for their date's contact details. A male client once shared that he had walked his date to the train platform, and just as he was about to ask for her number, the train arrived. She said goodbye, and he felt the door literally (and metaphorically!) close on him. I, of course, did my part to facilitate the exchange contacts in the end.
Man or woman, if you feel a connection with your date, don't wait till the last minute to get your date's number! Also, I always encourage my clients to put themselves on the radar. Some of them are so shy to go on their first date even though the match is highly compatible. Whether through friends, family or a dating agency, I remind them not to be shy about asking to be introduced to new people. Love will not come knocking on your door. Be proactive about meeting people to expand your social circle.
6. Part of your work involves date coaching. What is date coaching? And which profile(s) of individuals would you recommend to take up date coaching?
Date coaching involves coaches working closely with their clients through role play to simulate a date setting. During a typical session, the coach will observe and analyse the client’s body language, conversation style, dressing, and dating etiquette. The coach will then share tips and techniques to improve and work with them to boost their confidence.
I recommend coaching to anyone who is looking to improve themselves to increase their chances in the dating field. Each person is attractive in their own way, and they should present their best to leave lasting, positive impressions during dates.
7. Any advice for singles looking to enrich their dating experiences?
While you work hard, don’t forget to play hard too. Taking action is an important step – so don't always push aside your social life for career or other pursuits. The more platforms and opportunities you explore, the better your chances in meeting more friends you can connect with!
Ready to meet new people and make meaningful connections? Check out the range of fun Spark Connections’ activities happening from now till 20 October! Sign up and receive $100 credits.