Who's A Better Matchmaker, Your Mom or Tech?

The past twenty years has seen a complete restructuring in dating. For millennia people met their matches by-way of personal introduction. Growing up with similar values usually in similar locations allowed families and/or friends to match the couple. But AI, by-way of dating apps, has infused technology into matchmaking. 30% of US adults have at some point used a dating app or website. And 12% of those adults have found long-term relationships through technology. Still, given it’s February - the month of love, we have to ask ourselves, “who is a better matchmaker?” Is the traditional interpersonal introductions antiquated, or does technology quicken shallow introductions rather than true monogamous emotional connections.


Not everyone has a Yenta for a Mom, Aunt, or Grandmother. But the practice of women making romantic matches crosses over geographic countries, cultures, and thousands of years. It clearly has worked in the past. And in our modern times, family matchmakers have turned into modern-day businesses. Present day matching making group Three Day Rule pairs individual matchmaking professionals with their clients. Matchmaker Alexa Geistman says, “"I meet every single match in person. I ask them all the tough questions,"... "I really get to know the people and make sure that they're like-minded." So even though the clients or potential candidates often find Three Day Rule through an internet search, the importance of a human professional assessing the match is a priority to the platform. In fact, most matchmakers online emphasize their personal involvement. Fortune magazine lists top exclusive membership clubs. These exclusive or high-end one-on-one matchmaking services promote their personal consultations with the clients and their intimate evaluation of potential matches. The take-away is that human intuition for reading chemistry is of higher value than algorithms technology make. 


Matchmakers recognize this personalization isn’t just something to advertise and make money from, it’s the key secret sauce to introducing romantic partners. One expert points out during a “tell all” interview, “Matchmaking isn’t something that can be bought or taught,” she says. “I will meet someone and just know when they are a good match for one of my clients.” In fact, there seems to be a lot of un-quantifiable skills matchmakers need to have. AI hasn’t been able to replicate so far. You need to have strong intuition to read your clients and candidates. You need to be extremely empathetic because you are part therapist and part dating coach. And you need to be able to network network network. A lot of suitors hiring matchmakers have made their career a priority. To the point where they (male or female) need to be discreet about their lives. They can’t upload pictures or AI-finding personal information to an App. It simply would compromise their privacy. These high-net-worth individuals are in more exclusive, smaller networks. The kind where matchmakers hang out. Another attribute human matchmakers value is the ability to tell clients, (some who are used to getting what they want) that their expectations, personality, or timing, simply won’t work out. Sometimes a client or date isn’t open enough for the serendipity of love. Greta Tufvesson and Nikki Lewis, the two Founders of The Bevy, say it best, “we want to make sure people have realistic expectations and the right intentions.” It’s one thing to match potential mates using statistics and organized data, it’s another for those candidates to be in the right mindset for a serious monogamous relationship. 

Couple enjoying wine on a dock


Modern-day matchmakers don’t just filter the basic attributes of age, religion, or other dealbreakers. And they don’t just confirm candidates have the right expectations. They also coordinate the awkward intricate logistics of a first date. Where will the two meet? What time? Drinks or dinner? If a human third party has set this up, there is a confidence that both parties are happy to be there and not guessing or compromising from the get-go. Finally, a modern-day Yenta, can help guide whether there are small interactions that are turn offs. Maybe she checked her phone a few times disrupting the date, or his breath was bad. These details can be “make or break” in the industry and it’s much more pleasant to hear the feedback from an empathetic and professional human, than hear little to no feedback from an AI source. These are intimate and sensitive subjects. It seems as though the human touch in the process not only elevates the process, but also brings compassion and insight into what can be a strenuous endeavor.

Girl looking at her phone in bed

On the other-hand, AI is edging into our lives more and more. Statista online states, “As of 2020, over 32 million Americans are using online dating services.”  Jess McCann, a relationship coach and author, explains how the online dating trends have developed over the years from being a taboo topic to expecting a single to be signed up for a dating app., “Since we now shop, bank, buy, sell, read, write, work, and play online, why wouldn't we date that way as well?” AI allows us to filter though age, income, education, looks, hobbies, and general values quickly. It’s a quick way to connect those like-minded people. Anyone can sign-on and see who the computers have screened for them. Companies like Aimm are popping up. Aimm is an artificially intelligent matchmaker. The makers have recreated the conversations human matchmakers emphasize, “AIMM ensures the best match possible by getting to know the core of your preferences.” The actions and intentions are the same as human matchmakers, though the wording sounds a bit artificial. 


Also, technology has given people around the world, the opportunity to be their own matchmakers. Japan is funding more AI initiatives that help their citizens find love, in order to boost their birthrates. The computers can match income levels, age, hobbies and even values. But some are skeptical, often its feeling financially inept that prevents the young in Japan from actively pursuing love. Sachiko Horiguchi, a socio-cultural and medical anthropologist at Japan's Temple University said, “If we are to rely on technologies, affordable AI robots taking over household or childcare tasks may be more effective." The opinion that it’s not matching that’s the challenge, it’s affording a family lifestyle. Still, technology, at the very least, is adding a channel of opportunity to meet and match with a potential partner. 


Online saves us time and money. It allows many people to have instant access to thousands of wooers. It allows us to solidify our values too. If you know what you’re looking for, and go on a hundred dates from online over a decade, you have assessed why a hundred of those potential matches aren’t good for you - a valuable lesson just as important as it’s opposite. Franklin Bradley, CEO & Founder, TryCupid.com has gone on-record saying, “you get what you pay for.” If you don’t have a lot of time, and want to have a date Saturday night, online sites and apps. Are an excellent way to find a match. But it likely won’t the one. Carole Lieberman, the author of Bad Boys says, dating has changed from a “romantic serendipitous meeting to a virtual shopping spree”. You really need to know who technology can help; quantity rather than quality.

Couple staring into each others' eyes over candlelight

Ultimately, the trend of meeting someone online or through Apps is fading. We are on technology so often, people seem to want this emotionally intimate part of their lives to be more human-based. These AI platforms can sift through thousands of candidates and narrow down the potential hopefuls quickly, but a human matchmaker, be it your Mom or a professional, is likely going to make the best end judgement.

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