Looking for love? According to matchmaking guru, Linda Prescott of Ideal Introductions, “what you need is not always what you want”, and Linda should know with over 1000 marriages succesfully orchestrated by her business.
If you’ve ever wondered if you’ll be single forever, you’re not alone. Surely all of us have worried that we are destined to be a crazy cat lady who gets her kicks out of watching Family Feud and writing angry letters to Foxtel.
Deep down we know this is an unlikely scenario, but if you need further reassurance, then I have you covered. I popped in to see Linda in her central Brisbane office, where she bustled in looking fabulous and told me I seemed younger than my age, ensuring I loved her immediately.
An impressive scorecard
Love is the name of the game at Ideal Introductions.
“Everyone thinks their situation is unique, but after 20 years in the business I can tell you there are definite patterns that emerge,” says Linda. “If people give us honest feedback and communication, we can help them.”
The match making process
I was intrigued to learn the details of the process, not in the least because I wanted to squirrel them away for future reference if I find myself needing Linda’s services.
Ideal Introductions knocks back 40 per cent of applicants for a variety of reasons, most of which are to protect the best interests of their existing database of over 700 hopefuls.
So before you start reaching for your phone, you must be able to tick these three boxes:
- Been uninvolved for 12 months;
- Have a healthy attitude towards love; and,
- Have good personal presentation.
The next step is a free consultation with an Ideal Introductions match maker, where the applicant fills out a form that asks for detailed information such as ‘problems in past relationships’, ‘things you enjoy but haven’t done for some time’, and ‘would you be willing to relocate’.
“The initial consultation lasts for over an hour, and during that time we try to really get to know the person,” says Linda. “Half the time I don’t even discuss their ideal partner with them in that meeting, because it’s important to understand who they are first.”
After the applicant has decided to join, they can expect to receive their first introduction within two weeks.
This is where it starts to get juicy. First of all, Ideal Introductions has a strict blind date policy.
“We do go through some photos in the first meeting to figure out what a person’s tastes are, but there’s no photo exchange before a date,” Linda says firmly. “People get too hung up on appearance and the idea of sparks flying. Sparks go out. It’s not the real fire.”
Tips for the date
As a member you also receive a booklet with tips on successful dating and love rules.
“People are completely confused when it comes to dating, especially guys,” she says. “We coach the ones that need it through every step. The ‘Love Rules’ book has tips that seem simple but some people need to learn, like: conversation that is negative or serious can be quite draining and will almost always guarantee no second date.”
However, the guides also contain invaluable pearls of wisdom about topics such as greeting your date for the first time, self-confidence and the way you are perceived by members of the opposite sex.
One date at a time with follow up
Members are only permitted to see one person at a time, so forget the multiple swipes right.
“After every date we follow up to see if they want a second date or not, and try to figure out why or why not,” Linda says.
“Statistically, some characteristics don’t go together,” she says matter-of-factly. “I ask people if their priority in a partner is Success, Heart, Humour or Appearance. There are always exceptions, but usually Success and Heart don’t go together, and the funny guy is not often devastatingly handsome. People have to figure out what’s most important to them.”
Linda also tells me that people get mired in unhealthy dating patterns for reasons they might not even acknowledge: “Classic example is the woman who chases the bad boys. Almost always, she will have had a difficult relationship with her father and is subconsciously replicating that relationship. Helping her discover that she can be happier if she steps outside her usual tastes is part of what we do.”
‘We’ is Linda and her team of match makers, all of whom are required to be in a healthy relationship to ensure they can best advise their clients. Most hail from HR or people oriented back grounds and all undergo a training gauntlet of six months or more before they are deemed fully qualified.
Linda’s most valuable advice
“Give people a chance,” Linda says simply. “Be open minded and flexible, and you will discover things about yourself as well as things about the person you are on a date with, and you might find you like these things.”
Linda adds a little extra nugget of advice for all our world-conquering She Brisbane readers, “Take off your business hat and be a girl! Let him see your feminine side.”
I came away from our meeting feeling pretty rosy about the future of love.
Emma Lee is a Brisbane native but lives to travel. She is also a big fan of food, good books and browsing at markets.
Since graduating from Griffith University with a Communications Degree, Emma has put her writing skills to good use in jobs ranging from Media Rep for a rugby team to Marketing Manager for a Japanese ski resort.
Emma dreams of publishing a novel one day and wants to live in a luxury camper van that never stays in one place for longer than a week.