As use of the Internet for communicating, shopping, research, and nearly everything else has exploded in recent years, online dating has followed the trend. Online dating, which incorporates all the above activities, has been promoted from “fringe” behavior to solidly normal behavior embraced by sane and savvy adults. And as online dating sites attract hordes of people in search of Mr. or Ms. Right, it becomes increasingly harder for those seekers to wade through the swelled ranks to find someone they’d really like to meet.
Enter the online dating concierge.
What exactly is an online dating concierge?
Also known as a dating consultant, online matchmaker, virtual dating assistant, or dating management service, these professionals do the tedious work for busy singles who would like to find a date, but just don’t have time to look. The concept parallels the outsourcing of anything else we don’t have time for: cleaning our homes, making phone calls, doing errands. Except that dating is a far more personal endeavor than any of those tasks, which is why dating concierges must have a special set of skills.
People who benefit from the services of a dating concierge also include those who have difficulty expressing themselves in words, so the best dating concierge is part expert communicator, part sleuth, part shopper, and above all a “people person.”
Is a dating concierge for you? Think through the following questions to find out:
Can you afford it? Dating concierge services are aimed at people who have little free time but some disposable income. Price structures vary, from monthly fees to per-match fees, usually with an up-front cost of some sort. But figuring the cost of your time if you do this “drudge” work yourself, it may well be worth it to hire it out. That way, you’re not too tired to date when you do find someone you like!
Can you find a dating concierge you “click” with? As online dating sites proliferate, so do dating concierge services. Using all the search terms above–dating consultant, online matchmaker, virtual dating assistant, dating management service–check out who’s in the business. Take a look at their “slant.” You’ll need to be on the same wavelength with the concierge before you can hope to be on the same wavelength with the potential matches they find for you. And don’t forget to notice whether their website has a lot of typos and misspellings. If it does, do you want this person handling your introductions to your potential matches?
Dating tips for men? This question has several parts.
First, how much communication are they going to “handle” for you? You may not want to set up a “Cyrano” situation where you’ll eventually have to confess that someone else has been pretending to be you. Find out up front how the concierge deals with this.
Second, are they a good communicator? What are their credentials? Are they a writer, a speaker, a psychologist? Find out up front how the concierge is qualified for this job.
Third, what are you going to do when it’s time for you to step in and begin communicating with your potential matches? It needs to be a smooth transition. Having your dating concierge make the initial contact is not unlike having your secretary make contact with a business connection; it’s not inherently dishonest. But make sure you’re prepared to meet people for real, and aren’t just postponing the inevitable by having someone else talk for you.