Today we're joined by author Laura Lee Guhrke, whose When the Marquess Met His Match is all about matchmaking and the course of true love. While Laura's book is a historical romance, the tips her heroine learns in the course of her matchmaking apply to modern times as well. Thanks for being here, Laura!
In my latest historical romance, When the Marquess Met His Match, my heroine Belinda Featherstone is the Victorian equivalent of Match.com. Belinda’s specialty is the transatlantic marriage, setting up American heiresses in search of social acceptance with British peers in need of cash.
In Victorian times, true love wasn’t really the goal. Marriage was, and that made pairing up pretty easy. People had a huge social network of family and friends to present men and women with possible partners for life. Nowadays, however, things are a bit trickier. You see, we expect love, too.
Love is a tough thing to find. Going on dates, the tried-and-true method of our parents and grandparents, has become like ballroom dancing: it’s great, but no one knows how to do it anymore. And networking has become a superficial “friend each other on Facebook” kind of thing that doesn’t do much to match people up. Despite a plethora of dating sites and living in the information age, studies show that most people who find love still find it through family and mutual friends.
You would love to set up some of the singles you know. Do matchmakers like Belinda have any tips that could help you out? Why, yes, they do!
Top 10 Matchmaking Tips
1. Keep an open mind about the singles you know. Just because you didn’t click with that guy who works in your building, it doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be perfect for your friend, Susan.
2. On the other hand, if that guy was a jerk to you, he’ll be a jerk to her, so don’t set your friends up with people you genuinely don’t like. It’s insulting to your friends and ultimately pointless.
3. Never set up anyone with a person you secretly want. That’s just a train-wreck waiting to happen. For everyone involved. Be honest with yourself as well as your friends.
4. Be sure your friends are genuinely okay with being set up. If they say no, accept it graciously.
5. Be honest in your descriptions, and yes, have pictures to show. Like it or not, physical traits are important to people, and study after study shows that people of similar attractiveness are more likely to click. As much as we love reading love stories about the plain-Jane spinster and the gorgeous millionaire, it doesn’t usually work that way in real life. The gorgeous millionaire will want and expect the equivalent of a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader (with brains). Brutal, but true.
6. No mud-against the wall matchmaking. Don’t just randomly throw people together and cross your fingers. Find out what your friends are looking for and what is important to them. Ultimate deal-breakers you should watch for: religion, desire for marriage, and desire/ability to have children. Possible deal-breakers: geography (most long distance relationships don’t work out), timing (he’s in therapy after his ex put him through the ringer in divorce court last month), politics (Mary Matlin and James Carville are the exception, people), and lifestyle (meat is his only food group and she’s a vegan).
7. Take risks. This is in direct contradiction to rule #6, which is why effective matchmaking is an art. If one of the above “deal-breaker” scenarios is in play, but your instincts tell you they’d still be perfect together, go with your instincts. As long as you’ve followed Rules 2-5, that is. Honesty is always the first priority in set-ups, so warn the vegan she’s meeting a meat-lover. If she’s okay with that, and so is he, go for it.
8. Be considerate and subtle. If you are introducing them in person, don’t just throw them together at a bar or party, and walk away. If you’re the party host, don’t make them the only two single people there.
9. Don’t go into matchmaking with any expectations about the outcome. This was Emma’s big problem in Jane Austen’s novel. She had expectations about every match she tried to set up, and the result was a lot of hurt feelings (okay, yes, and comedy, too—but you don’t want that sort of humor in your own life, do you?). In setting people up, don’t have any preconceived expectations. If it doesn’t work out, despite all your preliminary research that said they’d be perfect together, don’t take it personally. Accept that love includes chemistry. If they don’t think they have it together, they’re right.
10. Don’t interfere. If they do get together, great, but just because you brought them together, you don’t have a say in how they handle their relationship. Butt out.
There you have it. Everything you need to know about matchmaking in our modern age. And as someone who was “set up” by well-meaning friends and ended up marrying that wonderful guy, I can say from my own experience that matchmaking does work, and I will be forever grateful to the brave friends who pushed us together. So, now that you know how to do it, go help your friends find true love. Or at least try to get them to go on a date. Who knows? You might be at their wedding a few years from now.
New York Times bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. The author of many historical romances, Laura has received many literary awards, including romance fiction's highest honor, the Rita Award. When she's not writing, Laura spends her time skiing down the slopes and wakeboarding across the lakes of her beautiful home state of Idaho. She loves hearing from readers, and you may write to her by visiting her website: www.lauraleeguhrke.com.