She's hot, she's career-minded, strong and has a loving heart. But for two years, she has remained single, not because she does not have a list of suitors to choose from, but she simply has not met her Mr Right.
As a best friend, it has become a priority of mine to match make "Miss A". Every time I meet a guy who's single, it never fails to cross my mind on how I can get him to meet up with Miss A. And recently, my new target for her is a new colleague of mine. Let's call him Mr G.
But I'm finding the role of matchmaker to be quite challenging - not to mention the past few failed attempts at hooking Miss A up with other men - until last week, when Lunch Actually offered the perfect occasion: A masterclass on how to match make friends.
Lunch Actually is a dating agency in Singapore that is co-founded by Violet Lim and her husband, Jamie Lee. To date, the agency has its offices in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand too.
At the session conducted by Ms Lim, who is a leading matchmaker in Asia and has 12 years of expertise in the dating industry, I was quite impressed with a few tips and tricks I learnt, as well as insights into the dating scene.
Here's how it went:
After a round of introductions, we were made to participate in a mini game to suss out what we thought our friend sees in an ideal partner. I listed down eight qualities that I thought Miss A would want in her partner.
Then, we narrowed it down to three qualities, which became "needs".
This exercise helped to give thought to what people ultimately want from a partner and I felt that it was a good exercise to give more thought into the future.
Rather than a general list of wants such as "he or she must be 1.70m tall" or "he or she must have an income of $5,000 a month", it allowed us to focus on what is really important in a potential partner and to look beyond the surface.
Honesty, job stability and close family ties were the qualities that resonated with the group, which was mostly made up of women.
To me, this was exactly what Miss A wanted. Perfect.
Next, we were presented with a set of nine statements and were asked whether we felt they were "fact or fiction". Some statements included "the most attractive people get the most dates" and "a high-flying woman will not date a man earning less than her".
It was good to hear differing views and what people thought. I felt that it provided a good insight into the dating scene and whether people see beyond physical looks, money and social status.
It actually hit me with the realisation that sometimes, we need to give someone else a fair chance and not generalise or stereotype them based on what we think we know.
What really stood out for me and which I find useful in my mission to get Miss A hitched is six tips from Lunch Actually on how to match make my two friends.
If you're in the same predicament as me, you will find these tips useful:
1. Be clear of your intentions
Do not be beat around the bush if you wish to match your friend with a potential date. Being upfront and honest with your friend is important.
According to Ms Lim, you should also ask for permission from your friend before setting him or her up on a date. After all, you don't wish to ruin your friendship over such a situation.
What I intend to do next: Tell Miss A that I have a potential date in mind for her. Let's hope she's receptive.
2. Match your friends according to similarities, not differences
They say opposites attract but in this case, not quite. While opposites might initially draw two people together, this is usually not sustainable in the long run and is only a short term attraction. A couple should have similar shared values and beliefs if they wish to build a future together.
What I intend to do next: I know Miss A, just like a lot of singles, has a lot of 'wants' in her potential partner. However, as Lunch Actually taught me, I tried to assess and narrow them down in the exercise and pinpoint her 'needs'. From the result, I know Miss A would need her ideal partner to be responsible and trustworthy. Doesn't that make Mr G and her a perfect fit?
3. Take note of patterns of your friend's previous dates
Previous dates do not work out for simple and obvious reasons. For your single friend, this might be attributed to a kind of dating pattern they stick to, such as dating the same kind of people every time.
According to Ms Lim, it is important to look out for these "old patterns" as there would not be a point to match your single friend with a potentially wrong match. Again.
What I intend to do next: Miss A likes to date "bad boys" who break her heart almost all the time. This time, I intend to hook her up with Mr G, who is an honest and family-oriented man who I know will sweep her off her feet with his sincerity.
4. Do not turn up at the venue of the date
As a matchmaker, if your single friend and his or her date has agreed to a meeting, you are encouraged not to appear at the proposed venue. This is to reduce the awkwardness which all parties might feel after formal introductions by a third party, who is none other than you.
But Ms Lim stressed that it depends on the level of comfort you are at with your friend as there isn't a cookie-cutter method for introducing suitable candidates to each other.
What I intend to do next: As mentioned above, no, I do not intend to turn up at the venue but I will definitely be following up with Miss A right after.
5. Do not see yourself as God
As much as you want to make sure that your match is one made in heaven, you cannot predict chemistry. Sometimes, a couple may be a great fit on paper, but it might not work out in real life.
According to Ms Lim, you shouldn't be disappointed if you had high hopes for a couple, only to hear from them that they did not end up connecting romantically. Just do your best to make sure that the match is at least 60 to 70 per cent compatible, especially in terms of their values, and the rest is out of your control.
What I intend to do next: Try not to be too hard on myself and expect that she will fall in love immediately. After all, she's been single for so long! And it's important to know that love at first sight rarely happens in real life.
It takes a few dates for two people to build a friendship and ultimately, a romantic connection. But I can help by arranging more meet-ups for drinks as a group with friends around. Who knows, she might like someone with more people she meets.
6. Practise tough love
Some singles may be stubborn and cling on to unrealistic expectations. For this group of individuals, gently but firmly impress upon them that as much as they are choosing, others are doing the exact same thing, which could be impacting compatibility.
For example, if your single friend is open to meeting people who have similar values as him or her, it will be easier to find a match. But, if you have a girl friend who is requesting to meet only men who are 185cm and above, it will be tougher or maybe even unrealistic.
What I intend to do next: Get her to do the "wants vs needs" exercise that I learnt at Lunch Actually. This will challenge her to acknowledge whether her requirements are realistic or unrealistic.
After attending the 2-hour masterclass at Lunch Actually, the tips I've learnt will hopefully help nudge her to a potentially lasting relationship, because at the end of the day, what are best friends for?
I may not be a matchmaker overnight (of course, Lunch Actually has more than a decade of matchmaking experience which makes them the expert in the industry) but at least I know what to look out for the next time I want to help my friends find love!
This article is sponsored by dating agency Lunch Actually.