In this fast-moving world, I found there are more mature-aged singles than ever. Far from the old belief that bins them as "nggak laku" (past their primes) or "perjaka/perawan tua" (confirmed bachelor/spinsters), most of them are high achievers or successful professionals, and are quite good looking too. Sure, they have personal issues (and who doesn't?), but why to the extent of not being able to see other people?
I asked a few single friends and most of them said that the dating game was tiring, though they still long for serious dating. Their lives have provided enough challenges, but dating means they have to put an extra effort to impress the person they're with. And what a waste all these efforts would be, when after a few dates, they realized their dates are not the persons they wanted.
I, too, am a single woman, and I admit that dating was so much easier back then. But that doesn’t stop me from doing what I’ve always loved: matchmaking. For a long time I’ve enjoyed matching friends, and I seem to have the knacks for it. Lots of couples who met through me are now married with kids. If the sayings were true that a matchmaker who helps couples marry will receive a mosque in heaven, then I am a proprietor of several mosques (and maybe some churches) up there.
The first rule of thumb in matchmaking is that it’s only effective if the persons involved are into going steady, rather than hooking up. An introduction by mutual friends is definitely a safer bet than meeting someone at the bar who aims to make you drunk with the hope of bedding you. Plus, your friend might know what you want better than yourself, which makes it easier to identify what kind of person suits you or you're going to be comfortable with.
Over the years, I’ve seen the dynamics and process of matchmaking changed significantly. There are less expectation when you’re younger, and there is a kind of 'grow together' spirit, as they have fewer to start with and weren't financially comfortable yet.
As my matchmaking subjects become older there are more considerations. Bills to pay, parents and family to take care of. Some of them have to think less of themselves and their wellbeing. Plus, the more seasoned they are, the more they know what they don't want in someone (although that doesn't always mean they know what they want). Rather than 'grow together', they tend to look for someone to 'grow old together' with, because they have achieved a lot of things in life, except a maintaining long lasting partnership and building a family.
Even with these changes, however, several things have remained the same over the last decade, and now I go by these rules when playing the role of a matchmaker:
1. If you can see two of your mutual friends as a couple, then they might have a chance
There must be either a similar or complimentary quality that you spot in both person and sparked the 'aha!' in your brain. It's like knowing which between the 'singkong+keju' (cassava and cheese) or 'keju+coklat' (cheese and chocolate) combos work better.
2. Introduce them as friends and leave them be
The no pressure rule: let's help taking the pressure off them by not reminding them that they're being matched. Introduce them over a simple group dinner/activities. The more people joining the better. Group dynamics help ease awkwardness, and nothing better to start a relationship than being comfortable with each other as a friend. But make sure you stop the subjects from becoming too comfortable and being sucked into the no-turning-back friend zone.
3. Spare us the details, please.
How they interact after the introduction is their business. They are adults and responsible for their own choices and happiness. No need to know if they had a good movie date or if they’d had their first fight. These things don't need interventions.
4. Their relationship outcomes aren't your responsibility.
Some matchmaking works, other don't. If they decide to share their milestones, such as their first holiday together or their engagement, you should be ecstatic. But if things don't work out for them, they know better and it's not your fault.
Detski is a mid-30 single female, who has a committed relationship with 8-hours/day sleep. She currently works in the media world and is aspired to be Charlotte, rather than Carrie, of SATC.