Why did you decide to become a Manchester Matchmaker?
I’m not just a Manchester Matchmaker – Intro NW covers the whole of the North West of England. Manchester is a big part of it though! I’ve always worked with people. I’ve been involved with managing professional tennis stars, run an outreach service for the Citizens Advice Bureau, worked in HR roles and been a photographer (I still keep my hand in with this one). The common theme is people … understanding their motivations, interests, aspirations and sensitivities. Matchmaking was a natural progression from this, and a job where my whole purpose is to make people happy is an amazing job to have!
What makes you different to other companies/matchmakers?
Our personal, committed approach and our focus the North West, where INTRO is the fastest growing matchmaking agency, bringing together single people in Manchester and Cheshire. We saw the North West as the perfect area to launch a modern matchmaking agency. It’s a very dynamic part of the country. The people here are open, friendly and enthusiastic about trying new things. Crucially, there are a lot of single people! We meet all our clients face to face so that we can fully understand what they are looking for in a potential partner. It’s not software and algorithms, it’s real experienced people who will match our clients with potential partners.
What do you like most (and least) about being a matchmaker?
What I love most is the opportunity to help transform two peoples’ lives. Most of our clients have a fulfilled and successful life but would just like someone special to share it with, that’s where we come in – it’s like finding the missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle. Least – it’s never easy to let a client know that a potential match would prefer not to pursue things. It’s our job to then boost their morale and self-confidence.
Do you think the way matchmakers are viewed in the UK is changing?
Definitely. Matchmaking has become a very acceptable way of introducing people, partly due to popular tv shows like Millionaire Matchmaker and First Dates and also online dating sites and apps.
Do you have any funny or interesting dating stories?
Although we’re happy to advise, our clients often decide on their theme and venue for a first date. One that sticks in the mind is a couple that decided to go horse riding as a first date. Both were fairly new to it and the day ended in A&E, with a broken collar bone! I think they found spending the evening at the hospital together quite a bonding experience! My standard advice for a first date is to keep it simple – coffee and a walk, perhaps? You can always move on to tandem skydiving on the second date!
What’s the best advice you would give to someone looking for a partner?
Look for someone with similar values – hobbies and interests are one thing but shared values will help you through more challenging times. And don’t judge a book by its cover! Try to be open-minded and flexible, you could be closing the door on someone with great potential.
What are the most common mistakes people make when dating?
Talking endlessly about previous failed relationships, and not listening – both are boring!
What your greatest success story as a Manchester Matchmaker?
To be honest, weddings are always amazing – not because every client wants to get married but because it signifies that a particular couple are happy to make a total, commitment to each other.
What trends and changes do you see happening over the next few years in the dating world?
I think people are coming back round to the more bespoke service offered by personal introduction and matchmaking agencies. Internet dating sites are hugely popular and can have great success, but there are a lot of people who for various reasons prefer a personalised service with real experienced matchmakers.
Have your met your own soulmate?
Yes, I met my husband at sixth form college, (only a few?!) years ago.
What qualities do you think make for a great partner?
Someone who has your best interests at heart. It’s a great feeling to know that wherever you or they are in the world, they’d do anything for you.
What is the best way for a man to approach or a woman? Is it OK for a woman to approach a man?
Absolutely! Either way is good, but standing tall makes you feel confident, and just be yourself. Come across as relaxed, make eye contact and keep the conversation light.
What is the secret of a long and happy relationship?
Kindness, affection and having fun together.
You can find out more about Manchester Matchmaker Annabel Hannam and her north west dating agency Intro NW HERE