Even as dating apps bloom, some singles still say yes to matchmakers
By Tang See Kit
Dating apps may have become an increasingly attractive platform for singles, but the idea of joining a dating agency and enlisting a professional matchmaker to help find that special someone still strikes a chord with some in Singapore.
SINGAPORE: It was about four years ago when Mr John Gan* first thought about settling down after seeing his close friends getting hitched and starting their own families. But as thoughts of leaving the singles club emerged, the 33-year-old nurse realised that a dwindling social circle stood in his way. Having spent “little time and effort on dating in the past”, the Singaporean decided it was time to change things.
Mr Gan is not alone. While dating apps have become an increasingly attractive platform to seek love and friendship, there are still plenty of singles in Singapore who prefer joining a dating agency or enlisting the help of a professional matchmaker. According to a spokesperson from the Social Development Network (SDN), there has been “continued need and demand for offline dating platforms” even as the growing variety of dating apps and online platforms provide a convenient avenue for tech-savvy and busy singles to connect.
Over at It’s Just Lunch Asia, it is the guarantee of privacy and a human touch in its matchmaking process that have ensured sustained brisk business. According to managing director Anisa Hassan, the agency now has an active member base of 5,000 people and attracts an average of 800 new customers a year.
Apart from singles, the agency also has divorced or widowed clients who are willing to take a second chance at love but remain hesitant about putting themselves out there. “There are more people who are divorced and are stepping forward. They are the ones who want a real person whom they can build a relationship with and are wary of going online,” Ms Hassan said.
The agency, first launched in Singapore 13 years ago and which matchmakes professionals over a meal, also has a concierge-like service that involves Ms Hassan “headhunting” beyond the company’s database for the perfect match.