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Suzie Parkus Interview
How long have you been working as a dating coach and matchmaker and how did you get into it?
Gosh, it’s a quite a story.
Back in 2009 I found I had little to no time to see my friends, so I thought I would set up some dinner parties for around 20 people or so on a bi-weekly basis, in order that I could catch with fiends on mass.
A lot of the people who attended my dinner parties never knew each other beforehand. However, that soon changed once they came to my dinners, as everyone was of course so friendly and open to meeting new people.
At the time we were of an age where most of my friends were single and after about two dinner parties a friend asked me if I would do a singles only dinner.
I thought nothing of it and chose a random Thursday night. I took over the downstairs of an up and coming restaurant and we had over 45 people attend on the night. As a result of this, a couple got married, some dates ensued and people made new friends. I should add that I am Jewish and so are most of my friends, so these dinners were geared up to a niche market to begin with. I have always been entrepreneurial and because everyone loved the experience it was recommended that I do it as a business…
Fast-forward to Christmas 2012 and I was being reminded how hard it is to meet new people, especially now that we’re getting older, that there’s less choice out there and that it’s harder to find people in general. At this point I was also single and thought I would see how responsive people would be towards some Jewish singles events. I popped an event page up on Facebook and in within 2 short weeks I had over 500 people on my mailing list. It was then that I knew I was on to something here.
The parties officially began in May 2013 and have been attracting between 100 - 150 people each month. Our picnic last summer reached well over 300 people in attendance as word spread like wildfire. I guess it helped that we has that wonderful heat wave.
These parties are responsible for over 16 couples meeting within 18 months, as well as 3 engagements in the past 2 months.
I have always been known as the go-to-girl when it comes to introductions whether in life, love or business. I’m a natural networker and have a natural affinity for making good connections between people. I think you will see that one person on Linkedin even referred to me as an untapped oil well in terms of my contacts.
During the time I was conducting these parties, I was being asked more and more for personal introductions and the more I was asked, the more it seemed to make sense to set up a formal matchmaking business and that’s just what I did. The same with the coaching, people have confided in me for years and sought advice over matters ranging from life, love and business. I think it helps that I was a business consultant prior to running MeetYourMatch.club. However, in order to be the best advisor to my coaching clients, I went about enrolling on some NLP courses last year so that I could better understand people, their behaviours and advice them how best to achieve their desires.
So as you can see, one thing has very much lead on to another. It started with some inspiration, that lead to an idea, which lead to a Facebook test that worked and here we are just a little over 18 months later.
What’s your top tip for a successful online dating experience?
To be open-minded and to have fun in your communications with other daters. Don’t see dating as a sport or as a means to an end. In life, your experiences are not about focusing so hard on the end goal that you forget to enjoy the journey.
I also advocate being honest, sincere and authentic.
You’ve said that “knowing your value system, knowing who and what makes you feel good will keep you in line to meeting the person who is totally aligned with you.” Can you elaborate on the role of self-awareness in finding someone compatible?
A lot of the time in dating, people strike up conversation based on a reaction that has been triggered by the way someone looks. Beyond that physical attraction, it’s then important to know whether that person is compatible with you and that can only be done through self-exploration. Knowing what makes you happy, what makes you laugh, what makes you sad is something that many are not very consciously aware of.
Similarly, little time is given to what we want out of a relationship beyond the idyllic situation of having a partner. It’s important to know what kind of man or woman you desire in terms of a life partner. Is a good sense of humour important to you? Are kindness, empathy and sympathy in a partner important to you? Is someone who is generous important to you? Do you want
someone who likes to travel and if so are you more of a city or beach person? Just knowing who YOU are will help you better understand the type of person who will best compliment you.
Furthermore, you also need to consider if that person will be a good role model to your children? When I coach my clients, we go through a series of questions that cover the past, present and future and together we make sense of what was, what is and what can be. After this process my clients have a greater sense of clarity as to whom they wish to meet and as a result, are better able to spot that type person even in the busiest of rooms.
You were recently shortlisted for best newcomer individual at the UK Dating Awards, how did you find the experience and who did you most enjoy meeting?
That’s right! I enjoyed the feeling of knowing that I was shortlisted amongst what seemed to be a very popular and busy category. The support and acknowledgement I got as a result felt very positive and affirmed of all my hard work to date.
The event itself was full of buzz, people were catching up with their peers and those of us who are more new to the industry spent time establishing new contacts. I found everyone to be open, engaging, excited and generally interested in who was in the room that night. I enjoyed meeting people from companies who I had corresponded with some 12 months or so ago and putting a face to the name. Aside from this I had a very interesting conversation with the guys from Scamalytics who enlightened me as to the sheer level of fraud which can take place during online dating.
You encouraged your Facebook followers to watch the clip below. It’s a fascinating take on the difference between a soul mate and a life partner. What does a soul mate mean to you and how does that influence your work as a dating coach?
To me a soul mate is someone who can read you without words and is someone with whom you share a really deep level of connection and emotion. Someone who is so in tune with you, that having gotten to know you over a period of time, when situations arise they can just feel your mood and know how best to respond or react towards you.
A soul mate will be attuned to who you are. The relationship will be deeper in terms of emotional connectivity and reach far beyond the physical chemistry that a relationship brings.
What’s a most common mistake you find people making in their search for a life partner?
People are becoming very aggressive in their search. It becomes almost like a sport for some, whether it’s to speak to a certain amount of people online in any given week or to have a certain number of dates lined up per week. Both men and women can feel when someone isn’t fully relaxed as well as the pressure being placed upon them when someone is so eager for a relationship. As I mentioned previously, you can’t enjoy the end destination if you haven’t first enjoyed the journey.
Do you have a favourite website or person you’d recommend for good dating/life advice?
That’s a hard one to answer, as I’d love to say me. I really admire Marianne Williamson for her logical and principled advice and Iyanla Vanzant for having come through the other end of trauma and showing people how to forgive and move on. Often we get so stuck in the past, it can haunt and unsettle our future, this is a message I admire from Ilyanla and something that I work through with my clients.
What are some of your plans for Meet Your Match in 2015?
I am going to continue with my work on radio where I’m the love and dating expert for 2 radio stations.
My book will finally be coming out. It focuses on the mistakes people make on first dates and how to avoid making them yourself
I have some plans to collaborate with people both in and out of the industry to provide a higher level of support and assistance to daters than we do as individuals
I also have something going on which I must at this moment in time keep under wraps. I know that when we launch this project in the next few months, it’s going to make the world of difference to single people in terms of how they think, act and feel towards the dating process.
Who should get in touch with you and what’s the best way for them to reach you?
Jewish singles from around the world of any age and any level of observance. My matchmaking and singles parties are currently geared up towards the Jewish market only, but I do work with non-Jewish matchmakers too when approached by those outside of the faith.
In terms of the coaching, I work with people who are single and looking to attract the right partner in to their lives for long-term love and romance. You can be of any age or religion, you can be single, divorced or widowed, you can be male or female. I am here to help you.