A friendsfirst Rant and Rave

by Katharine Gray

December 2010

I  genuinely love my job.  I love talking to most of our clients-I love the things they tell me about their lives- I love the depths of communication we often have- and of course I particularly love the success stories. Yes the wonderful stories of marriage are always uplifting but success comes in many other forms too.  Increased confidence, self esteem, new friendships, new social lives- the list of positive feedback from members over the years goes on.

But of course it’s not all a bunch of roses. Yes many members don’t find the man or woman of their dreams and despite many of them expecting miracles from us and making almost no effort themselves- they still blame us.

There are good days and bad days.  Today (a day in December 2010) was a bad day and I’m exasperated.  First a ‘young man’ is on the phone to me.  Now he’s disappointed with the profiles we’ve sent him to date (2 months into his 2nd year of membership). I think this man is eligible- he’s reasonably good looking, has a decent job and lots going for him. But he’s dissatisfied with all the people we’ve sent him.  Some were too far away (fair enough), others had no picture so he won’t consider contacting them and those close by with a picture he just doesn’t fancy! Is he prepared to give any of them a chance? No absolutely not.  No wonder none of the previous 180 women we sent him fitted the bill either.

We chat on and on but there’s no getting through to him- and no doubt he also thinks I’m not listening to him either. I can see why many agencies don’t want to talk to their clients when clients refuse to listen to any wisdom that just might have built up over years of experience.

And then another call from a girl who has very little to offer herself- she’s unemployed and has little conversational skills and is adamant that she can decide whether any man we introduce her to could be husband material in the first five minutes of meeting.  She’ll accept that most marriages aren’t formed like that but maintains nevertheless that if she meets a guy and doesn’t like him in the first 5 minutes, that giving any more of her time to them is just a waste of time (irrespective of whether they’ve made an effort to meet her, let alone pay for the date!) Oh Lord- and these are so called Christians. Christians who aren’t meant to judge others and yet that is their No 1 attribute as far as I can see.

Of course I know that underneath the anger that we hear from such members is disappointment and a deep longing to meet someone.  But what they just can’t see is that they themselves are their own worst enemy- it’s they themselves that are holding them back.  They can blame us till the cows come home but at the end of the day that’s not ultimately going to help them find their dream partner! And perhaps that’s what makes us care and continue to try to change people’s attitudes and beliefs.  We realise what’s behind their anger and desperately care about helping them realise their dream.  And we’ll do all we can, but we can’t magic people out of the sky!

Sometimes I wonder why we bother.  Why do we spend hours and hours on the phone trying to encourage our members to contact those they don’t immediately feel attracted to, and those who wish they didn’t have to do the contacting first.

After a night like tonight I feel like giving the whole thing up- and then I remember Phoebe (who married John), Steph (who married James), Eric (who married Margaret), Matt (who married Miriam), Rowena (who married Ron), Janet (who married Barrie), Graham (who married Helen), Rachel (who married Ian), Eunice (who married Forbes), David (who married Gill), Irene (who married John) …..the list goes on almost endlessly,- tens of couples who so very nearly gave up, who gave us an earful, or who wanted to leave, or who almost lost hope- who we persuaded to keep going, to keep contacting, to move their boundaries, to change their perspectives… and who somehow, at some time, took an ounce of what we told them…who then met their Mr or Mrs Perfect and are now married. You can read their stories and our input by clicking here.

And people rant and rave and say we aren’t sending them enough people.  Dear folks this agency is for Christians- we are NOT the majority in this country.  The pool is relatively small.  OK do go and join another dating agency like eharmony as I was quoted today but don’t expect to find genuine Christians.

And if you think we’re small in numbers- then read this.  Last month another agency approached us to take over their membership as they were closing. As we gingerly enquired about their membership numbers we discovered they had 5% of the numbers we have! I’m not boasting- I’m just telling it as it is.

Why do I keep going then I hear you ask? ‘Because I genuinely care’ is the answer and as I said at the beginning I genuinely love the job- ups and downs included.

But please excuse me if sometimes I lose my rag a bit.  So often I’m dealing with extremely judgemental, opinionated people who make almost no effort, and who expect the world to be given to them on a plate. Thank God then for those of you who do make an effort, who step out of their comfort zones and who, not surprisingly, go on to form happy relationships- getting everything they wanted but perhaps never expected from us – and by and large we’ve had input and there’s no beating that for job satisfaction. It carries us over on a bad day like today!

How to be the One

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