Karlie Girouard, the self-proclaimed Rhode Island Matchmaker, has been in business for just about four years. But long before she officially started her matchmaking company, It’s Right RI, Girouard was matching couples.
In the years leading up to the creation of It’s Right RI, Girouard successfully matched 14 people (seven couples). Today, they’re all married.
Now that she’s been in business for nearly four years, Girouard has matched nearly 70 people that are in long-term relationships. Girouard said it’s still a bit too early for any of her couples to be married, though she thinks a few will be getting engaged soon.
So what’s the secret to her success? It’s something that Girouard said is mostly a feeling, a hunch that can’t be taught, though she does have plenty of advice for singles looking to find their perfect mate without her help.
Girouard, 35 and a newlywed, said people come to her when they get fed up. Often, they’ve had trouble finding a true love connection, have struggled with online dating, or are newly divorced.
“They’re looking for new options,” said Girouard, who said the dating scene in Rhode Island isn’t what it used to be.
But singles shouldn’t fret; there are still plenty of fish in the sea that can be caught even without Girouard’s expert services.
Here are some tips she offered to singles looking to mingle:
Get out there
Grand openings of new restaurants, bars or cultural hotspots are always great ways to meet new people, said Girouard. She also suggested charity events, where various people from diverse circles come together in one place.
No matter where you are, it’s always important to seem approachable and to be open to small talk.
Don’t be afraid to start a conversation and “make eye contact,” said Girouard.
Keep an open mind
Be open to something new. Girouard said one of the biggest problems she has with online dating sites is that people put too much stock in the photo of the person. Instead, Girouard said people should “see where things lead” with people. Of course, you need to be attracted to a person, but don’t pigeonhole yourself into having a “type.” Don’t let things like education level, career choice or height affect your initial opinion of the person, either.
Don’t be creepy
If you’re going to use a pick-up line, make it funny. Anything else, said Girouard, is creepy.
One of her favorites is sure to make a woman laugh: “Didn’t we go to different high schools together?”
Guys, make a decision
Girouard said most women want a man to make the decision on where to go for the first couple of dates. Of course, there should be the opportunity to discuss the place if the woman so chooses, but most of the time, a woman wants to feel like the man is taking her somewhere.
“Look for new places,” offered Girouard. “Everyone likes to try someplace new.”
Dress to impress
You don’t need to go over-the-top with what you wear, but look polished and presentable, said Girouard.
Women should wear something “casual sexy,” she said. If you’re a jeans girl, wear jeans; if you’re a heels-and-dress girl, go that route. Whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be too tight or revealing.
“That’s just going to attract the wrong kind of guy,” she said.
For men, banish the sweatshirt and put on a button down. A tie isn’t necessary. Sneakers should be swapped for dress shoes. It’s a look she calls “casual sophisticated.”
Stay true to you
If you’re a pub kind of a person, go to a pub. If you like a more upscale place, go there.
“Don’t be something you’re not,” said Girouard. “You don’t need to go to the Capital Grille.”
What’s most important is going someplace you can feel relaxed. But Girouard said to shy away from dive bars and loud restaurants: you want to have a certain element of class, and also be able to hear what your date is saying.
Girouard also suggests a walk or window-shopping as a cheap, fun way to spend time together.
Keep the conversation positive
A lot of people struggle with topics of conversation on a first date, but you won’t have to resort to flashcards if you keep the conversation positive and filled with questions.
“Ask more questions and talk less about yourself,” said Girouard. Use that initial date to find out about the other person, and they’ll likely turn the questions back to you.
Another tip Girouard offered: Keep things “light and fluffy.”
Stay away from topics like exes, and instead talk about things like music, sports or food.
Give it Three Dates
Girouard said the only exception to this rule is if you feel unsafe or have a really terrible time on the first date. Otherwise, see where things go. If you have a moderately good time, remember that people are often nervous on first dates, so a second or third meeting can feel a lot more fun and relaxed. But, she said, if you don’t want to kiss someone by the third date, there’s probably no chance for a romantic relationship.
Save the sex
“Don’t ‘give it up’ on the first date,” said Girouard. “You want to make sure you’re in a relationship with substance.”
Girouard said sex should follow a conversation about the relationship you’re in. Although some relationships can start with a physical encounter, most lasting ones are rooted in an emotional connection.
“Have at least a simple conversation,” said Girouard. “Say, ‘I want to be on the same page.’”
In the end, don’t get discouraged
Girouard said she knows it’s tricky to find the perfect mate, but those who have had bad luck shouldn’t get discouraged.
“They’re out there,” she said, to which she added. “Try to keep as positive as you can.”
Girouard said women often let poor self-esteem get in their way; confidence, she said, is sexy.
Even in her own matchmaking business, it’s not always love at first sight. It takes time to find (or make) a good match.
“You have to date 12 frogs before you find your prince,” she said.
Use a professional
For those who don’t have the time, or just find the dating scene too overwhelming, there’s always It’s Right RI.
Girouard offers services to men and women looking for love in the Ocean State. She conducts an in-depth interview with all of her clients, and also performs a background check to ensure her clients’ safety.
By the time you’re ready to be matched, said Girouard, she can tell you more about your match before you meet them than you’d normally learn by the third date.
Plus, Girouard said, those who come to It’s Right RI are people who are ready to engage in a serious, committed relationship.For more information on It’s Right RI and the services offered by Karlie Girouard, visit www.RIMatchmaker.com or call 480-4889.