The Stuff That’s Hard to Hear

We’ve all felt the rush of heat swallow us as we hear something that ignites our defenses. When a personal action, decision, or characteristic comes into question, it’s natural to want to run to your defense with a quick rebuttal and self-assured explanation, but there’s a better way. Receiving constructive criticism is art in mindfulness, and the Kelleher International matchmaking mavens explain why it’s so important to master when you’re looking for love.

Part of our responsibility in helping you meet your match is delivering information that isn’t always easy to hear. During first-date follow-up calls we gather information from both parties and can assess what went well, what didn’t, was there chemistry or could there be – so many things help us begin uncovering your roadblocks. When we find one, it is our responsibility to help you move it out of the way so you can meet your match.

Matchmaker Erin Soskin explains, “When clients come to us we hope they’re emotionally prepared to be open-minded – those that can maintain an open mindset are the most successful. We want to help our clients find their person and often when their date gives a critical piece of feedback they do so in hopes that we can deliver a helpful piece of advice for the future. We give constructive criticism with the best of intentions. I think it can be helpful for clients to view the feedback portion of the dates as an important part of the process and not a lecture or judgment. Every time you listen, hear, and accept feedback you’re taking a step toward the lifestyle and person you strive to be and have.”

At first pass, much of the feedback can feel petty – perhaps investing in a photo shoot, or considering a style update or a look refresher. When considering yourself, it seems trivial – you’re used to you precisely the way you are, but notice how you judge potential love matches at first glance of their image or the moment you meet them. You’re critical. That’s what happens to us when we’re seeking a mate. We can’t help ourselves! That first glance holds the power of getting the first date, and on that date, your first impression shapes the connection. Not so petty anymore, huh?

Kelleher Matchmaking senior matchmaker Patty Russell says, “This is one of the most challenging things we do as matchmakers because we want our clients to be successful! If you’re going to invest in finding the love of your life, you need to present yourself in the best light. We know it’s not all about the look, but if you have a hairstyle or outdated wardrobe that is keeping you from meeting someone, then you need to consider a new look! I worked with a woman who wore her hair very short. She had a lovely face, but her hair gave her a masculine look and hard edge. We had a few separate guys comment during post-date feedback that the super-short cut bothered them; that it would make her look sexier if her hair was a little longer. During a subsequent call with her, I passed on the suggestion that she grow her hair a little which upset and offended her. She wasn’t open to any suggestions, and it kept coming up when she met new men. The moral of the story, it all comes down to what’s inside in the end, but you’ve got to get your foot in the door first. Feedback on looks or presence is data to be considered not a personal insult. Use constructive criticism as an opportunity to enhance what you already have to attract that special someone. As crazy as it seems, one change can make all the difference.”

It’s human nature to be change-adverse, but once you make a change, there’s always a moment of recollection when you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Erin adds, “Sometimes a shift is needed to invite a relationship into your life. Sometimes it might be something as simple as one of these physical changes that allow people to take notice of you easier, or even for you to regard yourself with fresh eyes and wonder. Sometimes just taking a bit more time for yourself – being alone with your thoughts in a relaxed state of mind is key to processing and making thoughtful decisions. Ask questions and be open to what you hear. Ultimately the change is yours to make. Whatever it may be, we hope our clients take the feedback we provide as intended – proactive suggestions from a caring and mindful place, rather than negative commentary.”

Let the feedback you receive during the dating process be an opportunity for growth and adventure. If it’s time for a new hairstyle, pick some favorite cuts and run them by a trusted friend or stylist and go for it! If it’s a new date night look you’re after, find the nearest Nordstrom and take advantage of their free personal stylist services. Go play dress up and find your dating mojo. If you’re too shy and can’t find your confident voice during a date, practice talking to strangers everywhere you go. Small shifts and applied awareness can change your perspective and set you up for success.

Are you currently processing some criticism that was tough to hear? Not sure how to move past the roadblocks? Ask questions or share below and our team of matchmakers is here to help!