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Headhunter of the heart

Kathrin Grüneis offers something that is rare in a dating agency: she knows and coaches every client personally. So that the chances are as good as possible – and Cupid’s arrow hits the bull’s eye

On one of those depressing weekends, Kathrin Grüneis was lying in bed. Offended and depressed. The separation from her husband was hard for her. But she wasn’t holding Kleenex in her hands, but the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung”: she was studying the partner ads. Because despondency is not her thing, especially not when it comes to matters of the heart. A few days later, she was in an agency in Küsnacht and had herself put on the register. That was ten years ago. “My friends thought I was crazy for going to a dating agency when I was 35,” says Kathrin Grüneis. But it was the right thing for her: today, she not only has a new partner, but also a new life partner.
her own dating agency “Free Hearts”. Many people think like Kathrin Grüneis’ friends. They think that dating agencies are just for gray mice and those unable to have a relationship, for leftovers. But Kathrin Grüneis doesn’t look like a leftover. More like a modern Amazon. Tall, slim, always on the move, bursting with energy and joie de vivre. One of them only has to go around the block once and has five guys in tow, you think. “I always strike up a conversation with someone,” she agrees. “But if I really like someone, I’m shy.” What’s more, people in their 30s are no longer as open and uncomplicated as they were in their 20s, and are often even tense and stressed. If Mr. Perfect were standing in front of you, you probably wouldn’t even notice him, believes Kathrin Grüneis. Finding the right companion sometimes requires patience and always impartiality. It was the same for her back then. It took years. years in which she “kept getting great men”. Incidentally, the Bavarian-born woman didn’t want to meet her current partner at first. Because she was looking for a non-smoking and childless single man. Her date, however, smoked and had two children. It was still a very nice evening and two years later her daughter Charlotta was on her way. The 45-year-old business economist is enthusiastic about people and also believes in fateful encounters. Nevertheless, she thinks it’s a good idea to give love happiness a helping hand. And because she herself had such good experiences with a dating agency, she founded “Freie Herzen” a year ago. The former relationship manager, who worked in the medical field for many years, says that the work is actually not that different from her previous job. Whereas she used to mediate between doctors and nurses, today it is people with a longing. Even in her 20s, she was known for bringing the right people together. “Girls, I’ve got some good boys,” she used to say to her friends and then invite everyone to a standing party in her one-bedroom apartment, which magically accommodated up to 120 people. The day after, she sent an open letter of thanks with all the coordinates. Quite innocuous. On average, two couples formed per party. Today, she is taking more direct action. She receives her customers in her office on Zurich’s Löwenstrasse. However, they are asked in vain for a portrait of their potential partners. There are no photos. “Photos are always just snapshots. Women in particular often look completely different in real life!” This makes personal discussions all the more important to her. She really wants to get to know her customers. She doesn’t just make them fill out a zero-eight-fifteen questionnaire and then put it in the file. Which does not mean that there are no questions. But they are ones that she has carefully worked out. And she doesn’t just leave the answers at that. She is someone who follows up. Not that someone lists golf as a hobby, but when asked about his handicap looks down at himself and says, “I don’t have anything. It’s all been done before. After a conversation, she writes down her impressions of the person and her associations. Kathrin Grüneis doesn’t just want to make a quick match, she wants to bring people together who are really compatible. She relies above all on her gut feeling. Just like when this urban power lady from the IT sector was sitting in her office and Kathrin Grüneis’ inner bell rang softly. Whereupon she arranged a meeting with a proper landscape gardener with tattoos on his arm and a ring in his ear. The piqued feedback was that it was a bit rural. Then Kathrin Grüneis didn’t hear anything for three months. “They’re both really angry with me,” she worried. But then the letter arrived. “I knew you had something in mind,” the IT lady wrote overjoyed. That was just under a year ago. The two of them are still in seventh heaven. It’s a rare stroke of luck that Cupid’s arrow hits the bull’s eye on a first date. But the fact that he definitely does at some point is because the people who come to Kathrin Grüneis really do have a free heart and are open to a relationship. “I have experienced first-hand that many people looking for a partner on internet platforms simply want to check their market value, hide behind their profile or are even in steady hands.” She doesn’t have types like that. Nevertheless, she has to keep lowering her customers’ expectations. “I won’t tell anyone I have Clooney on file.” Some are even shocked by their honesty. Because you don’t hear from her, great, I’ve got just the right person for you. But rather: Oops, you have three children! I have to ask a few questions. It is not Kathrin Grüneis’ ambition to arrange as many dates as possible. Her aim is to fathom the personality of the person sitting before her full of hope. You receive four to six partner suggestions a year from her. And the advice to take two to three hours for the first meeting, even if the other person doesn’t have the nose you like. “I expect to get rid of someone in a year and a half at the latest,” she says flippantly. A widow in her 70s, who had lost her husband five years earlier but no longer wanted to eat alone all the time and perhaps experience a touch of romance again, even accompanied her on her first date. Otherwise she might end up talking to the wrong person, the old lady feared. But it was the right one: “She still meets with him and updates me every two months on how things are going.” It’s never too late for love. “But it takes courage to start dating again at this age.” Kathrin Grüneis is always on reception for “Free Hearts”.

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Zeitungsausschnitt von freieherzen.ch im Emotion vom Juni 2014