Kathrin Grüneis was once a client of a dating agency, now she runs one herself. Most of the time, the woman from Kilchberg knows immediately which of her customers would be a good match, but sometimes she is surprised herself. She reveals what you can use to score points on a date – and what doesn’t go down well at all.
Kathrin Grüneis, what enables you to find the right partner for people you don’t know?
Kathrin Grüneis: I worked as a customer advisor for many years and had a lot to do with people. The difference to my previous job is that now I don’t sell a product, but people. I have also had experience with dating agencies myself: I was a client of two agencies and met my daughter’s father with the help of a dating agency. However, the fact that we came together was nothing short of a miracle.
He was divorced, had two children, smoked and wasn’t particularly sporty, so he wasn’t really my type – at least at first glance. But when we talked, I was blown away. He was responsible and so different from the men I usually met. We are no longer together, but our five-year-old daughter is still the greatest happiness for both of us.
You found a partner who didn’t fit your search profile at all: This actually proves that matchmaking is a pure game of chance.
You certainly need a bit of luck. You have to be in the right place at the right time. One aim of matchmaking is also to break familiar patterns, because they have not been successful so far. My intuition helps me to find the right partner. I have often known straight away that two of my clients were a good match, they had a similar story and a similar environment. Sometimes it doesn’t work, it’s a question of trial and error.
“When talking to me, customers sometimes behave completely differently than they would on a date.”
How much competition do you face from online dating portals?
Not very. Many of my customers are not prepared to chat or email for days on end. My clients want to be sure that they will find a real person behind a profile and are looking for a serious relationship. A serious mediation takes time and costs money; I will be happy to provide information about the amount personally. Nobody invests money unless they are serious about it.
If your computer spits out two matching profiles, recommend a date. How exactly does this work?
Of course I work with computer support, but the merging process is largely dependent on my gut feeling. I call my customers and tell them about Peter or Daniela, their characteristics and ideas. However, customers do not get to see a picture of the other person, it says too little. The man calls the woman and they agree to meet, the man invites the lady.
Why the man?
It’s old-fashioned, but I think it’s good when courtship behavior follows the classic rules, then there are no awkward questions. The men generally like it, and the women really appreciate it.
“Well-educated women over 43 with an explicit desire to have children have a hard time.”
Do you receive feedback on how the meeting went?
Of course, that’s very important so that I can find out what customers want and what doesn’t work at all. In a personal conversation with me, customers may behave completely differently than on a date.
Can you give an example?
I have a man in my customer file who is simply incorrigible and talks without a dot or a comma. I have received feedback from several women that he is not interested enough in the other person. The ladies had the feeling that he was simply looking for a woman, no matter what kind, and didn’t feel comfortable at all.
You promise those of your customers who are actively looking four to six dates per year. What if it doesn’t work out?
I can’t do witchcraft, it just takes time and patience. In my case, it took four years before I met the right person. Some of the customers are too shy, others are too aggressive. I once had a woman who immediately revealed her unusual sexual inclinations to me. Then I knew what the sticking point of their previous relationships was. Others are looking for Mr. Perfect and are not satisfied with Mr. Right. Many live under the illusion that love should last forever. I believe more in finding the right partner for the right stage of life – which can last half a lifetime or longer.
How successful are you in finding Mr. and Mrs. Right?
A pair is found every four to six weeks, sometimes without my help. Customers are often suddenly resolved once they have signed up for a dating service. You have the feeling that you have actively done something to combat loneliness and have a positive aura. Recently, a customer of mine was approached by a man on a streetcar because of this.
What does your customer base look like?
I tend to have more women than men. Most of them are between their mid-30s and late 50s, but I also have an 89-year-old. Many of my customers are well educated.
Who is easy to place, who is less so?
I believe that there is a lid for every little pot. But I have noticed that well-educated women over 43 with an explicit desire to have children find it difficult to find someone. Whether someone has ever been in a relationship or not, on the other hand, is irrelevant.
Have you already rejected customers?
Indirectly yes. I don’t want to earn money with someone I know I can’t place. This has been the case twice so far.
How much does appearance, professional status and wealth play a role?
Society has not changed in this respect: Men are more concerned with their appearance. For women, it is more important whether the man has a good job or is well off.
Your best tip for finding a partner?
You shouldn’t get stuck in your own ideas. The more open and relaxed you are in your approach, the better. I’ve often experienced how the boundaries blur during a magical moment. When the eyes laugh, you ignore the big nose.
About the person
The 47-year-old is originally from Bavaria and now lives in Kilchberg with her five-year-old daughter. Kathrin grüneis studied business administration at the University of Augsburg and moved to Central Switzerland in 1996. She worked as a relationship manager in international companies for over 20 years, creating a network of contacts from which she benefits today. In 2011, she fulfilled her long-cherished wish and founded the dating agency “freieherzen.ch”, based at Löwenstrasse 25 in Zurich. (rough)