Cliff Notes on Love: A Matchmaker's Simple Advice for Couples & Singles

Couples recovering from the excessive togetherness of 2020 should approach Valentine’s Day 2021 with a fresh perspective, says New Orleans relationship expert and matchmaker Ann Parnes. 

“You have to continue to date your partner,” explains Parnes. “Remain curious. Don’t think you know everything about your partner because that’s when it gets boring.”


“Try new things – kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding, active vacations. Travel in general is important. Go somewhere where the focus is on the couple and not the daily mundane responsibilities that we all have.”


“You don’t need a huge time commitment. Walk in the park together and have a picnic lunch. “


“Put down phones and computers and get outside as much as possible. Enjoying natural beauty together is important. Even just to watch the sunset.”

Ann Parnes Match Made in NOLA
New Orleans Matchmaker Ann Parnes

As founder of Match Made in NOLA, Parnes arranges dates for a growing list of clients who are serious about finding love and ready to get off the dating app train. While dating apps offer personality profiles and algorithms that match you with a long list of potential dates, more singles than ever are turning to the intuition of an experienced matchmaker.

3.6 million Americans hired a matchmaker in 2020.

Parnes’ is an attorney and former prosecutor. She’s also a certified life coach and witnessed many of her life-coaching clients struggle with dating.

“I had a lot of single clients and even though they didn’t come to me for relationship advice I would look at them and think – wow that person is so cute, who do I know who I could set them up with?”

Two-thirds of those who are single and looking for a relationship or dates say their dating life is going not too or not at all well (67%), while 33% say it’s going very or fairly well. Majorities of daters across gender, age, race and ethnicity, education, sexual orientation and marital history say their dating life isn’t going well. – Pew Research Center

Parnes vetts her clients carefully and, like a forensic profiler, she finds and vetts personalized matches for them: six matches over six months.

It starts with a series of questions. Are you tidy or messy and is that important to you? Are you an early riser or night owl? Are you comfortable with conflict? Do you discuss things when they come up or push it under the rug? What do you have to offer in a relationship? What qualities do you most admire in your friends and people you like to spend time with?

“I have no qualms reaching out to any acquaintances I have and describe what I’m looking for and that’s my favorite way to find matches because you have a personal reference,” says Parnes.

Often it’s not that easy and Parnes has to get creative. For a doctor who was passionate about classical music, she scoured the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra group on Linkedin to find a promising match.

“I have reached out to people I don’t know on Linkedin and Facebook and Instagram. If they’re single and it’s a matchmaker calling and not a scam, they’re usually interested in finding out more.”


“If you’re single you need a dating plan. Really sit down and think about someone you want to meet, and where is that person likely to be?"


“For men, they think they have an age range in mind but that can be very limiting. For women, having a long list of boxes to check – they have to make a certain amount of money, certain height, superficial criteria like that will limit you.”


“You have to put yourself out there. It is not going fall into your lap. And look up from your phone so you’re more approachable. You are surrounded by people at the grocery or pumping gas.”

Finally, Parnes says a growth mindset will help you both find love and nurture it.

“If you’re willing to learn and grow and adapt, that’s so important because things always come up in relationships and you need to stay flexible and open to change.”

1 comment

Loved this interview!

Brenda Springfield February 16, 2021

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published