A year ago I got together with a new friend in the Lakes Region, where we both live. She was single, successful, a business owner and employer.
We talked about how much we hate dating apps. How the pool of local singles is thinly dispersed over dozens of platforms. How people in rural New Hampshire seem to set their location to Manchester or even Boston. How easy it is to get ghosted, cat-fished and otherwise misled.
She then confided something surprising: she was seriously considering leaving the state if she wasn’t able to form a serious relationship within the next few years. In addition to potentially losing an awesome new friend, I cringed at the prospect of her amazing business closing.
I’ve since spoken with other young people who also see a move to an urban area as the last-ditch solution to finding a partner. I’ve also commiserated with fellow millennials on the trials of making new friends as an adult. (I mean… are you confident enough to walk up to a stranger in your grocery store and ask if they have any vacancies in their squad?)
Stay Work Play’s 2017 statewide survey found 21% of people 20-40 years old were friendless, and 30% of those surveyed thought themselves likely to leave NH. So, after attending their Policy & Pints event at Twin Barns Brewery in 2019, I started brainstorming workable solutions for young business owners and professionals. The most consistent requirement was privacy – no online dating profiles which could be accessible to employees and customers. It was also clear people wanted help sparking new friendships.
That’s the background leading up to Merrymeetings Matchmaker. The office for in-person interviews is discreet and has no signage broadcasting ‘matchmaker.’ I act as a conduit, not a coach, in an effort to keep membership affordable – we meet once and then over the next year, in real time, I call or email with matches. Most clients want to engage both aspects of the service, but I do have some happily married clients seeking a new best friend.
Matchmaking is an efficient dating option, helpful during a pandemic. I’m excited to see Merrymeetings evolve and grow in the coming years!