Real Dates, Self-Love, and Standards
Married and living in the great state of New York, Paul Carrick Brunson is a professional matchmaker and one of Oprah’s go-to love coaches. The 37-year-old, who began his matchmaking career in Washington, DC sat down with CAPITOL STANDARD to talk love in a hook-up obsessed culture.
How did you become a matchmaker?
“It was in DC actually. In the summer of 2008, I was running a summer camp and we had 100 students in the camp from mostly low-income households. I noticed not one child came from two parent households.
I went home that night and talked to my wife and we talked through what we could do. Then my wife said as a joke ‘Why don’t you become a matchmaker?’
We started inviting single people to our house and calling them “brown sugar” parties. I saw that these people got so much out of watching me and my wife interact. We decided to have married couples host events around the country.”
What was your dating life like when you were a young professional?
“I had a million girlfriends between high school and college. I started really early– like kindergarten. By the time I was in my mid-twenties I met my wife and realized literally everything I did when I was with her was better.
Because of her I was doing better in school and felt better about myself. I realized I would be a fool to let this person get away.”
What are young professionals focusing on when dating that they shouldn’t be?
“I think young professionals have these five issues:
Self Love. Self-love is low. Don’t even think about coming into this dating game without truly loving yourself first.
A Lack of Vulnerability. You believe you can be in a committed relationship without being vulnerable.
Are You a Match? You are unable to determine if someone is a good match for you.
No Standards. You simply meet men or women and date them. We are in hookup and hang out culture. The average single hasn’t been on a real date in the last 2 years.
Lack of Hard Work. Last but not least, hard work. I don’t see people going as hard on their relationship as they do at work or in the gym.”
How does one determine if someone is a good match?
“Get comfortable with yourself. What are your values? What are you living for? Truly knowing the answers to those questions helps you determine the best person for you.”
What are your thoughts on office romances?
“It makes sense that you would find someone at work because you are there all the time. But you have to keep in mind that most data suggests the relationship will not work out. Also, your professional reputation is on the line. You have to be able to draw a line.”
How should young professionals determine when to pursue something and when to let it go?
“Think about your top values, your non-starters, and things that directly impact your health and happiness. Like you’re asthmatic but in love with a chain smoker. Something isn’t right there.
And which is more important, physical attraction or chemistry? Some people say chemistry is physicality; some people say it’s a warm fuzzy feeling. The danger there is that people don’t really know what chemistry is so they say they didn’t ‘feel that spark.’ Do you know what a spark feels like? Do you know what you’re looking for or expecting to feel? Chemistry has very little to do with physical attractiveness.
Ultimately young professionals need to understand that a successful relationship is about problem solving and communication. And they need to start going on real dates.”