The Scoop: The dating world has changed dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Ambiance Matchmaking CEO and Co-Founder Leslie Wardman, some of those changes are here to stay. Slow dating has grown in popularity as singles are ready to find partners again, and the right matchmaker can help. Today, many singles choose Ambiance Matchmaking to connect with the right matches — regardless of geography. With the help of its team of professionals, love is bringing new couples together even in these challenging times.

Ambiance Matchmaking CEO and Co-Founder Leslie Wardman has seen some significant changes in the dating world since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic — and perhaps surprisingly, many of those changes will likely become the norm.

Many singles suffered from the isolation that stay-at-home orders and social distancing mandates created. But Leslie said that time also helped people take a step back, get to know themselves, and figure out what they want in a relationship. She said that can make it easier to attract others who are worthy of their time and energy.

As a result, her popular and successful Ambiance Matchmaking firm has seen an increase in business.

Ambiance Matchmaking logo
Ambiance Matchmaking has experienced a shift in dating trends since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“People don’t want to waste their time looking through hundreds of online profiles,” Leslie said. “They have slowed down, spent more time at home alone, and done more self-reflecting and realizing the importance of having the right special someone by their side, especially through challenging times.”

The move from online dating to traditional matchmaking can be a boon for any single, but only if they connect with the right professional. In Ambiance Matchmaking’s “The Beginner’s Guide to Hiring a Matchmaker,” Co-Founder Taylor Wade shared Leslie’s experience starting out in matchmaking in the 1990s. Leslie was given a stack of files and told to match singles, but that’s not how she runs her own business.

“At Ambiance Matchmaking, we have developed a system where, no matter who you interview with, we get to know you and will personally be responsible for matching you,” Leslie said. “We also schedule regular staff meetings to discuss our clients as we believe there is an advantage to collaborating as a team in every aspect.”

Matchmaking Can Have Better Results Than Online Dating

More singles than ever are looking for love online, and many are turning to seasoned matchmakers to help. Leslie said matchmaking works better and saves time that may otherwise be spent endlessly scrolling through online profiles.

“We weed through all of the elements that are important to you and carefully screen and do background checks on everyone we work with. Plus, we apply our own highly developed intuition,” Leslie said. “Working with a good matchmaker can help you get to know more about what you want and don’t want along the way.”

Leslie said she’s been setting up more Zoom matches recently, a method her team used before the pandemic for singles who lived far away from matches they thought were perfect. Many regions are getting back to business as usual, reopening outdoor seating in cafés, bars, and restaurants that had been off limits during the spring of 2021, Leslie said.

“We’ll see what winter brings,” Leslie added.

Ambiance Matchmaking banner
Leslie and her team help singles who want an experience that differs from online dating.

Another big question for daters is the importance of vaccinations. Leslie said she believes that the issue may be the next big dealbreaker for future matches.

Still, she expects many of the changes that have come from the COVID-19 pandemic, including remote work, are here to stay. The new flexibility in terms of geography can dramatically increase the number of potential matches singles can date. But that type of remote dating can also be a challenge for those who aren’t working with professionals to make connections.

“Too much isolation is not good, so I believe the elevated interest in matchmakers is not going anywhere,” she said.

Couples Still Find Love During These Challenging Times

Along with working with a professional, Leslie recommends that singles interested in dating start slowly and meet people as friends first.

“It takes time to get to know someone,” Leslie said. “Let things flow organically without being too robotic about how you think things should be. Stay away from interview-type dates, and don’t overthink. Be in the moment when you’re with someone.”

She also recommended that people move from the texting and chatting stage to connecting either in person, over the phone, or on a video call as soon as possible. She said she noticed that many singles invest too much emotion and energy in texting, and it’s a “recipe for disaster.”

Photo of Ambiance Matchmaking CEO and Co-Founder Leslie Wardman
Ambiance Matchmaking CEO and Co-Founder Leslie Wardman spoke with us about the firm’s mission.

Understanding chemistry with another person takes more direct interaction.

“Hop on a video chat as soon as possible to validate the person and the possibilities,” Leslie said. “If you’re working with a trusted matchmaker, then it’s best to meet in person with the current distance suggested. It’s going to be advantageous as the nuances of chemistry can make themselves more obvious. I’m not saying these nuances can’t be recognized otherwise, but in-person is more intimate.”

She also encourages people to talk on the phone at first, as the conversation will naturally focus on the substance and character of the person rather than their looks and physical demeanor.

Singles who follow Leslie’s advice have found success when dating, even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said she recently saw sparks fly between a 30-year-old tech executive and a well-traveled 27-year-old woman.

“I know how good they looked together, as that’s part of how I gauge a good match because it ups the odds of chemistry,” she said. “Their first match lasted five hours, so you know that’s a good sign.”

New Podcast And Books Offer Smart Advice For Singles

As have many Americans, Leslie said she’s noticed an increase in the divide between people with differing beliefs. But she said that doesn’t have to be a reason to avoid dating certain matches who are compatible in other ways.

“I admire couples that have differences in religion and politics but don’t let that get in the way of their relationship,” she said. “Be open-minded and have a teachable attitude.”

Leslie and her team have been adding to the body of advice they offer their clients and singles throughout the world.

Her business partner, Taylor, recently launched a podcast titled “Date Smart.” While season one focuses on overcoming dating challenges and dating smarter, season two is a miniseries that takes a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to hire a matchmaker. “We want to educate singles on what to look for in a matchmaker and how to avoid pitfalls,” Leslie said of the podcast.

Season three will focus on love and money, a taboo topic that Taylor wants to shine a light on. “I want to equip singles and couples with the tools to openly discuss money in their relationships and treat money as a positive thing in their lives, rather than a negative. I want to change the dialogue and mindset around money.”

Leslie is also working on a new platform, which she expects to release next year, that will help people more easily find dates. She’s also adding to her archive of audiobooks with “Love, Dating and the Beatles” and “Marriage & The Seventeen Year Itch.” That’s on top of the extensive city dating guides she writes for the Ambiance Matchmaking website.

Taylor is also working on a new book, Leslie added.

“We will continue to add more offices where we know the market since we feel strongly about being familiar with the culture in each of our locations,” she said. “I love helping people. It’s pretty gratifying knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.”