The Scoop: Many frustrated singles who search for love online find incompatible partners or those only looking for hookups. But Cara Matchmaking offers those singles personalized, professional, and highly effective matchmaking services. Cara Matchmaking, named after the Gaelic word for “beloved companion,” uses time-tested methods to get results for singles of all ages, backgrounds, and orientations.

Singles who tried to date during the COVID-19 pandemic don’t need a scientific study to know that loneliness can feel like an epidemic.

It’s also worth noting that science supports those feelings. A Harvard study released in early 2021 showed that loneliness significantly affected 36% of Americans. Young adults ages 18 to 25 reported the highest rates of loneliness. The study reported that 63% of respondents had symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Connecting with people during stay-at-home mandates proved quite a struggle for some. Whether young or old, singles can feel alone, even when they have strong support systems of friends and family members.

Cara Matchmaking logo
Cara Matchmaking aims to help people make genuine connections, even virtually.

Noreen Rochester, Founder and Matchmaker for Cara Matchmaking, saw how those feelings affected her clients and changed her business.

“During COVID-19, people were really lonely,” Noreen said. “Some didn’t have a pet or any living thing to keep them company, and I heard that all the time. There are wonderful, amazing people who’ve never experienced this isolation.”

For many of those singles, online dating didn’t solve the problem. Instead, the constant scrolling and unfulfilling chats just added to their feelings of isolation. That’s why Noreen said so many people have approached her about her traditional, highly effective matchmaking methods.

Noreen said she relies on her decades of experience and extensive network to match singles with those she knows personally. She also coaches her clients so they can find success in love.

Noreen Has More Than 30 Years of Matchmaking Experience

Noreen has been making matches since long before the internet was around. She started in 1986 when many of her friends asked her for help. When they finally convinced her to become a professional matchmaker, she did it the old-fashioned way.

“I saved up $35 for business cards and went into gyms and restaurants and any place with a bulletin board. After that, things took off,” she said. “When I think back, I can’t believe that actually happened.”

Photo of Cara Matchmaking Founder Noreen Rochester
Noreen Rochester, Cara Matchmaking Founder and Matchmaker, has been bringing people together since 1986.

At first, she didn’t have an office and often met prospective clients in her car. One day, she was sitting in a diner talking about matchmaking when a reporter overheard her story. The reporter wrote a story about her, and the business exploded. There was no turning back.

Today, she has a long list of clients with diverse backgrounds. She initially worked matching mostly singles in their 50s, but times have changed. With so many people frustrated by online dating, Noreen sees more younger people. Her clients range in age from late 20s to their 80s, and she works with LGBTQ+ individuals of all sexual orientations.

Most of her clients are highly educated, and she works with doctors, CEOs, therapists, and other successful professionals. They’re often so busy that they don’t want to waste time chatting with people who aren’t right for them.

“The last thing they want to do at night is sift through lots of online profiles on their own,” she said.

The Personalized Process Starts With In-Person Meetings

Noreen said she first schedules an in-person meeting with each of her clients. She doesn’t accept everyone because she wants to ensure she can help them find exactly what they want.

“I take probably a third of the people I meet with. If I can’t do a good job, I feel like I can’t take their money,” she said. “I’ll try to match them for free, but I can’t let them hire me if I don’t think I can help.”

The most essential rules for her clients are that they have to pass a criminal background check, and they must be kind.

Screenshot from Cara Matchmaking website
Cara Matchmaking only accepts clients who Noreen is confident she can match.

The first meeting usually lasts an hour or two — and sometimes longer. She discusses with prospective clients what they want in a partner and the expectations they have. Then, they go review photos and profiles of potential matches. They don’t make any decisions yet, because Noreen said she asks the clients to go home and think about it first.

Noreen doesn’t use a computer database to make connections. Instead, she relies on thousands of files and sticky notes on her desk for a paper-based, old-school system. That way, clients won’t have to worry about getting hacked or other privacy risks.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, she initially shut down her business as a health precaution. She started using Zoom to meet with clients but didn’t like it. As more people have been vaccinated over the last few months, she began to meet in person again.

Cara Matchmaking: Traditional Strategies That Get Results

Unlike some matchmakers, Noreen doesn’t set up dates. Instead, she provides coaching and assistance to ensure any relationship starts with a strong foundation.

“I suggest starting with a text saying who you are and that I gave them your number. I think it’s a good idea to text or talk a little bit and then get out there,” Noreen said. “People can seem great over text and uncomfortable in person — or the opposite can be true. So don’t just talk, meet in person.”

Her clients often call her to talk about the date, or a blossoming relationship, to get Noreen’s expert feedback. She also partners with a therapist to help singles understand why something didn’t work or why someone else wasn’t interested.

One thing she’s noticed recently is that more people who were in relationships during the stay-at-home mandates were coming to her ready to start something new. That time with their partner helped them see that it was time to move on. Another result of the loneliness is that more singles now understand what’s really important in a partner.

“Before the pandemic, people had long lists of criteria. Now, they say something used to be important to them, and now it isn’t because they know what matters,” she said. “It changed the approach quite a lot.”

Along with making personalized matches, Noreen also schedules events for clients. She recently held a croquet tournament and is considering a golf outing soon.

“I meet with everybody multiple times and form friendships with them,” she said. “I work with some of the kindest people I’ve met in my life. I love that I get to do this for a living — even on the hard days.”