A Matchmaking Pro Gives Us Dating Advice

woman wondering thinking with finger in mouth

Matchmaker Suzanne Oshima tells you what to do and what NOT to do when dating.

Ever wanted dating tips from a professional? I mean a professional who is not your sister. Matchmaker Suzanne Oshima has been helping men and women find love since 2001. She works with men and women who vary in age and experience but have one thing in common: They aren't afraid to ask for help when it comes to dating.

Oshima provides services that range from actual matchmaking to coaching people on the first date. We spoke with her about dating mistakes, dating advice, red flags and what makes a good match. 

AOL Health: What are the biggest dating mistakes you see people making? And what dating tips do you suggest to avoid those mistakes?

Suzanne Oshima: The biggest dating mistake I see people make is they will not budge from their list of "must-haves." For example, if a woman goes on a date with a man who has almost everything on her list but is missing one or two things, she may immediately discount him and conclude he is not her type. It is highly unlikely you will find someone who has everything on your list. People need to be more flexible when they are dating; if someone is missing one or two things from your list, that should not deter you from dating that person. You need to give the person a chance, and you may find a great person and realize the missing "must-haves" really don't matter anymore. 

The second biggest dating mistake I see people make is they divulge way too much information about themselves on the first date. While it's important to get to know someone, there are some things that should be left for later conversations or dates. For example, I have had some women reveal to men on [a] first date how many children they would like to have or how many men they have slept with. Those are surefire ways to scare a guy off on [the] first date. 

The third biggest dating mistake I see people make is they keep doing things the same way, so they keep getting the same results and then they can't understand why they aren't married or in a relationship by now. For example, if you keep attracting cheaters who won't get married, then you need to take a step back and look at what you feel is your type. Because maybe what you think is your type really isn't. 

AOL Health: What dating tips do you have for people looking for their "match"?

SO: It really depends on each individual person and what method he or she feels most comfortable using. The following must be taken into account for each person: 

1. [Are you] just looking to date, or [are you] looking for a relationship?
If [you are] just looking to date, online dating and speed dating are great ways to meet someone; however, if [you are] looking for a long-term relationship, it can sometimes be more effective to work with a matchmaker. A matchmaker will give personal attention to detail [and] take into account what someone is looking for both physically and psychologically and your past relationships to find the perfect match. It's not to say you can't find a long-term relationship on an online dating site; however, the two issues I see over and over again with online dating is that people do not always tell the truth. Sometimes it can take several dates and a great deal of time to find out the truth. 

2. What's your budget?
If you have a limited budget, online dating and speed dating are great, inexpensive ways to find your match. However, if you have a limited amount of free time and would like to be catered to, have everything taken care of for you and budget is not an issue, then hiring a matchmaker may be the way to go. 

3. How much free time does the person have to dedicate to looking? 
Online dating can be a very effective way to find a date if you are willing to spend the time searching through profiles, reading profiles and e-mailing. Speed dating is great because you can meet a lot of people in a short amount of time. Nevertheless, with speed dating, because there is a limited amount of time, you may not find out key factors about the person until later. If you are a busy person and don't have a lot of time, hiring a professional matchmaker can save you a lot of time ... Overall, if you are single right now, there has never been a better time to date and find your match. There are so many options to choose from today, and no longer are any of them considered taboo. 

AOL Health: What should people keep in mind on a first date?

SO: Here are some good things and red flags to watch out for on a first date. 

  • Appearance—if the person didn't make an effort to look nice and attractive for the first date, then it's an indicator of how that person is, and it's probably only going to get worse as time goes on.
  • Sense of humor—someone who can laugh at a joke or laugh at him/herself. No one wants someone who is so serious about life.
  • Good manners—people are usually on their best behavior when they are on a first date, so if his/her manners are lacking, it probably will only get worse as time goes on.
  • Interests and passions—while it's important to have similar passions, it's also good to have some different interests.
  • Chemistry—either physical or psychological chemistry is important, but it doesn't have to be "knock-your-socks-off" chemistry on the first date. Sometimes chemistry takes time to develop. Great conversation—a conversation that is not one-sided.
  • Good listener—someone who is genuinely interested in what you have to say and is engaged.
  • Flexibility—someone who is flexible and can compromise.

Red flags:

  • Argumentative about a subject or can't compromise and see your point of view (especially on a first date!).
  • Bad manners.
  • If your date keeps looking around at everyone else in the bar/restaurant when you are talking.
  • If he/she keeps talking about an ex.
  • He/she constantly complains, is negative or bitter.

While those are some good things and red flags to watch out for on a first date, it's important to take into account that everyone is nervous on first date. So unless the person was outright despicable, sometimes it's important to go on a second date to see if you both are truly compatible.

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Written by Lyz Lenz for AOL Health.