What’s the true season for love?
Some would argue December where engagement count and wedding invites amongst friends suddenly skyrocket. Others would say February because when else in a year do we get a day with so many making a concerted effort to be romantic with their Valentine’s?
Whichever it is, there’s one thing we know for sure, there are organisers in Singapore actively spreading the love and getting Cupid busy with his arrows all year round. Michelle Goh, Founder of dating agency, CompleteMe, and organiser of a host of dating events each month is one such person.
Michelle tells us more of CompleteMe’s beginnings, how she helps break the ice at her events, and even imparts some love advice for the “friend-zoned”.
First of all, why CompleteMe?
“Complete yourself with Complete Me” – that’s the tagline and my goal for people who come for my dating events!
Tell us how CompleteMe was born.
I started a group on Facebook by the name of “Singapore Facebook Singles” in 2007 because I was single then and wanted to enlarge my own social circle. Within the first week of setting up the group, 50 members joined and someone suggested that I organise events for singles too so I did. I was surprised that people came, and I started organising events every other week and the rest is history…
In 2010, after I got married, I wanted to close down the group but there were members who asked me not to close it down and said “I don’t care if you’re married, I’m not, you still need to help me!” So I continued organising events and in 2013, I quit my job to run CompleteMe full time. To date, we have more than 2,000 members within the Facebook group and we’re one of only 11 SDNTrust Accredited Agencies.
What does it mean to be SDNTrust Accredited?
SDN (Social Development Network) is the governing body that sets the benchmark for dating agencies and practitioners in Singapore in attaining high standards of professionalism and service delivery to singles. You’ll be rest assured that our events meet these three sets of criteria – a gender balance, measures taken to ensure only singles attend, and have qualified dating practitioners run the events.
Getting connected and staying connected
You organise a ton of dating events each month, all of which involves people meeting with others for the first time. How do you help the crowd break the ice and warm up to each other?
With different events come different contexts so each require different things. To break the ice, I slot in some games such as “2 Lies, 1 Truth” where each person tells the group two lies and one truth about themselves and the group will need to guess the truth. I’ve got other games up my sleeves but those are “trade secrets”, I invented them so you got to come for my event to experience them for yourselves.
One other thing I do to help the event move smoothly is to tell attendees about how the evening will proceed so they’re mentally prepared for what’s in store and be more ready to participate.
How about the shy ones?
If I spot a couple not speaking with each other or experiencing an awkward silence, I’ll head there to facilitate the conversation.
How do you help your attendees stay connected with each other after the event?
I distribute a feedback form at the end of the event which includes asking them to write the names of three people they’d like to keep in touch with after the event. If I find a mutual match between two people, I will send them a congratulatory text message to both parties and put them in touch via email!
For bigger events like Gokon (i.e. a dating event where friends attend together to feel more comfortable) where we had 126 people turn up so mutual matching wasn’t very feasible but we distributed introductory cards people could fill out and give to those they’re interested in knowing better post-Gokon.
Congratulations on entering the Singapore book of records with the largest Gokon event you organised last year! What do you think are the essential elements of a good dating event?
Have a good venue as it sets the mood of the entire event, attain good service from your suppliers (in my case, restaurants), and provide good facilitation of the event from start to finish.
Parting advice from the love guru
I understand you’re also a love consultant. What’s your advice to the “friend-zoned”?
You need to make the person feel different! You have to treat them especially well in comparison to others so he/she knows you’re focusing on them! Otherwise, how would they know?
What’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift one could give?
It really depends on what the person wants so you got to know the person pretty well. But generally, it’s safe to buy guys the techie things but those tend to be expensive. As for females, don’t bother buying chocolates or flowers for them, they won’t last. Buy something that will last, as you want the person to remember you right?
Lastly, what are the “do”s and “dont”s of attending a dating event?
1. Do be punctual or you might miss out on meeting some potential partners.
2. Do have a good rest the day before because you need to be in tip top condition.
3. Do prepare like you would for a job interview (e.g. dress well, create an impactful introduction). In short, showcase the best of you.
1. Don’t ask sensitive and personal questions, e.g religion, age, income, etc
2. Don’t be on the phone all the time (e.g. Facebook, Whatsapp, SMS). You are here to make new friends.
3. Don’t attend with friends as there’s a high chance you’ll stick to your comfort zone, that is, your friends.
Keep those helpful dos and don’ts in mind! And if we dare say, they apply not just to dating events but also networking events.
P.S. (with love): SDN is subsidising 50% of all dating events from now till 8th February. To enjoy the subsidy, you will need to be a SDN member. To check if you’re a member, email Michelle your NRIC at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hear tickets run out pretty quickly so if you want in, sign up for one now.