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The Short Version: Some singles find online dating easy, while others struggle to make genuine connections. Friend of a Friend Matchmaking aims to help those singles meet compatible, open-minded partners who are authentic and ready for a relationship. Matchmaker and Owner Claire AH caters to all types of clients living in Canada and beyond who are prepared to find love.
Claire AH has firsthand experience with the challenges of modern online dating. That’s why, as the matchmaker and owner of Friend of a Friend Matchmaking, she prefers to work with open-minded singles who are ready for love.
Before Claire took over the company, she worked in marketing and public relations for a sexuality organization in Montreal. That’s where she developed a passion for learning about relationships and love, and her friends began coming to her for advice.
“That was always an area of great interest for me. Whenever I was reading, it was about dating, relationships, and sexuality,” she said. “Anytime I could, I’d take courses or workshops. It was really important to me.”
Claire discovered Friend of a Friend Matchmaking in 2013 when she met the former owner and became a client. She learned a lot about what she was looking for and eventually found the man who would become her husband. After that experience, she realized that she wanted to work as a matchmaker.
But fate gave her a surprising twist. When Claire was 28, she suffered a series of strokes caused by a neck injury. It caused her to quit her job to take time for herself, relearn simple tasks, and understand what her life would look like going forward.
“During that time, I found myself caring more and more about the relationship side of what I was doing,” she said.
She started speaking publicly about sexuality, relationships, and disabilities, and taught workshops for conferences. So when the former owner of Friend of a Friend Matchmaking decided to move on, Claire was in a perfect position to take over.
Claire said it was important for her company to be open and available for singles of all shapes and sizes — especially those who might otherwise struggle in the modern dating scene.
“I have a very broad network because our prices are lower than the boutique matchmakers,” Claire said. “I look for people who will be enjoyable to work with, open to the process, and open-minded.”
According to Claire, some of her clients are the type of people who “order people like pizza.” She seeks to break those unhealthy patterns of dating norms that reinforce the concepts of size and looks. Claire said she often talks to her clients about ways they can be more open to finding love with someone they may not consider their type.
Friend of a Friend Matchmaking works with clients of all genders and sexualities who range in age from their 20s to their 80s. Most of the singles live in the Toronto and Hamilton area, although Claire has been working on expanding the firm’s footprint. Her clients are often successful doctors, lawyers, and professors, but she also works with teachers, students, and retirees.
Her goal is to connect people on a meaningful level rather than check off boxes based on external characteristics that may not even matter in the end.
“I love to have the luxury to take on wonderful people who are open to these conversations,” she said. “My ideal clients are people who are open-minded enough to not have a rigid type of partner — like having to be 6-foot-2 with a six-figure salary.”
Singles who want to work with Claire first submit a written application and share what type of relationship they’re looking for. Then, Claire schedules a free phone call that lasts around 30 minutes. Those help her get a better understanding of how she can help.
She said she doesn’t take on every client who approaches her. For example, if the person has unrealistic expectations, it won’t work. Sometimes, she’ll have too many people who fit into the same general demographic, and she may not have the resources to match them all.
If she thinks she can make a match, the client signs a contract and receives a longer questionnaire that drills down into the details of their ideal partner. For example, she’ll ask questions about whether someone wants to meet a fellow vegetarian or their ideal living situation. Then, Claire will have an hour-long conversation to get to know the new client.
“I love that experience. I feel like I get to know people really well,” she said.
Claire guarantees anywhere from one to five matches a year, but she adds that five isn’t a cap. Instead, it’s more a guideline to ensure quality over quantity — the difference between a matchmaking experience and Tinder, Claire said.
Another big difference between online dating and her services is that she doesn’t exchange photographs. Instead, she shares bios and answers questions. She decided not to share photos because she knows from her experience and education that attraction often grows over time.
Many singles find meeting compatible partners difficult, whether online or in person. Some may be waiting for the right person, but others have not built the interpersonal skills they need to find success. That’s why Claire also offers coaching services for her clients.
“There’s a certain amount of coaching in matchmaking anyway,” she said. “I talk to my clients about the person they’re looking for and the relationship they’re looking for. We talk about what has and hasn’t worked in the past, the patterns, and the attachment style. I want to get a sense of their pain points and what they are working toward.”
According to Claire, coaching isn’t therapy. Instead, it’s a goal-oriented approach with a plan and an end date. If clients have a goal to get ready to date again, Claire helps them understand how they can accomplish that.
“It’s about expanding our past dating experiences, looking for emerging patterns, prejudices, and norms,” she said. “I consider coaching as a way to help people investigate these things.”
Recently, Claire launched an online swiping service, presenting some of her favorite potential matches to clients. She also provides support in profile writing, messaging, and building online dating knowledge.
“My services are not particularly expensive. Being a business person comes in at a very distant second to helping people find love,” Claire said. “Especially for people who felt not as attractive as they wanted to be in the dating world — or those with complicated life issues. When I match those people, it’s the best feeling in the world.”