Matchmaking 101 - Office Hours with Lisa Clampitt

Dating rules to stay out of the doghouse

As a matchmaker I meet an amazing amount of people. I am constantly networking, bringing in new potential clients, and meeting singles to fill my database.

Working with all of these people gives me a sense of what is successful, and what is not when it comes to dating conversation and etiquette.

Let me preface this next story by saying that I love my dogs. I could go on and on about all of the amazing things my pets do, but let me tell you, there is a time and a place!

Recently, Beth, my Director of Matching, and I had a woman come in to meet with us who spent the entire meeting talking about her Chihuahua.  We saw photos, we heard stories, and we were even lucky enough to get a tour of the little bag the dog is toted around in.


Now, of course a lot of men like dogs, and you could even say that it’s sweet that she loved her pet so much, but there is a deeper dating issue here. A key aspect to dating and entering into relationships is being aware of how you present yourself to others. If you are obsessed with something else in your life—like a pet—to the point where it is all you can talk about, you are not presenting yourself as having room to include another person in your life.

I have worked with hundreds of male clients over the years. One of the most common pet peeves I hear about is when a woman is super obsessed with her pet to the point that she talks about the pet as if it were her baby. To them this is a total turn off!

Do you want to lead with your pet, or do you want to lead with your fabulous self and a curiosity for learning about the person you are on the date with?

My advice: Tone it down, and be very aware of how you present yourself on a first date especially. Do you want to lead with your pet, or do you want to lead with your fabulous self and a curiosity for learning about the person you are on the date with?

As far as mentioning your dog on the date: Do not bring your pet up in conversation unless it was mentioned by the other person or brought up in passing! Topics that are appropriate for a first date should gear away from anything controversial (yes, pets are controversial!) It’s not that someone doesn’t want to know you love your pet, it’s that they want to get to know you on the date.

Often times people use talking about things other than themselves and getting to know their date as a crutch. In order to have a successful date, it’s super important that you don’t fall into that trap so that both of you can feel you had a great time and were paid attention to.

Most importantly, remember that if it was a matchmaker, like me, who set you up, we already made sure that the other person likes pets if you have a dog you love! We would never introduce you to someone who was not compatible with you on multiple

levels and had similar interests. That’s the amazing benefit of using a matchmaker.

Have a comment about this story, or a question about matchmaking or dating? Please send to me at!

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