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introduction agencies

There are many ways to meet eligible people but, for most of us, the singles bars, pubs and clubs leave a lot to be desired.  They are nicknamed 'meat-markets' because patrons feel they're on display for prospective takers to eye-off and choose from.  It's not a pleasant feeling, especially if you are passed over for others.  Some unattached men and women who frequent these places go home feeling far more alone and miserable than they did at home.  They're all right for a fun night out, but you're asking to be disillusioned if you believe you're going to meet a relationship prospect.

The alternatives are social groups, the personal ads or introduction agencies.  I'd like to say a little about the last one because I have been asked repeatedly over the years if they are reputable and if serious relationship-hunters should use them.  As with any other industry, there are rip-off traders and genuine traders.  The important thing is to find out the difference — before you sign on the dotted line and pay over good money.  On the whole, agencies don't have a good reputation because the ones that do charge a lot, and then don't provide a service, prey on a particularly vulnerable section of society.  The media focuses on this and a lot has been made over recent years of these scam artists who open up shop, make a bundle, and then disappear before consumer protection societies can get them.  So, it's a case of 'buyer beware', as always.  Here are some guidelines:

  • Shop around and ask a lot of questions before you decide on the agency for you.

  • There will be a range of services on offer.  Check what you can expect for the fee you're paying.  Don't come away with unrealistic ideas about the ideal partner you're going to meet, but nonetheless, keep up a positive attitude so that you're not cynical about your prospects before you even start.

  • Don't be pressured into signing up if you're not absolutely sure.  If you're asked to leave a deposit, no matter how small, don't agree unless you're ready to commit to the agency, as even one dollar could legally bind you.

  • Find out what happens after you sign up and leave the office, as one of the most common complalnts about agencies is that they never keep in touch and sometimes months can pass without a word.

  • Be very clear on your choices and requirements regarding prospective partners, as you don't want to be matched up with one unsuitable candidate after another.

  • Ask other people who have joined agencies what their experiences were so that you can make the best choice.

Another option is the 'personals' in the paper.  These ads don't have a very good reputation because women complain that the guys who respond only want sex and the guys declare that the ads written by women are misleading.  Some local community papers have taken up the challenge and offer more scope and variety in the way that males and females can meet each other through advertising.  I'd say give it a whirl — but be realistic and be careful.  Phrase your ad honestly, be as original as possible because that'll attract more interesting prospects, but also answer ads with both eyes open.  If an advertiser says they're 'gorgeous', don't expect Tom Cruise or Sharon Stone.  Ads are often written with tongue in cheek.

Be very careful about giving out any personal detalls in your initial reply and arrange all meetings in a public place.  After the first date, say honestly if you don't want to continue the association so that no-one gets mixed messages or led on.

If you're advertising yourself, be sensitive to those brave souls who've taken the trouble to answer you.  Don't just ignore the letter because the person doesn't sound interesting enough or 'your type'.

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