Didi Edet is the first United States certified and award-winning dating coach in Nigeria. She has been matchmaking for over seven years but got her certification from the United States in 2015. In this interview with ROTIMI IGE, the dating coach of Lagosmatchmaker platform gave out hints on how to find one’s life partner during this COVID-19 pandemic, challenges of matchmaking at different levels, relationship tips and lots more.
How are people coping with dating during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Dating has changed during this pandemic. It has become something different. There has been negative and positive effects of the COVID-19 in the world of dating.
A negative effect is the fact that first dates cannot be had as easily as before, and the positive effect is that people do have the time to date now that they have been more indoors.
With people staying more at home due to the lockdown and the advice to stay indoors, people are having more time to date. People are having more time to dedicate to finding a partner and companion.
Relationships formed during the pandemic have been more meaningful because it (lockdown) also eliminates the pressure of any physical contact. There’s no physical pressure since you’re chatting and talking without actually seeing the person. It makes the courtship more meaningful; you take time to get to know the person before actually meeting them physically. The negative aspect is that it has made first dates harder. Before now you could go for first dates to a restaurant or to the lounge but now all social places are closed. So, to have a first date you have to try and use technology and have a video date. This has made it a bit more difficult, but we decided to find a solution to that and we came up with the idea of dating in quarantine.
Can you shed more light on that?
It is an online speech dating that was birthed because of the quarantine and the pandemic since people were not able to go out and meet people, so we decided to have this dating online. This allows singles to meet, get to know each other and to build relationships.
The world of dating is changing as we know it as places have been closed, restaurants and lounges social eventshave either been closed or restricted. We can’t all meet in large numbers anymore. This has brought up the need for the online dating platform to thrive.
How did you start with Lagosmatchmaker?
The platform was created to match single individuals above 25 years but with a huge focus on privacy. I did take a couple of courses in a bid to get certified to be more knowledgeable in this area of expertise.
What is the difference between online dating and using a matchmaking platform?
A matchmaking platform comes with support that an online service might not be able to provide. The platform works manually too so you do get to communicate with actual humans that can give you their perspective on things and not an automated service.
What are some of the challenges you encountered with this new line of business in Nigeria?
I have encountered a lot of challenges. The fact that matchmaking is fairly new to Nigeria in the business sector means there is no blueprint or previous marketing plan to follow.
This was a major challenge to learn how to market and educate the masses about what we do and the process. We are privacy-focused, so we have to explain to clients that we don’t have pictures posted of individuals. Things are done manually, which doesn’t make the process very efficient, but it leads to better results and we are highly focused on the results.
Another major challenge is explaining to people what we do. Some people think we give relationship advice, which is not what we do. We focus on the dating aspect of life because this is an area I have been certified in, and also as a single individual dating, things in this aspect are fresher to my understanding. We focus on linking individuals, and that’s basically it.
What are the types of people on the platform?
We have a variety of people from various locations and status. We have singles that have never been married, divorced, widowed and more. Our client base can be described as the working class that may not have a lot of time for social activities and so outsource a part of their social lives to us.
Is this strictly online?
No, we have an office located in the heart of Lekki and it’s open for enquiries. But we do find that majority of our client base are busy so we are more efficient with the online network and work faster that way.
What advice would you give to singles out there?
I feel everything we want in life can be achieved if we put effort into it. If you want a job, get the necessary qualifications and make the effort to apply for it. I feel efforts should be applied to dating too as opposed to sitting and hoping for things to magically fall in place. I feel if you want love, put the efforts to search for it. We are here to make that an easy process.
In this age of Internet fraud, how can one trust online matchmaking?
I don’t think there is any worry with internet fraud with lagosmatchmaker because it’s not strictly an online matching platform. We have an office located off Admiralty Way, Lekki, Lagos where clients can come in and have a discussion about the process, if they so wish. But we discovered that a lot of people don’t have the time, which is why a lot of our work is done online.
What are those things that should be put into consideration before going into marriage or a long-term relationship?
I focus on the dating aspect of life and not the relationship because I am exploring that myself. Relationships are too broad to try to understand, so I rarely engage actual relationship discussions or advice.
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