Jose Weber has been a matchmaker since 1985. Originally an investment and retirement planning adviser, he is now one of the best known Matchmakers in the Jewish community as head of Simantov International. He tells us how it all started:
“I took over from a French lady called Denise Kahn who had created Simantov in 1975. It was thanks to her that I met my wife… Denise introduced us!”
There’s still a bit of mystery surrounding the role of a Matchmaker. Jose Weber is quick to agree that it’s a balance of maintaining professionalism and respecting tradition.
“People are very curious about what I do but I have to stay very discreet. Some clients don’t like people to know that they hired the services of a Matchmaker. Other people don’t even want to acknowledge that they know me when I see them socially, at the synagogue, for example.”
Although M. Weber is based in Germany, he has clients all over the world. He’s the first to admit that the Internet has revolutionised the way people meet people, particularly with the increase in popularity of Skype. For Jose Weber, this makes it easier for clients to relax and be interviewed in the comfort of their own home.
“Before the Internet I used to work mostly in Europe as I had to travel to meet people and they had to travel to meet each other. Now I have clients all over the world: Israel, South America, Australia… it’s a truly international service.”
It seems that modern Matchmaking blends the best of technology with finely honed people skills and robust screening. M. Weber explains the approach behind a successful match.
“Before a first interview, I review the form that prospective clients have filled out online and I try to get a feel for who they are, their character and personality and who I could match them with from a database of around 1600 profiles. During the interview I get a better sense of the person and see which matches could work.”
“I talk to clients every day. When I am not talking to clients, I am reviewing files to make matches. On Fridays, I send people their matches. That way, they can organise a first meeting between them on Skype or in person over the weekend.”
Part of the skill involved is juggling expectations and helping clients remain realistic about the service as well as open to every opportunity.
“I am very motivated because people come to me with a lot of hope. I have to explain that I am not God, that I can only try to increase the chance they will find love but I don’t know if it is going to take 3 months or 10 years. My opinion, and it’s one I have to convince my clients of sometimes, is that it’s better to wait 4 months to meet someone who has been carefully selected than to meet 10 new people every week.”
Being a matchmaker is very rewarding and, according to Jose Weber, making a successful match is a wonderful feeling.
“I feel incredibly happy when people call me to tell me that it is working. Sometimes people cry with happiness. When that happens, it is fabulous. It’s why I chose this job.”
There’s no doubt though that it can also be a challenge, which is always the case in matters of the heart.
“Sometimes people are a little stressed out which isn’t always nice. They blame their unhappiness on me. But those people make up a tiny percentage of our clients. “
Finally, I asked him what he thought was the secret of a happy relationship.
“You have to work together on the relationship and to remember the love that brought you together. Don’t take each other for granted. Always try to do things to make the other one happy on a daily basis. But it is important to have a little war once in a while too. Not an atomic war. Just a little war.”