Monday, 2 December 2019

The Power of the Second Date

A colleague of mine at RSVP Dating Agency and Singles Club recently told me how a so-nearly-missed second date heralded a rewarding new relationship for him.

He told me of how, on an RSVP singles walk in Rutland, he met a lady he found chatty, interesting, appealing in so many ways and, above all, spontaneous. Walks provide such fertile ground for relationships to gently form without pressure, as you feel you are just ‘on a walk’ but, in reality, you are constantly walking and talking alongside different attendees. Our RSVP singles walks are very popular with members. We also arrange fantastic walking weekends a couple of times a year.
Eventually, after an appropriate amount of procrastination on the part of my colleague, the lady’s spontaneity won the day and a first date was arranged, which included a dinner. The dinner was…a little disappointing for both parties: conversation was somewhat stilted and matter-of-fact; there were a few awkward silences; there didn’t appear a lot of common ground or interests.
However, he remembered fondly the easy conversation he’d enjoyed on the walk and, feeling that was too good to let go, dived in with a prompt from the RSVP team of expert matchmakers to have second date. Because, after all, what’s the worst that could happen? The lady bravely said ‘yes’, again.
Both arrived at the second date with some trepidation, but this time the rapport was already there; they were relaxed; the conversation sparkled; they laughed, they almost cried, they vowed to do it all again and, afterwards, thanked the friendly RSVP team for the encouragement of a second date!
And that was three months ago. Since then, they have enjoyed many dates and days together, met each other’s families, been on a short holiday and, of course, walked for miles!

All of it so nearly missed, were it not for that magical decisive second date.
The moral of this tale is: even if there’s a flicker of something between you, go for the second date.

To find out more about our singles events, just provide us with a few details and our helpful team will be in touch shortly.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Are we where we want to be?

This is the first of a series of posts commissioned by RSVP from Becki Coombe. When not date-hunting herself, Becki delivers a range of education and training courses. One of Becki’s main areas of interest is teaching people how to provide Mental Health ‘First Aid’ but even more pro-actively encouraging others to recognise and look after their own wellbeing. You can read more about what Becki does at www.thelearn2group.org.uk. (Oh and incidentally, even though Becki classes herself as having an active lifestyle and being nutritionally balanced – she says she doesn’t have a line of dates waiting either)!! 

It always makes me smile when someone asks me “so what would your ideal man look/be like”?! And this is, of course, particularly relevant for members of dating agency RSVP, dating one-to-one or going out on RSVP singles events.

At the mature age of 40 I have concluded that there will probably be only one thing certain of someone that I have a relationship with – there is a mutual spark and liking of each other. The rest of the details – who knows?!!

When I swipe and click through dating apps and sites (honestly I’m not a serial date-hunter?!) I still, however, find myself drawn to a certain ‘type’. Without question there are always men that I feel I wouldn’t have a connection with, or that I feel wouldn’t be interested in me. Whether these decisions are justified or not, it does lead me to wonder if all date-hunters are in places in their life that would compliment their idea of an ideal match?

This could be emotionally (I’m starting to wonder if there should be a mandatory waiting period before you can ‘advertise’ yourself to date after coming out of a long and serious relationship?!!), but it could also be lifestyle factors such as activities or nutrition?

I was recently part of a conversation where some singles that were currently living a more sedentary lifestyle were complaining that they were not receiving invitations to date. It led me to wonder if us date-hunters are actually where we want to be – never mind us trying to select where we want others to be?!!

So if this resonates with someone you know, I have narrowed this down to three areas:

1) Emotional Wellbeing
Is the date-hunter in a place where they could explore a new relationship without drawing on the past or experiencing mixed emotions that may get in the way of getting to know someone?

2) Active Lifestyle
Does the date-hunter engage in activities that they may be able to comfortably share within a new relationship. For example if they like the idea of dating someone ‘active’, would they be able to enjoy a walk/run/game with their date – without dreading the idea or having an ambulance on speed dial?!

3) Nutritionally Balanced
Does the date-hunter balance their calorie intake with calorie outgoings. When you break nutrition down, the purpose of food is to build, repair and fuel our body. If we consume more than we spend the additional food nutrients will be stored in the form of fat ‘to be used at a later point’ – if ever needed.

Whatever the responses to each of the three areas are above, I believe that the date-hunter should be content with their conclusions or quite simply, make adaptations until they are! But, if the responses aren’t where they would like them to be, consider reflecting on what you are also telling and asking from a prospective date?

This is the first of a series blog posts from me about emotional wellbeing and achieving balanced nutrition. If you want to get in touch with me, you can do so via my website: www.thelearn2group.org.uk.

Becki Coombe


Can anyone be 'Self Partnered'?

Actress Emma Watson recently described herself as ‘self partnered’ rather than single in an interview with Vogue Magazine. This new ‘self partnered’ term has caused quite a stir and divided option. Last week #selfpartnered was trending on Twitter. Two members of the RSVP Dating Agency and Singles Club Team discuss whether they are on board with the term ‘self partnered'.

‘Self partnered’ Why not?

My first reaction when I heard that Emma Watson described herself as ‘Self partnered’, was an eye roll. It reminded me of when actress Gwyneth Paltrow described her split with Chris Martin as ‘consciously uncoupling’. Then, after reading the interview in full, not just the media sound bite, I changed my mind. 

Watson discusses how, previously, she hated being single and found herself in consecutive co-dependent relationships. She is now embracing single life and embarking on her dating journey, resulting in her being happier in herself. Like many RSVP Dating Agency members she doesn't want to use dating apps. According to Watson, ‘self partnered ‘ comes from a place of confidence and empowerment that she didn’t have in her early twenties.
I conclude that, whilst I don’t see anything wrong with the term 'single', it goes without saying that to some it can be interpreted in negative ways. Is there anything wrong with coming up with a term to say that you are fulfilled and single? Absolutely not.

‘Self Partnered’ Definitely not!


Whilst I have no problem with Emma Watson being happily single, I really don’t think anyone can describe themselves as ‘self partnered’. It is needless to say that a partnership consists of two people, so one may wonder why Watson is putting two contradicting words together.


Not only do I find this term pretentious, but I don’t understand why she couldn’t simply say ‘I am happily single’. At RSVP, we work hard to make sure our members are enjoying their dating journey because we do appreciate it can be tough. Perhaps ‘self partnered’ comes from a defensive place, because Watson’s personal life has been brutally under scrutiny since puberty and she is trying to control the narrative.

Whilst I applaud Watson for being honest with how she is feeling and I am pleased that she is content with single life and dating, I really cannot see the phrase ‘self partnered’ taking off and becoming a mainstream term substituting ‘single’. 


Would you describe yourself as 'self partnered'? Or would you like to enter in a partnership with someone else? To find out more about how RSVP can help you on your dating journey, simply provide us with a few details about yourself and a member of our Enquiries Team will be in touch.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Meeting Through Friends

Many single people like to be set up by friends or someone they know. We completely understand this. It is great to be introduced to a new person by someone who knows you well and that you trust. In an age where there is so little accountability for online dating profiles and so many options, there is an increasing transient, unfocused attitude from some online daters; sadly this creates a vicious circle of bad manners and ghosting. However, if your friends can’t set you up with anyone and you have given online dating a whirl, perhaps it is time to look at a well established, traditional Dating Agency and Singles club like RSVP. Prospective members who meet with our Dating Consultants often express frustration from fruitless and, on occasions, scary experiences from dating online. 


Recently, I was chatting with someone who is now in a relationship after being set up by a friend. She admitted to me that they are very happy together and was delighted not to have do battle with online dating. However, she expressed something that I hadn’t previously considered; the friend who had set them up feels responsible for the relationship and frequently reminds her of this. She also feels that it is acceptable to ask delicate questions such as ‘when are you moving in together?’.  Whilst these questions and comments may be made with good intentions, I understand why this may feel invasive.

Undoubtedly, RSVP's team of expert matchmakers work in a very personal way. The RSVP dating approach is probably unique: every potential member is interviewed face-to-face with one of our experienced Dating Consultants; then, if they choose to join RSVP there are great hand-selected matches and superb hosted singles events. The team strongly believe in communication when dating, taking the time for a proper phone call rather than back and forth texting, and then, after meeting up with a match, providing the matching team with feedback of how the date went, so they can make the next one even better. Even after 27 years of prosperous matching, we are always delighted to hear of another happy match. The RSVP's team of matchmakers wouldn’t pry and ask you personal questions about the progress of things when you have a relationship through us.


By attending RSVP singles events, often members find that they form friendships unexpectedly. Whilst joining a dating agency and making friends is unlikely to be your primary objective, it goes without saying that you can never have enough friends and it doesn't hurt to open up your social circle a little wider. One of our members made friends with another member on one of our events. Then she was set up with her brother...The rest is history.

One of the ways in which I would describe the RSVP matchmaking service is that it is perfect if you want to be set up by your friends ... and your friends don’t have anyone to set you up with. I wouldn’t wait around to be set up by friends; it perhaps won’t work out, even if you do get set up. Furthermore, I am confident in saying their database of single friends won't be as big as the RSVP database of over 26,000 life time members! You could say that by joining RSVP and undertaking matches, the team can give you all of the good parts of being set up by friends, but none of the awkward questions... To find out more about our different memberships, just fill out a few details and our team will be in touch with you shortly.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

I Want To Date a Unicorn – Why it is Important to Stay Realistic When Dating

When dating, it is easier to fantasise about our ideal partner, rather than actively going out and looking for someone realistic. It is lovely to dream up a perfect wish-list and just sit back and wait for them to arrive at our front door, then they proceed to sweep us off our feet. Sadly, it is time to wake up from this and join the real world; after all, dating in the real world can be great fun, particularly with RSVP Dating Agency and Singles Club.



From time to time, our Dating Consultants meet prospective members who have a shopping list or have an exact image of who they want in their head. (Sorry ladies, George Clooney is married; sorry gents, Kelly Brook is taken). However, if you are looking for like-minded, engaging, genuinely single people who are trying to meet their special someone you are in the right place. RSVP's team of expert matchmakers will urge you to approach your dating agency with positivity and an open-minded attitude. This will undoubtedly get you further than dreaming at home about handsome strangers and Hollywood happily-ever-afters. (See my earlier post on those).

An issue that really ties people up in knots is age. It really shouldn’t - after all ageing is a privilege. At RSVP, our friendly Dating Consultants interview every member and check identification, so we know every member is who they say they are and their true age. We regularly hear tales of internet dating profiles that confidently fib about age, which naturally leads us to query if there are any more areas of dishonesty. Sometimes, we all still think we are 21 years old mentally, but, sadly, this doesn’t match the age on our birth certificates. Every week we hear both members and prospective members say ‘I am a young <insert age here>’. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to be a ‘young <insert age>’. Whilst you may have a young outlook, or perhaps you are physically active, or possibly you look good for your age, it doesn’t mean that people twenty years younger will see this and want to date you. 


Did you know 5 foot 9 is the average height for a man in the UK? And that the average dress size for a lady in the UK is a size 16? Not everyone does. The natural assumption of what we want is the default average. But if you look at society as a whole, going outside your usual social circles, there is far more diversity in body type, background and ethnicity, than perhaps you assumed. On countless occasions the RSVP's matchmakers have been asked to look for a ‘type’, however the client has then gone on to meet someone at one of our singles events who is totally different to the 'type' our matchmakers have been searching high and low for. Once again, I urge you not to get caught up in a 'type' or lengthy criteria; it really won't help your dating journey. Of course, I understand everyone has deal breakers and preferences. Just don't write people off for the sake of a couple of inches in height or dress size.

To find out more about how a dating agency like RSVP can help you on your dating journey, simply supply a few details about yourself here and someone from our team of matchmakers will be in touch soon.

If I can leave you with some food for thought, enjoy this clip from the rom-com How To Be Single about dating in New York.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

27 Years of RSVP

It is amazing how fast 27 years goes, and how much changes in 27 years. Back in 1992, the internet wasn’t in every home, (forget wifi), John Major was Prime Minister, Bill Clinton was US President and Disneyland Paris had just opened. Also - and much more importantly, Dating Agency and Singles Club RSVP opened for business with dating and singles events in Northamptonshire. This was the brain child of recently retired Patrick McDonald; as a widower he struggled to meet like-minded single people. He wanted to combine both singles events with hand-picked introductions.

It may not come as a surprise to you, but this struggle still lives on for many single people today; many of our members hoped that the internet would help them find someone, but it's not as easy as it first appears. Over the 27 years, RSVP has expanded across different counties and the database of members has rapidly grown to over 26,000 lifetime members. 


So how did RSVP expand, from a one-man business in Northamptonshire to cover London, the Home Counties, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, etc? There are many answers for this; as the business built up momentum with successful matchmaking, the positive word of mouth from members helped growth through recommendations. The first adverts appeared in Birmingham Evening Mail and Birmingham Post. RSVP adverts also hit the airwaves on Heart radio.

In 1999, RSVP singles events had a revamp and, for the first time, there were different events taking place in different counties on the same day! We have continued this by hosting different events to offer our members a variety of choice in terms of distance and activity. Matchmaking was of course a busy area within the business and the RSVP’s Team of Expert Matchmakers steadily grew with the increasing member numbers.

Notably quite ahead of the curve in 1999, the first RSVP website went live. Only 13% of households in the UK had an internet connection at this time. The website was simple and concise with contact details and information about RSVP. Since then, the RSVP website has undergone several makeovers, most recently in 2017.





In 2000, probably the single biggest jump in RSVP’s enviable position occurred, with the acquisition of the Bedford-based agency, with which RSVP had enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial working relationship. At a stroke, RSVP added members in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.

The next few years were spent consolidating RSVP’s position as the largest independently-run Introduction Agency in the Heart of England, building up membership in the areas already covered and offering matching and singles events Nottingham and Derby, together with increasingly sophisticated matching techniques.

In 2005, Patrick decided to retire after 13 years of building RSVP and in came husband and wife team Anne Stringer and Roland Stringer, who retained the original team, including office manager Gaynor. They gradually modernised the business and rebranded in 2006. A new quarterly 36-page colour singles events calendar was introduced. Specialist matching and event management software was embraced and RSVP continued to pair together many brilliant couples.





By 2009, the RSVP Head Office had moved from Burton Latimer to Oakham, as RSVP built up the membership base through matchmaking and singles events in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

As the years have gone on, many people ask whether there is still a place for a traditional dating agency when ‘everything is available online’. Our response is that there is definitely relevance in a traditional offline agency, when the online alternatives can be casual at best and dangerous at worst. We find that people who join a traditional dating agency are likely to be:

  • Committed to finding the right person.
  • Prepared to invest time, money and effort in that process.
  • Less comfortable with having their face and personal details on the public internet.
  • Pleased that we meet every prospective member.
  • Relieved that every RSVP member really is who we say they are.


RSVP has built up excellent partnerships with venues and thrown many memorable Singles Balls, Valentines Dinners and Driving Experiences. We have proudly assisted in getting our member’s ‘back out there’ and we always look forward to hearing from our members. Some members who haven’t been active for over 10 years still get in touch with updates every now and then.

In recent years, RSVP Head Office has moved again to a more secure site on Oakham Enterprise Park. In 2017, our website had a fresh make-over, bringing with it an influx in new members. Last year we launched our bespoke RSVP Platinum Head Hunting service which has proved to be very successful. 

And, bringing us right up to date, we are testing a new Members Website and App, which will be going live in the next few weeks.

To find out more about RSVP, simply fill out a few details here and a member of our friendly enquiries team will be in touch.


Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Have Romantic Comedies Ruined Real Life Romantic Expectations?

At RSVP Dating Agency and Singles Club head office, we were chatting about how invested in films, books and television series we become. Since childhood, most of us are exposed to films that subconsciously stay in our heads, shaping our mindset. From Disney Princes and Princesses, to the perfect dates on sit coms and then the fabulously cheesy romantic comedies that we frequently indulge in all lead us to wonder: ‘why do things like this never happen to me?’ We regularly forget that whatever film or TV show we are watching has been created for our entertainment and to manipulate our emotions.

Despite loving a good romantic comedy as much as the next person, I very often watch these films with a pinch of salt. Real life has taught us otherwise, but there is still the expectation that when we meet ‘the one’, our life will then measure up to the 'happily ever after' we see in the films. What happens next, after the ‘happily ever after’? Surely this is just the beginning.

Romanic comedies have provided us with many common clichés, such as the ‘public over-the-top gesture' or 'big act of love', a hypothermia-inducing kiss in the rain or perhaps a big confession that changes everything. Does this leave us hoping for this to happen in real life? Day dreaming about a bit of romantic drama like a singing and dancing proposal in an airport or a will you/won’t you make it to each other car chase is a harmless way to pass time. However is this to be expected when it comes to real life relationships and dating? At this point I feel the need to ask: would you feel comfortable with a big romantic act? In real life, might this seem a bit ... forced and unspontaneous? At RSVP, we believe everyday thoughtful little gestures mean far more than a show-stopping public romantic gesture at any time.

Obviously, real-life romance with its twists and turns, good parts and bad parts, doesn’t make the best television. Recently a film landed on Netflix called ‘Isn’t it Romantic’; a young lady called Natalie finds herself in a medically induced coma, where she finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy, making her nauseous with all of the typical romantic comedy clichés. This movie feels very refreshing and provides an antidote to those shelves of overwhelmingly cheesy films.
Being a dating agency, at RSVP, we are of course big believers in celebrating the real life journey of love and everything that comes with it. If you'd like some expert help in finding your new beginning, just complete our simple form and a member of our team will be in touch.