We’ve all had a friend sit with us as we write a text to a crush or get ready for a date. You might have even referred to that friend as your dating coach. Meet Cora Boyd, professional dating coach. This former matchmaker has been growing her business for the past 6 months, working remotely from New Orleans, Seattle, and wherever else her travels take her. She talked to me about her business, which involves less swapping shirts and more working through people’s issues.
“It doesn’t matter if I find the perfect person on paper for someone if they’re going to continue to do some sort of self-sabotaging behavior on every date they go on.”“It doesn't matter if I find the perfect person on paper for someone if they’re going to continue to do some sort of self-sabotaging behavior on every date they go on.” –Cora Boyd Click To Tweet
The following has been edited for length and clarity.
The Tempest: According to your website you are a “no bullshit dating coach.” In the simplest terms, possible, what is it that you do?
Cora Boyd: I work with clients one on one to tune out the white noise and untangle the bullshit, the stories and the fear around dating so that they can get clear on what they want and take agency of their dating lives. And have fun!
So you work with clients– do you have sessions with them?
I do one on one calls and those are usually about an hour each. There are different packages that I do but I typically meet with a client every other week for two to three months. What I do is I kind of open the floor for them and facilitate their best thinking, and reflect back patterns or incongruencies I might hear, or ask questions. It always goes into really interesting territories– usually unexpected territories.
Tell me your story: how did you become a dating coach?
I worked for two years as a matchmaker for a company based out of New York and San Francisco. I got into that on purpose; I heard about it as a thing and pursued it because it really appealed to my interests in communication and social psychology.
In that two year span, I worked with hundreds and hundreds of clients and got kind of a backstage view into so many peoples dating lives and it just really fascinated me as a microcosm for so many societal dynamics. Also, I was really drawn to the sincerity of it. Even when I was working with clients who I might not have liked there was a certain humanity in the sincerity. Literally, everyone wants that kind of connection and everyone wants love.
I kind of took an interest in working with my clients in a bigger picture way and helping them see dating as a personal process where success in dating is much broader: Are you showing up authentically? Are you creating opportunities for yourself? Are you taking risks? That’s being successful in dating, not whether or not each date you go on leads to a second date.
What’s your biggest competition as a dating coach? What’s your spot in the bigger picture?
[Dating support available, especially for men, offered] Lots of quick fixes that might work if you want to get laid occasionally but really aren’t helping people in the long term. That’s why I really wanted to work with men at first* because for me and who I am and my approach there really wasn’t any competition. Everyone else was a dude selling hacks.
Effectively, the service offering I have is spending time with me and my perspective or my insight or my experience. No one can really compete with that because I’m just being myself.
*As her business has grown, she’s expanded to working with all genders and sexual orientations
Do you have your clients use apps?
I think we’ve reached a point with apps where people feel a little bit used by them instead of consciously using them to their own advantage.
⅓ of people on dating apps have never actually gone on a dating app date.
Really, what I want to help people do is take what resources work for them and create their own way to date based on that instead of doing what they think they’re supposed to be doing or doing something they hate.
What are some of the biggest mistakes, in and out of app use, that you see?
[In app use] Psychologically it’s all of these little dopamine hits. It’s similar to a slot machine. It’s actually addictive.
They’re not pacing themselves[…] It starts to feel overwhelming to interact with these people and they get discouraged.
[Outside of app use] We all need to be taking little risks all the time in the spirit of connecting with people, online and offline.We all need to be taking little risks all the time in the spirit of connecting with people, online and offline. –Cora Boyd Click To Tweet
Do you have any predictions for the future of dating?
There’s gonna be a huge pull towards different in person avenues for meeting.
I think we’re reaching this point or threshold [with technology] where we’re just like, ‘Damn this does not cut it.’
Cora runs an in-person pop-up event series called Tinder Is The Night
Do you have any advice you’re willing to give?
The number one thing I always say is to lead with your curiosity in dating. There’s something about curiosity that’s really playful and benign. Framing it as such really helps take the pressure off. There’s a lot of heaviness around dating; there’s a lot of hurt. It’s hard to approach it in a playful, light way.
The best thing you can do for your dating life is have a life. Really pursue the sh*t that you’re into, have friends, do the things that you like. You’ll be more attractive and you’ll meet people and it takes the edge off so that you’re not too thirsty. You’re not gonna need someone, you’re gonna choose someone.