“The people who are single (in the Triangle) are really good quality people. They are smart; they are successful, educated people; they have good jobs. I like to think I’m helping them screen through all the foolishness.”
–Angela Kelley, owner, A+ Introductions
by Mimi Montgomery
photograph by Christer Berg
Necessity was the mother of invention when Angela Kelley started her business. The Apex-based clinical researcher had become exhausted by the apps and websites that promised to help a 40-something woman like herself find a serious relationship. She’d tried the Tinders, OKCupids, and eHarmonys of the viral world and they weren’t for her.
“I didn’t feel like there was really any other alternative for people who didn’t want to do online dating,” she says. “If you don’t hang out in bars and stuff like that, it’s hard … You get to a point where you’re out of resources, because all your friends are married with kids.”
She decided to take matters into her own hands, and in 2014, founded A+ Introductions, a matchmaking service. The human element is the most important aspect of what she does: She calls her business “the anti-Tinder.” She meets with Triangle-
based men and women one-on-one to assess their personalities and to learn what they’re looking for, and keeps her client pool (typically mid-30s and serious about finding a real relationship) at about 100 so she knows them all by name. She’s also rigid about background checks and a code of conduct.
An aligning of personalities and value systems is more important than physical attractiveness, Kelley tells her clients. To ensure this, Kelley doesn’t provide photos of potential matches prior to a first date.
“We all want the Brad Pitts and the Denzel Washingtons,” she says. “I also have to help people be realistic about what they really, really want and what they really, really need.” Seriousness aside, Kelley wants customers to remember that, at the end of the day, dating is supposed to be fun. “I gauge my success as to whether people feel they’ve had a good time on their date, and whether they’re willing to go on a second date.”
Of course, February is a busy time for love. Kelley calls it “cuffing season,” those cold winter months when people want to find someone special with whom they can cozy up. Her services are in higher demand around this time, but she’s quick to give a pep-talk to those looking for love. “Don’t give up. Be persistent … don’t settle. Don’t feel like you’re less-than if you’re not matched up. Eventually you will be if you want to be.” She laughs. “Optimism is my thing … It’s helpful to have somebody in your corner.”