It took a pandemic for Lisa Chaben to make it official. The West Bloomfield 56-year-old says she’s informally set up “hundreds of successful marriages over more than three decades.” She’s fixed up everyone from friends and acquaintances to a woman who worked at one of her doctors’ offices (Chaben connected the woman with her own widowed father-in-law, and they married). She’s even played matchmaker for her ex-husband.
Now Chaben is expanding her reach with Match with Lisa, a service through which she analyzes clients’ online applications to identify their priorities, preferences, values, and interests. Then she follows up with an interview and background check before handpicking potential matches — and subsequent others if needed. The service costs $500.
And it all came about because of COVID-19. If singles can’t get out and meet each other, Chaben figures, she offers another way to connect. Living through a pandemic is lonely enough, let alone doing without having someone to be socially distanced with.
Hour Detroit: You’ve been fixing people up for decades. How did it come about?
Lisa Chaben: I’ve always fixed people up organically. I didn’t charge them; it was just my passion to connect people who were serious about finding real love, lasting love. Honestly, nothing makes me happier.
Tell us about your methodology.
By nature, I’ll meet people and say, “Oh, my God, she’d be so cute with him.” I’m a people person. I’m a people connector. I fix girlfriends up with girlfriends — somebody to go to a movie with or lunch. But I talk to them a lot. I’ll give you an example. Someone [a guy] says to me, “I work out two hours a day and I only like to snowshoe and ski and blah blah blah,” and a girl says, “I hate any outdoor activities. I don’t like to work out. I don’t like movies, don’t like theater.” [They are probably not going to be a good match.] I only fix up people I think should be together and soulmates. I’m not a match.com or Tinder or Bumble that you swipe.
How did COVID change things up?
When the pandemic began in mid-March, my phone started ringing off the hook, and it hasn’t stopped. Singles, who I either know or who are referred to me from their friends, have become increasingly lonely, isolated, are afraid to date — or don’t know how to date anymore — and more scared than ever that they will never meet “the one.”
What’s it been like for singles during the pandemic — especially if they wanted to be dating?
The mindset among the singles I’m hearing from isn’t the same as before the pandemic. They’re in a funk. They feel like they have no options, no way to meet people since they can’t go out to the bars or parties. They literally don’t know where to turn.
Do you offer them any advice?
I tell people, “Go to Birmingham, to Royal Oak, to the zoo.” There are so many things you can do outdoors; you don’t need to be stuck in your house. You can still go to the DIA [Detroit Institute of Arts]. I give people a little bit of hope of where they can go and where they can meet people.
What about people who are trying to build a new relationship during the pandemic?
Some people right up front aren’t even comfortable going on a date right now. They can talk on the phone. [Or if trying a Zoom date,] make sure you shower and look cute even though you’re at home. Make it fun. Have a wine night. Eat dinner together.
Other thoughts on love in the time of COVID?
Stay positive. Love is the strongest thing there is, honestly, and it will get you through anything. Everybody says to me that they’re never going to find anyone. I say there’s a lid for every pot. There really is. Everybody will have a soulmate.
For more information, visit matchwithlisa.com.