Sunday times dating

Ms Violet Lim, chief executive officer and co-founder of Lunch Actually Group, another SDNTrust-accredited dating agency, says: "When we first began in 2004, there was a stigma against the dating industry as people were not really sure what to expect from dating agencies." She says Lunch Actually is seeing more interest in its services not only from individuals, but also from the corporate world.

"While our services are primarily consumed by individuals, sometimes, companies invite us to conduct lunchtime talks or short workshops on topics such as grooming, dating success or gender differences," she says.

"Thanks to the dating services, I evolved from being an introverted person, who didn't take a lot of initiative, to becoming more confident.

I realised I was underplaying my strengths, such as persistence." In his view, women want to see a guy take the initiative, such as holding the door open for them.

At least you have the activities as a distraction or an excuse. If the other person is not your type, it's okay to just be friends.

While speed-dating events and match-making dinners used to be the mainstay of dating agencies, some of them are branching out to organise activities for a diverse range of interests, such as rock-climbing sessions or leather-crafting workshops, according to industry insiders.

Ms Chen Yingying, director of Fabrique Love, an SDNTrust accredited agency, says: "The ratio of men to women approaching dating agencies 10 years ago was probably 30 per cent men to 70 per cent women.

More men are signing up for dating services, a trend that observers say reflects a growing openness to seeking help in romance.

Although specific figures are hard to come by, 10 of the 13 dating agencies accredited by the Social Development Network report a rise in the number of men participating in the dating events they organised over the past five years.

Today, the proportion of men is closer to 40 per cent." The Social Development Network issues the SDNTrust Accreditation to dating agencies with high standards of professionalism.

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