Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life\u2019s sentiments. \u201cThe secret to dating successfully is being optimistic and hopeful.\u201d Anisa told me, in a make-no-bones-about-it way. \u201cYou need to come from a position of strength.\u201d In 2021, the current online dating landscape is flooded with options. But instead of more freedom, it\u2019s been giving us choice paralysis. There are simply too many candidates, with not enough time to sort through them all. You could spend a whole evening swiping right on Tinder and come out of it without a single date, come Friday. Biography: Anisa Hassan\u00a0 \tAnisa Hassan was formerly a broadcast journalist for Channel News Asia. \tIn 2004, she quit her job to run a Singaporean matchmaking service called Date High Flyers. \tNow, her years of experience matchmaking more than 1,200 couples is codified on Joompa, a matchmaking app for Muslim singles. Enter Anisa Hassan, a matchmaker with over 16 years of experience pairing people with their life partners. I sat down with her virtually to talk about Joompa, her new matchmaking app for Muslim singles, and more importantly, why modern dating apps are stacked against the average individual. Problem #1. Too Focused On Visuals \u201cThe recent modern onslaught of dating apps are highly focused on visuals.\u201d She said. \u201cThose who don\u2019t look attractive in their first picture get swiped left and left behind.\u201d So it was true, then \u2014 women only look for handsome dudes in dating profiles? \u201cIt\u2019s not that. On a dating app, you\u2019re putting your best \u201cface\u201d forward.\u201d Anisa explained, giving me an example: \u201cI knew a young gentleman who worked for the Ministry and loved travelling to Europe, Greece, but he didn\u2019t include those photos. Instead his profile pictures showed him on a kerbau, in the middle of a paddy field, posing next to a scooter in a plantation.\u201d \u201cWhen I vetted him, he was articulate and had an interesting bio, but no woman wanted to click on his profile,\u201d she told me. The rise of these visual-focused dating apps, where a person\u2019s entire personality is reduced to a profile picture and a couple of lines of bio at the bottom, has created a subculture of men who consider themselves too ugly to date called incels. But if Anisa is right, perfect bone structure, a sports car, or a muscular bod is not the key indicators of dating success \u2014 they need to learn how to present their best selves. Problem #2. People Behave Differently Online and Offline Anisa getting to know a client \u201cHave you noticed a lack of self awareness amongst dating profiles?\u201d She asked me, the corners of her mouth twitching upwards slightly. You mean like how there\u2019s a wide gap between what people say they want and what they are really looking for? \u201cExactly. There are men who say they want a very family oriented woman, and then they look for women\u00a0 who assert their independence and free-spiritedness.\u201d \u201cThere are women who say they want a humble man, but they look at gentlemen who come from a higher strata, someone who they can marry upward into.\u201d Well, that\u2019s human nature, I said. \u201cOf course. People want what they cannot get.\u201d So what do women really want in a man? And what do men really want in a woman? \u201cMost women want a gentleman with some leadership quality, someone who they can respect, someone who can take charge (but not be controlling). Women value a man that has a goal. She wants to be part of his bigger goal that they can work towards, together.\u201d \u201cFor most gentlemen, they appreciate a woman that can play her part. They don\u2019t want anybody who is too alpha, someone whose energy is, \u201cThis is who I am! What you see is what you get.\u201d They already have that in the boardroom. Rather, they are attracted to someone who is also equally driven; someone nurturing and a good listener, who expresses her views in a smart coherent manner.\u201d These, Anisa clarified with me, were her experiences with men and women in the middle-to-upper class strata of society, when she was a matchmaker for Date High Flyers. 3 Facts About Joompa: \tAbout 80% of Joompa\u2019s users are Malaysian moderate Muslims struggling to find the right partner. \tModerate muslims can\u2019t date conventionally, because they aren\u2019t allowed to be physically close. \tJoompa includes several faith-based questions to gauge where each user stands on the traditional to modernised scale. Problem #3:\u00a0 Full of Catfishers\u00a0 Aside from the poor dating pool of candidates, catfisher syndicates out there are taking advantage of the chaos to scamming unsuspecting singles of their money. In Anisa\u2019s line of work, women in their late 30s to early 50s who are very financially secure tend to fall prey to scammers more often. Usually, they\u2019re single, have never been married, are not familiar with online dating, and haven\u2019t wised up to the tricks catfishers play. \u201cA lot of my clients have already experienced being catfished but are too embarrassed to talk about it, or even report it to the police.\u201d She told me gravely. How can women protect themselves from catfishers? \u201cWhen they employ the services of a matchmaker instead,\u201d Anisa says. \u201cIt\u2019s like they have a wingwoman.\u201d That\u2019s why she designed Joompa to be safe for people. She always tells her clients that it\u2019s always safer to communicate on the platform. How should people approach dating? Dating criteria varies between person to person, Anisa told me, but three key points are the same. \u201cIt all comes down to values, family background, and past experiences.\u201d She said. If you and your partner can have the exact same values, background, and experiences, you\u2019ll find yourself resonating with that person the most. When you are coming to dating from a position of strength, it\u2019s definitely a lot healthier than bringing unresolved emotional trauma with you. \u201cSome people are fearful, some allow past relationships to dictate their future relationships. Some come from a place of neediness, saying, \u201cI\u2019ve just lost a husband and I need someone to make me feel secure.\u201d Some come from a place of doubt, saying, \u201cI don't know if this next person is ever going to accept me for who I am.\u201d Well, no one can be exactly like your perfect ex.\u201d The key to moving on and finding a new person is making a new space for them in your heart, Anisa shared with me earnestly. \u201cYou need to be optimistic and hopeful, you need to come from a happy space.\u201d Only then, she says, she can endorse the candidate wholeheartedly, to be able to say with certainty that they\u2019re going to be great for each other. At the end of the day, we\u2019re all social creatures. People want to reconnect. We want to be around someone we can have a decent conversation with. \u201cYou just want to vibe with that person, right?\u201d \u00a0 For more stories like this, read: The Racism I Experienced Dating In Malaysia and I\u2019ve Been a Foreigner in Malaysia for a Decade \u2014 Here\u2019s Why I'm Leaving. If you like what you read, follow us on Facebook & Instagram. This article was not sponsored by Joompa, I just felt like talking to a matchmaker.