PORTLAND, Maine — In a hustle and bustle, social media-driven society, a Maine matchmaker says she can help you create opportunities to find love.

On a snowy February afternoon, I met Jill Hinckley, a Portland-based matchmaker who founded Hinckley Introductions seven years ago.  I immediately had to ask the self-described, certified love-pro, how did you become a matchmaker? Without hesitation, she said, “I love hearing people’s love stories. I just get so much out of it myself. I get to share in the happiness.”

Hinckley's ability to make connections with people started long before she became a matchmaker. She started her career in Maine’s boating industry where she worked for her father’s company, Hinckley Yachts, located in Southwest Harbor.  After her father sold the family business, Hinckley became a boating recruiter, and it was then she found her knack for helping people come together.  

“When I was doing the recruiting and I was meeting the people that were looking for jobs in the boating business, I started connected with their personal story,” Hinckley said. “I also had all these single friends that said, 'Jeez Jill, we need someone to help us find people.'”

Hinckley says some people reach out to her because they are busy professionals, and they want to keep their love life private. While others, are tired of online dating or have not been successful with dating in general. 

But don’t expect to find love immediately after meeting with the matchmaker. Hinckley says she must get to know her clients before setting them up on dates. That may involve several consultations. It also requires a 6-12 month contract. 

When making matches, Jill says she focuses on each person’s goals and coaches them to create better strategies for finding love. “My job is to encourage people to try new things, to stay proactive, to stay positive, because I believe their person is out there” 

Hinckley says she has helped create hundreds of connections over the years, and some have resulted in marriage, but she says private matchmaking is not for everyone. That's why, in August 2019, Hinckley launched Make Your Match, a closed Facebook community with matchmakers and love coaches that helps singles learn new ways to find love. She says it is a great resource for people who are 35 years old and up because they have so many options. 

You may be surprised to learn that Valentine’s Day is not her busiest season. She says it’s the beginning of January when many people make New Year resolutions to find love.

Message in the sand stands for self-love
Message in the sand stands for self-love
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The matchmaker adds that Valentine’s Day is a time for self-love. She recommends that people do something for themselves, instead of getting hung up on finding a date. But Hinckley said, “When two find each other, there is nothing better in the world. Love is fantastic.”  Now it’s up to you to find out if taking a risk on love is worth the reward.