Author | Photo Priscilla De Preez

Toronto-based Shift Dating removes the frustrations from online dating

Is Tinder getting you down? Does your eHarmony account bring more aggravation than joy to your life? Online dating can be a confusing and overwhelming space to navigate, often bruising the ego more than lifting it. “Honestly, online dating is a mess. People are sad, frustrated, and annoyed,” says Anita Sedgwick, Founder of SHIFT, an executive dating and coaching service. “They feel misplaced when they go online. People are giving up!” But it doesn’t have to be this way.  

Understanding the frustrations, Sedgwick launched SHIFT to help people find the match they’re looking for in an affirming way, that also removes the giant time suck that can happen when you’re endlessly vetting potential dates. “Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of friends—who are really smart, and who have a lot to offer—give up on online dating. ‘It doesn’t work for me’, they say, and it makes me sad because they’re amazing! It’s about knowing how to work the system.”

Having done an extensive deep dive to understand the many facets of various dating sites (Bumble isn’t the same as Plenty of Fish) Sedgwick knows that the algorithms are often doing a disservice to users. She describes the online dating scene as mimicking a bell curve, “The reality is that something like 80% of women only really go after 20% of the ‘top’ men. While the remaining 80% of men are left to compete over something like 20% of women.”

At SHIFT, Sedgwick and team remove the irritation. “We give you a free session of coaching, and offer you advice on where you might be floundering.” After this initial session, there are different services clients can choose from that range from helping you punch up your bio to a full takeover of all accounts to fully manage the search.

“We spend time working through the algorithms to ensure our clients can get the matches that make sense to them based on their relationship goals,” she says. It’s efficient, removes the headache, but the team at SHIFT also helps with the emotional piece, which a website, —no matter how well it functions—simply can’t provide. 

With bars and gyms, or wherever people pick up, shut indefinitely due to Covid-19, and events like weddings and fundraisers postponed due to social distancing, online dating is likely the only way to initiate a new relationship. “I think what we can now focus on, in this new reality, is quality versus quantity. Instead of just swiping and swiping, take the time.” Sedgwick suggests ordering delivery from a favourite restaurant and sharing a meal or some wine over a video date. 

For those who have never ventured into the online dating space or are perhaps dating for the first time in years, Sedgwick encourages you to push beyond your comfort zone. “We will go through your photos with you, and identify the ones that bring your best self forward. We will write up your bios based on the platforms that align with your relationship goals. When you’re happy with your set-up, we’ll coach you across those platforms with how best to chat, text, and message your potential matches,” Sedgwick says smiling, confident she’ll find someone you will enjoy.

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