Decoding romance in the digital era with 50 Shades of Love
In today’s fast-paced digital world, the landscape of dating has undergone a seismic shift, with technology reshaping how individuals approach relationships. Amidst the plethora of dating apps and platforms, finding genuine connections can be a daunting task. However, there are a few voices advocating for a more personalised and authentic approach to dating.
One such advocate is Naina Hiranandani, who founded Sirf Coffee along with Sunil Hiranandani, a premier dating service simplifying the complexities of modern dating. Sirf Coffee brings the best of both worlds, modern and traditional, as it allows for genuine connections in a more free environment. In an exclusive interview with Social Nation, as part of our Valentine’s Day campaign #50ShadesOfLove, Naina shares her insights on the evolving dating culture, the unique proposition of Sirf Coffee, and the essence of love in the digital age.
SN: How would you define dating in the digital age?
Naina: In all honesty, confusing. With the advent of technology, we’re all inevitably hyper-connected but lonelier than ever. We’re in a time where emotional health, time and decision-making are vested in the process, and it’s important to not compromise on authenticity (is this even a real person I’m speaking with?) and safety. The definition of relationships and gender identities has also changed significantly, with people willing to experiment more when it comes to the way that they date.
While the modern dating world very often resembles market economics (and we’re constantly trying to break the notion of ‘more is more’), it’s important to remember that when it comes to matters of the heart – all it takes, is one person! That’s exactly why at Sirf Coffee, we do things differently.
SN: What is the one piece of advice you would give to those who are looking for love, on Valentine’s Day?
Naina: Be true to yourself and enjoy the journey of falling in love. You can add value to someone’s life when you’ve worked on self-love, fulfilment and security. Go in with an open mind, and you’ll be surprised by what someone may be able to offer.
SN: Why do you think younger individuals are ready to splurge on dating services?
Naina: Freedom of choice. The younger generation wants to take charge of their love lives, and not leave things to chance. They want to make a conscious effort to find love and do it right, wholeheartedly, rather than spending time meaninglessly swiping on dating apps.
There is intent to do what it takes to find the right person and using a professional matchmaker or a dating service is more likely to help them achieve their dating goals and give perspective. It’s like having a personal cheerleader and coach. Two-way feedback is imperative to our process, so while a dating app probably can’t tell you why someone doesn’t want to meet up again; Sirf Coffee can.
SN: What are some of the things that a 20-year-old someone looks for in their S.O. and how do you think love has evolved over the years?
Naina: Confidence, passion, some purpose in life and good conversational skills make for great first dates! Of course, we all enjoy meeting someone who’s made an effort to look presentable.
As gender roles continue to evolve, relationships are leaning towards respect, equality, communication and joint goals. How we choose our partners, a synergy of value systems and affection has also evolved with romance.
SN: In the age of digital dating, where young users spend most of their time on dating platforms, how does Sirf Coffee stand out?
Naina: The approach to dating is always a deeply personal choice. By that I mean, in line with our personal disposition, sensitivity and intention regarding what we want from this journey. We’ve always stood out with a refreshing, relevant approach – and have curated our membership pool.
Unlike dating apps, someone on Sirf Coffee doesn’t waste time browsing biodatas or swiping on heavily filtered photos. The chances of being catfished or strung along with someone who has differing dating goals are far less – because there is skin in the game.
As matchmakers, we have accountability in the process. Sirf Coffee sets up every date, and our clients’ first interaction with each is in-person, unless they are in different geographies. The idea is for folks to be themselves and get to know each other in a pressure-free setting, at their own pace. They can exchange numbers, date for years, get engaged next week, or simply move on to their next match.
SN: Can you share some insights on the new dating rules for the younger generation, as someone who is a part of the industry?
Naina: Choose a medium that resonates with your personality and emotional disposition. In the busy, fast-paced lives that we lead, dating fatigue is real. If you don’t respect your own time and energy, no one else will.
Be yourself in the most authentic way. It’s easy to be swayed by what your friends are doing, but stay true to yourself and what you want.
Good communication goes a long way and is the foundation of great relationships – ghosting is a turnoff.
SN: How do you ensure authenticity is maintained while vetting out the profiles?
Naina: We have our style of due diligence and verify information with social checks. More importantly, our three-step application process allows us to get to know someone better and then determine if we are a good fit in the first place.
SN: From your initial days to today, which is that one love story that has touched your heart?
Naina: In 2023 alone, we saw 19 weddings, 26 proposals and 44 relationships. One of our Mumbai-based member was introduced to someone in the US. It was her first match ever, while he was on Sirf Coffee for over 6 months, and after a whirlwind romance, there was a proposal. As a tribute to us, she got the Sirf Coffee logo embossed on her kaleera, it definitely made us feel emotional about their love story!
SN: What does a day in the life of a matchmaking professional look like?
Naina: Hand to heart, it is one of the most exciting and unique professions to be in, yet incredibly demanding. A typical day for us involves meeting and interviewing potential members, discussing date feedback and new ideas, and setting up dates across the world. I can safely say no two days are the same!
SN: In India, matches are often fixed by relatives or traditional matchmakers, why do you think Sirf Coffee is a better option?
Naina: The world has changed – so have people’s aspirations, lifestyles and notions of a relationship. What you see on paper about someone is not what you necessarily get – there are several nuances. People are more successful, educated and exposed than they were, which could mean a more discerning outlook to their expectations from a partner. I’m not sure someone’s height, birth time or complexion is a conducive factor to a good relationship.
Whilst adjustment and compromise are the backbone of every great relationship, it is usually code for “crush your dreams” within the Indian dating context, endorsed by traditional matchmakers. As the OG Anti-Aunties, we believe we are a refreshingly relevant alternative for global Indians looking to find love and compatibility without compromise.
Most importantly, Sirf Coffee enables like-minded individuals to get to know each other in a pressure-free setting at their own pace without the involvement of family.
Sirf Coffee epitomises the fusion of tradition with modernity, offering a refreshing alternative to conventional matchmaking. Through personalised attention, a meticulous vetting process, and a commitment to authenticity, Sirf Coffee has carved a niche for itself in the realm of dating services. Sirf Coffee is truly a catalyst in fostering meaningful connections and rewriting the rules of modern romance, one match at a time.