Labor of Love

Mike and Barbara Farragher are helping others write their own happy endings.

June 26, 2020, was a tough day for Mike ’88 and Barbara (Miskoff) Farragher ’89. As if the pandemic had not disrupted their lives enough, all in one day Mike lost his job at a Fortune 500 company and Barbara lost her mother, both due to COVID-19.

A week later, in the midst of rebuilding their lives, a friend asked Mike to help her with her dating profile. The ask was not unusual for Mike. Having authored five books including This Is Your Brain on Shamrocks, and being a former vice president and hiring manager, he was often tapped by friends and family to help them with their resumes, dating profiles, and personal branding questions.

As Barbara watched Mike walk through the process with their friend, it dawned on her that this long-time side hustle and passion project of his could be something great. Thus, LoveLetters Profiles was born.

Mike and Barbara Farragher met at Monmouth when he was her orientation leader. The two have been together ever since.

“It’s always been kind of a fun thing for me—I pride myself on being an Irish writer, and there’s a real part of the Irish culture around matchmaking, so it’s kind of in my DNA—and I’ve always found it interesting to be able to utilize my ability to bend words in order to help people,” says Mike, who handles most of the writing duties. (Barbara oversees the website and assists Mike during the interview process while fellow alumna Brianna Giordano ’14 handles the company’s social media presence.)

LoveLetters Profiles is a career and dating profile writing service that focuses on instilling confidence and highlighting one’s authenticity, whether a person is looking for a professional change or new romantic partner. Mike typically asks each client to fill out a 10-question survey before he writes up their dating profile and asks for a most recent resume for the career profile remodel. He then reviews it with each person via a video call, at which point, he says, many clients seem to rediscover something about themselves.

“When I write their resume, they see themselves as something bigger than they thought they were. When I write people’s dating profiles, they see themselves as capable of love, with something to offer,” says Mike. “I’ve never in my life had more rewarding work, it’s just been enormously fulfilling to make that kind of difference with people.”

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the Farraghers—who are launching a LoveLetters Profiles podcast in February—shared five tips to help anyone searching to find “the one in 2021.”

Write a love letter to yourself.

Mike says he and Barbara initially started LoveLetters as a copywriting service to write “flirty and playful” dating profiles, but they soon realized their real value was in helping people write a love letter to themselves—something they say is an important step in helping someone open themselves up to love. “To quote the great RuPaul, ‘If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?’” says Mike. “If you don’t believe you are deserving of a great life, it will be hard to convince someone to create a great life with you.”

Focus on what you have to offer versus what you want.

“So many clients come with a list of what they don’t want and what they won’t stand for, and so many of those ‘don’ts’ come from past hurts and baggage still packed from previous relationships,” says Mike. Focusing on what you can offer in your next relationship is not only a great forward-looking exercise to help you leave the past in the past, he says, but it’s also a great motivator for someone to “wink” or swipe right to find out more about you.

Be authentic.

Mike says it’s important to make what you’re looking for clear up front. “We love this one quote from a client who said, ‘I’m not anyone else’s nurse or purse,’ because in one sentence this person sends a clear message that she was looking for someone to stand on their own two feet,” he says.

Utilize your community.

Similar to how those trying to get healthy will join Weight Watchers to connect with a group of like-minded people, Mike says it’s important to find a community to lean on while going through the dating process. “Assemble an accountability group with your single and/or divorced friends to encourage one another to put yourself out there,” he says. “Get together on a video chat to laugh about the absurdity of dating on Zoom during this pandemic, and support one another to keep an empowering mindset.”

Have fun.

“Studies show that men and women find a sense of humor as a top attractive quality in a mate,” says Mike. “Wallowing in the past hurts, and being fearful of putting yourself out there based on bad online experiences diminishes your joy.” Instead, he says, one should look forward to love and not be afraid to show off your smile or sense of humor.