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If you"re not clear what you want, and you don"t say what you want, you"re not likely to get it. Certainly not at Great ExpectationsÆ, a nationwide singles membership organization bent on bringing Mr. and Ms. Right together wherever it is you"re both living.

"Great ExpectationsÆ is the oldest, largest, most successful in the world," stated Ed Allen, director of the Indianapolis Center, during an interview in his office in Suite 2070 at 3500 W. Depauw Blvd., Pyramid II.

Safety, mutual consent and self-analysis/attitude improvement are at the center of the 25-year-old organization"s way of doing business. Some 200,000 members later, the no-nonsense approach is particularly respectful of time - theirs as well as yours. Allen, or one of the other counselors, will tell you straight up whether you"re likely to be a successful member at this particular moment. It"s a rigid screening process based on a no-nonsense interview following completion of a searching questionnaire. You have to be sincere and honest about who you are.

"Our members are people fed up with the old avenues of meeting people - bars, nightclubs, church, workplace. So much has changed."

Allen points to the risks connected with the so-called open marketplace of courtship. "You can be devastated financially, emotionally and physically," he stated. "Great ExpectationsÆ boasts a 94 percent success rate of marriages, over 6 percent of divorces, a lot different from the national percentage approaching a 50 percent divorce rate."

It"s not a quick-fix program, he pointed out. The average time is about nine months before you"re likely to find the compatible partner, but expect it to take longer. It depends upon where you"re coming from and where you"re at. "Everyone has an hourglass of time," he explained.

Running right into another relationship on the heels of a divorce or death of a spouse may not be smart. Allen talked about "comfort zones."

Lonely people looking for love have to face hard facts about themselves and what they"re looking for. You"re asked to assess who you are - not merely what you do, but what you think, what you envision for your present and future, what makes you a pleasant date and a good partner in a relationship.

After completing the questionnaire you"re going to know a great deal more about yourself, why you"ve been in dead-end relationships or happily married until death parted. The point is to put you in control of your life, your emotions and your choices.

After you sign on to membership, your one-page profile and photographs are placed in a three-ring binder (alphabetically by first name only) and a numbered video interview is placed on a shelf. Members visit the attractive library, look through binders, watch tapes and list names of people they"d like to meet. It resembles a library call slip.

The counselor notifies your choices. Some may say, "No thanks." For those who want to meet you, a mutually agreeable date, time, place and activity are arranged.

In the meantime, others are making choices, and you may be on their lists. After reviewing their photos, profile and video you can say yes or no to a meeting. If you move, you can transfer membership to the new location.

"It"s that simple," Allen said. "And it works because we create an incredible amount of exposure for people to meet each other. For example, 3 to 4 percent out of a hundred have true compatibility. By making the numbers more significant, say a pool of 400 that match your specifications, the chances jump to 16."

For the approximate cost of a cruise, you get a chance to meet interesting, vibrant people you choose to meet, learn more about yourself through the assessment process and have the opportunity to participate in no-risk group activities sponsored by Great ExpectationsÆ.

"What"s amazing is that we"re taught just about everything else but how to make what"s probably the most important choice in our lives: a mate for a lifetime. You can"t put a price on love, on a healthy, mutually respectful lasting relationship with another human being," concluded Allen, who met his wife through Great ExpectationsÆ.

For more information call 471-0580.