I love bringing people together, and am what Malcolm Gladwell would call a “connector.” If you’re telling me about how you really love comic books, I’m going to hook you up with my friend who’s selling a bunch you might want. You want a new assistant at your office? My friend’s younger brother is the perfect kid for the job. Or you need a new apartment? I’ve got a buddy who’s a Realtor who can help find you a place. And in that same way I love helping my friends make love connections. Over the years, I’ve introduced a few couples (one met while there was a destructive indoor fireworks show happening at my house on New Year’s a few years back) and have also been the object of a set up or two. And I’ve learned there are a few helpful rules you should observe when trying to make sparks fly:
Make Sure Your Friend Really, Actually Wants To Be Set Up: Does she want to meet someone new, or does she just want to complain about how much dating sucks? One doesn’t necessarily equal the other. For some people, being matched is actually more trouble than it’s worth: they don’t want to feel beholden to their friend for a date. So be considerate of your friends’ feelings.
Be Thoughtful: Pete and Peggy are both studying sociology in grad school, have both been to Guatemala before and are both divorced = good match. Joan and Roger are both in their late 30s = bad match. Figure out what your friends have in common ahead of time and give them both a little something to go on so they’re prepared for the date.
Nudge, Don’t Force: Your role is to introduce and provide a neutral ground (a party, a coffee date, whatever) for your friends to meet. And that’s it. Don’t noodle or bug them after the fact. And if you value your friendships stay out of whatever annoying interpersonal dramas they happen to start up. Or in other words, MYOB!
Don’t Set A Friend Up With Someone YOU Actually Want To Date: I know, it’s straight out of a rom-com, right? Make sure that the particular person you’re setting up isn’t someone you’d actually want to sex on. Remember, setting a friend up isn’t about you and your feelings, so you should figure those out ahead of time.
Timing, Timing, Timing: Your friend just got out of a traumatic 7 year relationship. Sure, maybe you know the perfect dude for her, but chances are, she’s not going to be in the frame of mind to meet new people for a while. So lay off, take her for ice cream, and put your matchmaking skills back on the shelf until she’s sufficiently over it.
Don’t Insult Anyone: I was once set up on a date by a friend who thought I’d absolutely get along great with another friend of hers. Turns out, he was a socially awkward dishrag of a dude, and I ended up feeling super insulted that she’d thought he was right for me. Only set people up who you think might actually have a connection — don’t subject your friends to going on awkward dates just because you happen to know a few single guys. This goes double for gay friends. Newsflash: Just because two people are gay doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re bound to get it on.
Consider Geography: You know this great guy, but he lives 7 towns away. It’s hard enough to get a relationship started when all the balls are in the right court. But when you’ve got something as massive as geography against you, be considerate. That doesn’t mean a successful set up can’t happen, but it does mean that both parties have to know what they’re getting into when the set up begins.
Don’t Take It Personally: Okay, it didn’t work out. There are a zillion little factors that go into making a couple work or not work, and hopefully your friends can appreciate the thought you put into trying to make them happy.