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Matchmaking - Setting up Your Friends

Updated on September 19, 2008

Don't Volunteer - Wait to Be Asked

There is really only one reason to attempt Matchmaking for your single friends, and that is that your single friends have asked you to.

Many single people enjoy being single. They enjoy their independence, or playing the field. They are focused on their careers or their arts. They just aren't ready, or looking, or willing. Suggesting to a single friend that you have a friend you'd like to set them up with could be taken the wrong way. As good as your intentions may be, it could still be construed as a judgment to their life choice. It could be taken as an invasion to what they feel is their private life. It could be a problem.

It's best not to go there. Don't suggest, don't offer. Let your single friend ask for your help, or invite you into that part of their lives.

I was having drinks in the city with my friend Amy when she leaned on her arm on the bar and looked at me with sad eyes, and said, "I want what you have. I'm ready for a commitment. I just can't seem to find any good guys."

That was my invitation.

Know Thy Friend, Not Thyself

One sure way to fail at this, is to set yourself up.

Not literally, but figuratively. Personally, I knew a great guy that had just moved to the area from Berlin. He had an accent, something I love. He travelled often, something else I love. He didn't own a television. He was a non-smoker. He was great with animals and didn't want children. He enjoyed a good martini. Need I say more? I found him charming and wonderful, he was everything I looked for in a guy when I was dating.

Of course he jumped to mind when I thought about setting Amy up with a good guy.

And then he jumped out of mind.

Amy loves kids. She doesn't like to travel, she's very much a home body. She's a TIVO addict and watches "her shows" religiously.

Whenever attempting a set-up, be aware that you and your friend are different. Maybe the TV thing isn't a big deal, maybe opposites attract. Maybe Amy would like travel if she was exposed to someone who could show her the world. These are valid points. But some things are pretty much red flags. You don't set up your friend that's just started in AA with your workmate who never misses a booze cruise. You don't set up a friend who wants to have kids, with a neighbor that doesn't. When you think to yourself, "Wow, I know the perfect guy!" do a quick review and make sure you don't mean, perfect for YOU.

Resist the Urge to Be There

I figured out that my husband had a friend that really might be great for Amy. As it turned out, he had made a similar comment to my husband as Amy had made to me. He was open for the meeting.

Then we gave them each other's phone number's and stepped back.

It's hard to walk away when you're excited about a potential match. It's tempting to want to be there, double date, invite them over to meet for the first time right in your house. But that's really not the best way to go.

For one thing, when you and your friend are together, you tend to gravitate to each other. It's really much more fair to allow that initial gravitation to occur with her date.

You know it about yourself if you think about it. You are a certain way when you're in the company of a good friend that knows your secrets and your shortcomings. While you may think that familiarity might help diffuse any nervousness, it actually has the opposite effect. Your "first date reserved" personality clashes with your "I can burp here and no one cares" personality. It's conflicting.

Additionally, there will be normal moments in the course of an initial meeting that involve silences or little awkward moments in the conversation. That's part of the charm and natural development of any new relationship. When you're in it, you're aware of those nuances. When you're on the outside, it's hard to resist jumping in and and trying to help.

It's really best to let nature take it's course on it's own.

Don't Take Sides, Don't Defend

I got a call from Amy the following week. I resisted the urge to ask. I figured if it didn't work out she may feel awkward speaking about it. But she brought it up. She told me her date went great, and they also met for coffee, and had planned to get together Saturday night for a movie. Things sounded good.

Then she admitted she was uncomfortable about something. He had referred to his ex as a bitch. Let that be a lesson: it's not funny or charming to do that. It's off putting.

She asked me about his ex. Was she really a bitch? What the hell happened between them anyway?

It really wasn't up to me to explain the situation to Amy. It was up to him to tell her in his own way and at his own pace what had transpired between him and his ex, whom we refer to as "The Plaintiff."

Of course, you want to protect your friend, and you don't want to see a potentially good thing get destroyed by an over active imagination. I told her to relax, that I was sure he'd tell her the juicy details when he was ready. I didn't defend his use of the word "bitch", even though I could have. I didn't call him up and tell him to start spilling his guts next time he saw Amy. I just stayed out of it.

Consequently, my husband told me his friend was a little concerned because Amy wouldn't let him pick up the check. It would have been very easy for me to interfere and tell her what he had said. He was trying to be a gentlemen, what the hell is the matter with her?? Except, it's really none of my business. Maybe he had just finished talking about how his business is downsizing, or how much it will cost to repair some flood damage his house had sustained. Maybe Amy feels she owes a guy if she lets him pick up the check. The point is, this is really between Amy and him, not me.

This is probably the hardest part about playing matchmaker. It's hard not to interfere. The things you say can come back to bite you if the situation between them works out. Or doesn't work out. You may even want to do a quick review of this Switzerland Policy when you first agree to set your friend up with someone you know. Tell them, "OK I'm doing this, but once I introduce you that's it, I'm out of it. Alright?"

The Casual Party

Does this all sound a little too intimate? Would you be more comfortable being a little more distant about the whole thing? Throw a party.

Not an intimate dinner party, more like a barbecue or a something casual. Invite your friend and the prospect. And at some time during the festivities, point him out to your friend. Keep it light and casual. "Hey, you know who's here? Greg! I think you two would really hit it off! He's single, and he's right there in the black sweater."

You really don't need to do much more than that. You can step away without any pressure.

A Final Word

Remember that your friend is your friend. You know her as a buddy, not as a date. She may be a completely different person with you than she is with guys. Whatever comes from the set-up, try not to judge. And don't take it personally.

If you like this HUB please click the “Thumbs-Up” below just before the comments.

All text is original content by Veronica.

All photos are used with permission.

All videos are used courtesy of Youtube.


Submit a Comment

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from NY

    Goodwitch - Ha, that is awkward!

    Dana - DAMN I should have put a youtube vid of that on here! Perfect!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I was reminded of When Harry Met Sally when they tried to set up friends with each other and it backfired and the friends left together and wound up married!!! Another great advice article V. You're so right about resisting the temptation to be present. I would be interfering too much I am sure!!!

  • Goodwitch profile image


    10 years ago

    Ha! This reminds me of a situation where I had a friend who wanted to meet someone, and my mother had a friend who also wanted to meet someone. I organized a bbq at my house. Well, my friend (who was the guy) had arrived first. When my mother arrived with her friend (as well as my brother and his girlfriend), my friend lit up when he saw them walking in. He walked over and introduced himself. Unfortunately, he introduced himself to my brother's girlfriend!

    Talk about awkward!

    There was absolutely NO CHEMISTRY between the intended match!

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from NY

    Thanks Maylinda!

  • Maylinda Arons profile image

    Maylinda Arons 

    10 years ago

    "Don't take it personally". Very true. So many people do take it personally, like it's an insult to their choice in men or their knowlege of you if you turn down that 'perfect guy' she's found you. Great hub!


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