Matchmaking 101

I have found that an interesting phenomenon has happened in my dating journey: Everyone and their mother has tried to set me up (and, interestingly enough, so has my mother!). In my early 20s I decided that I was open to being set-up, mostly because it was another way to expand my social circle and meet men I might not otherwise meet. And at first it was mostly my close friends who decided to play match-maker, setting me up with friends of their husbands or co-workers. But then other acquaintances started getting into the act: a friend of my mom’s, my new hairdresser, even the wife of a guy I dated once.

I’ve appreciated friends who not only pray about my future spouse on my behalf, but who also take an active role. And to the extent that dating is something you get better at the more you do it, being set-up has helped me learn to be more comfortable on first dates and practice being a good conversationalist with a complete stranger.

I’ve also learned some things along the way, and I offer a few thoughts below for those of you wanting to help your friends on their journey to the altar!

1. Be thoughtful about who you set up. I once had a co-worker who set me up with a guy because we were the only two single people she knew. Certainly that common ground is important, but it was the only common ground. We were very different people, and we didn’t have much in the way of common interests or life experiences. I think if my friend had asked a few questions before setting us up, she might have discovered that. And while I don’t think meeting someone new is ever a waste of time, it’s not always helpful to find yourself committing to an evening with someone when conversation is hard to come by.

2. Make sure both people are open to being set-up before mentioning something to either one. My high school youth leader introduced me to a guy via email, and after a week of playing phone tag, I stopped hearing from him. It turns out he didn’t realize it was a set-up and wasn’t comfortable with it once he knew we were introduced not to just make a new friend. Not everyone is interested in being set-up, so that’s usually an important detail to figure out before getting your friend’s hopes up.

3. Tread lightly once your friends have made a connection. You’re probably dying to know what they thought of each other, but if it doesn’t go well, it can be really awkward to explain to someone why you aren’t interested in their friend. It’s also weird if you know both people are talking to the person who set them up — it can feel very junior high-ish. Give the couple space to get to know each other and figure out if they’re a good fit. When you’re tempted to interfere, try praying instead!

If friends or family have set you up with someone, what was your experience like?

Copyright 2014 Ashley Boyer Hendley. All rights reserved.

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