Setting Up Friends and Being Set Up: The Dos and Don’ts

man and woman on a date
The idea of being set up on a date used to be objectionable to me. It seemed as if I was lowering my standards because I couldn’t find someone on my own, or as if I wasn’t trusting God to dump a guy on my doorstep.

So I was uncertain when my best friend, Kyle, told me, “I know someone I think you may really like. Can I set you up on a date?” But after thinking about it, I realized that I trusted Kyle. He knows me well, and he’s a good judge of character.

And I realized a few other things: Saying no because of pride that I hadn’t found someone on my own wasn’t a good reason. Being set up by a friend was more appealing to me than going out with a stranger I met on a dating app, because my date was recommended by someone I trust. Also, going on a date wasn’t equivalent to a marriage proposal. If I was uninterested, Kyle would accept that and I didn’t have to see the guy again.

So I said yes. And now I’m happily engaged to the guy Kyle set me up with! (Yes, I’m still a little in shock at this awesomeness.)

I appreciated how Kyle handled the initial set-up and the attitude he encouraged me to take about it. Here are some suggestions if this is a situation you find yourself in.

For the Person Who’s Setting Up Friends

1. DON’T set up two people just because they’re both single. My best friend put some serious thought into setting us up. He took into consideration our similar interests, personalities and beliefs, not just that we were both around 30 and single because hey, that’s all we should be asking for this late in the game, right? Wrong — a compatible relationship is more than just matching age and marital status.

2. DO ask your friend permission to set her up. I appreciate that Kyle asked first, and didn’t just invite the two of us over for dinner and pretend like nothing was going on.

3. DON’T be upset if it doesn’t work out. In my case, it did work out. But Kyle wouldn’t have taken it personally if it hadn’t. I didn’t need the extra pressure of “my best friend will be hurt if this doesn’t work out.”

4. DO pray about it. Being set up doesn’t mean God’s hand isn’t in it. I appreciate that Kyle prayed and thought deeply about the match before setting me up. God can work through other people to make amazing things happen.

For the Person Being Set Up

1. DO go on a double date if you are nervous. Who says it has to be just the two of you? My friend and his wife came along on our date; we went to a board game café and played games together. It relieved the tension because I could get to know my date without the pressure of figuring out how to fill awkward silence — my friends did it for me! They also left early so we had some time to ourselves at the end of the night. By that point some of my nervousness had abated, and we were able to get to know each other one-on-one. However, if I hadn’t been interested, I could easily have left at the same time my friends did without appearing rude.

2. DON’T feel like the date has to go well because your friend wants it to. It’s just a date. You’re free to feel nervous, but it’s fine if things don’t work out.

3. DO let your friend know you appreciate he cares. Kyle didn’t set me up because he wanted to play matchmaker. He did so because he knew I deeply desired a relationship and wanted to see that happen for me in a joyful, healthy way. Regardless of how the date went, I appreciated his thoughtfulness.

4. DON’T rely on your friend’s knowledge. Get to know your date for yourself. You may trust your friend completely, but at the end of the day, you’re the one going on a second date with this person (or not). It’s up to you to get to know her for yourself.

If you are looking for a relationship but are struggling with the minefield of online dating, consider approaching your close friends and asking them to think about setting you up. But if you do ask, make sure you’re open to it — you may be surprised by how seriously they take your request. Now, what have you got to lose?

About the Author

Allison Barron

Hailing from the cold reaches of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Allison is the general manager of Geekdom House, executive editor of Area of Effect magazine, co-host of the Infinity +1 podcast, and staff writer for Christ and Pop Culture. When she’s not writing, designing, or editing, she is usually preoccupied in Hyrule, Middle-earth, or a galaxy far, far away.