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The dos and don'ts of playing matchmaker for a friend

In theory, the concept of matchmaking is simple. You know two great people, introduce them to each other and voilà—they're perfect together. In reality, however, matchmaking is much more difficult and complex than it seems, particularly when you're dealing with a friend. What may begin as a well-intended gesture could result in anger, heartbreak and severed friendships. So, before you start planning your next "match," here's a list of dos and don'ts of playing matchmaker for a friend.

1.   DO: Listen to your friend, and make sure she's ready for a relationship. 

      DON'T: Pressure your friend into dating.  

Remember, matchmaking should always be for the good of your friend. This is not an opportunity for you to brag or show off your "amazing" dating instincts. Setting two people up is not a game; it's a relatively serious business. By choosing to play matchmaker you have the potential to both make your friend's life better or hurt her deeply. With that said, if your friend tells you that she is not ready to date, take that to heart. Don't keep bringing the subject up. Don't make her feel guilty or awkward about her choice. Whether she's still getting over a past relationship or just doesn't have the time, keep in mind that she has a right to make her own decisions.     

2.    DO: Ask your friend if it's alright to set her up with someone.      

       DON'T: Surprise her with a random date.

Save the surprises for birthday parties and holiday presents. Rarely does anyone appreciate an unexpected date with someone they don't know. Letting your friend set you up in the first place can be uncomfortable in itself. There's no need to make your friend worry even more. Instead, gently tell her about the person you have in mind. Ask her if it would be alright to arrange an introduction at some point in time. If she's receptive, then think about the best time for them to meet each other.     

3.   DO: Introduce them to each other in a social or group setting.

      DON'T: Introduce them to each other in an isolated atmosphere.

Once you've decided to introduce your friend to her "match," brainstorm some upcoming social events. Meeting anyone for the first time can be awkward; meeting a potential partner can be even more nerve-wracking. Group settings typically help to ease some of the tension, especially if both people were planning to go to the event anyways. It makes for a much more relaxed introduction and will allow your friend to feel more comfortable. 

4.   DO: Stay with your friend and support her through her first meeting with her "match."

      DON'T: Hover over your friend or eavesdrop over her conversations. 

You know your friend best, so pay attention to any cues she gives you during that first introduction. If she seems tense or uneasy, stay by her side. If her arms are crossed or she keeps fidgeting, it's probably a sign that your "match" is not going to work out. Still, if she's laughing, smiling or seems to be opening up to this person, chances are it's a good time to step away. You can feel free to keep an eye on your friend, but make sure not to hang too close.   

5.   DO: Accept your friend's initial response to her "match."

      DON'T: Try and sway your friend's opinion on instincts, or make her feel guilty.

At the end of the night, ask your friend what she thought of the other person and their first meeting. No matter what her reaction, be sure to offer your support. If she offers an impassive or dry response like, "It was OK," accept her reply. Asking about what went wrong is alright if you're genuinely interested in listening to her feedback. Nevertheless, questioning her judgement or attempting to shift her opinion is not okay. A good friend stands by her own and looks out for their best interests. Although you may not get the outcome you want, your friendship is much more important than any "match" you're trying to make.      

Has a friend ever set you up with a date or vice versa? Did it end well? Share your stories in the comments.

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by Lauren Padilla | 5/17/2018
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