I’m beginning to think most would-be matchmakers have no idea how hard it is to set people up in a way that’s pleasant, productive, and non-humiliating.
It sounds easy, and Anna’s already covered the basics of how to meddle. But somewhere along the way, things have been going awry.
Look, I’m not terribly particular about who I’m introduced to. I figure as long as he’s safe and sane, I’m willing to risk an awkward conversation in the hope of meeting someone interesting. I’ve made some great friends that way. And if he’s Orthodox, of an appropriate age, and has reasonably compatible priorities, there may even be dating potential.
But I’ve also realized some of my friends are viewing me as a Potential Date for Bob more than they’re considering how Bob and I might suit each other’s needs. This is slightly irritating, but mostly I’m getting seriously concerned about my friends.
Guys, being single is fine. Really. I can balance my desire for marriage and a family with contentment in my life right now, and I’d much rather be happily single than in a relationship with someone lousy, or lousy for me. Don’t get me wrong, relationships are beautiful things, and I’m open to meeting Tom or Jim or Larry. But if Tom’s dating my roommate, Jim just got dumped last week, and Larry’s on the bishop track, you’re going to get your matchmaking privileges revoked. (True example.)
- If I say I’m not interested in someone over 13 years older than I am, and your dear friend Terry is literally twice my age, maybe don’t try to convince me that I should just meet him and see how it goes. If the answer’s no, then the answer is no, and your matchmaking privileges are revoked.
- If I ask you why you’d like to introduce us, and the first three paragraphs are about ways I might be good for him or, worse, able to overlook his flaws, then I’m going to be very skeptical. If he turns out to be a terrible fit then your matchmaking privileges will be revoked.
- And if he turns out to be gay, if he’s undateable by anybody, or if he hates all women, then your matchmaking privileges are revoked.
Basically, if you don’t have the common sense and basic respect to listen to my needs and wishes, I don’t trust you to recommend a chocolate bar, much less a human.
In light of that, I have a few simple requests.
Number 1: Please make sure you’re thinking of me specifically. It’s great that he’s a good guy in general, and I’m glad you think I’d be good for him because I’m intelligent, patient, and female. But it’s much more compelling when you say he’s a great conversationalist and you know that matters to me, or that you think I’d love his sense of humor / taste in books / home-brewing hobby.
Number 2: Please don’t discuss So-and-so’s flaws with me when trying to convince me to give him my number. You’ve heard the phrase “damning with faint praise,” ie if all you can say about him is that he’s employed and nice enough, then I’m probably not that intrigued. But lately I’ve been seeing more damning with a lot of justifications. If you can’t make it through one brief intro without feeling the need to qualify it, I’m concerned. Before you hit “send” on that description, check and see if you’ve used the phrase “been through a lot,” “if you can look past,” or “but.” Is that really the first impression you want to make for him?
Number 3: Please be up to date on his life, and make sure he’s someone you respect and trust at a basic level. You don’t have to run a background check and call references, just make sure you know him well enough that he doesn’t turn out to murder household pets when drunk, or be quietly married.
Number 4: Please don’t take it personally if I only care to meet him once, or not at all. I’m reasonably discerning about what I need and whether a certain person would ever be a fit for me. Every single one of these examples was true and suggested to me personally. I have good reason to be discerning! And if the next words out of your mouth after I say no thanks are “You’re too picky,” then guess what? Your matchmaking privileges are revoked.
Th-th-th-that’s all, folks.