Want to be a matchmaker? If you want to learn how to set someone up with their right match, you really need to take your time and let things be.
As someone who was single for a long time while all my friends weren’t, I have been set up… a lot… with no success. So, I know how people go wrong when trying to set someone up, and I also have some insight into how to set someone up to meet the right person.
I actually helped two friends in college get together. Now they are married and expecting a baby. But, one thing I will say is that I don’t take all or really any of the credit. Sure, I may have given them a nudge, but that’s all. I also wasn’t trying to get them together for my own ego or because I thought they needed to be dating. I knew they liked each other or at least had an interest in one another, so I just gave them both a little confidence boost moving forward.
Setting someone up is an art, not a race. It takes patience, and you may be surprised to hear this, but a hands-off approach. Setting someone up isn’t about control or meddling. It isn’t about pushing someone into something they don’t want. It is about offering a bit of advice or encouragement and letting them do the rest.
How not to set someone up
A lot of people go into setting someone up thinking they are doing their friend a favor when in fact they’re doing it for themselves. People in relationships often assume their single friends can’t possibly be happy on their own. They want another couple to hang out with and push their friend together with someone for their own benefit.
I am not saying you’re doing this or have done it. But it is possible even if you didn’t realize it. It doesn’t make you a bad friend, it just means you going about setting someone up all wrong.
If you want to know how to set someone up, avoid these common mistakes.
#1 Having expectations. Just because you think two people might be perfect for each other doesn’t mean they’ll end up happily ever after. Just as you shouldn’t have expectations going into a date, you shouldn’t have expectations when setting someone up.
This only makes you put more pressure on yourself and them. You are introducing these people or gently nudging them, you aren’t pushing them down the aisle. There is a good chance it won’t work out no matter how much you may want it to, so just do your part and let it be.
#2 Getting their hopes up. Setting someone up doesn’t mean you promise them it’ll work out and this is their soulmate. Don’t oversell someone. Getting your friends’ hopes up only gives them false expectations which will surely lead to disappointment.
#3 Giving too much information. Just like I wouldn’t usually recommend talking on a dating app for too long before meeting, this is the same. Offer up basic information but not too much. Anything that goes beyond their job, age, sense of humor, and maybe a hobby is too much. You will cause your friend to create a picture in their head, or a fantasy that this person won’t live up to. Let them get to know them on their own, without your influence.
#4 Forcing it. It doesn’t matter how much you want them to be together, do not force it. Do not push them together. Do not throw a party just so they’ll both be there. And don’t force them to talk to you about the date you set up. This will likely drive them apart.
#5 Not telling them. Never set someone up without telling them. This is not cool. Consent, even when setting someone up, is vital. You don’t know if they want to be dating. You don’t know if both people are in a place where dating is a good idea.
#6 Pressuring them. If a friend says they don’t want to be set up or aren’t interested in someone, don’t push the issue. If you liked someone and they didn’t like you back, you’d back off. Do the same thing now. Pressuring someone into liking someone else will only lead to a strained friendship with you. And if they do date, it will be unhealthy.
#7 Guilting them if it isn’t working out. Things don’t always work out. No matter how well you thought they would be together or how well it seemed to be going, if it isn’t working out, let it be. Don’t make your friends feel bad that it didn’t work out. This isn’t a failure for anyone. Telling them how sad it makes you or how hard you tried to find the right person will not make anyone feel better.
#8 Assuming anything. This is where most of my setups went wrong. A friend would set me up with someone assuming they wanted the same thing I wanted. I was ready for a relationship, but the people I met only wanted something casual.
If you’re setting someone up and know what they are looking for out of a setup, be clear. Get straight answers, or don’t do it. You can introduce people without these answers, but meaningfully setting someone up means you aren’t assuming anything.
How to set someone up in a way that’s best for them
Now that you know what to avoid when setting someone up, you can learn about all the things you should do for how to set someone up successfully! Setting someone up isn’t a full-time job. You aren’t a matchmaker. You are just trying to help a friend get closer to a happy relationship if that’s what they want.
Despite what you may believe, setting someone up with the right person isn’t anything like being a producer on a show. You aren’t controlling dates, picking outfits, or suggesting conversation topics. You are offering a suggestion and letting go.
If you’re still unsure what that means or how to go about it, here are some great rules to follow for how to set someone up.
#1 Check with them first. If you want to set up two friends, check with both of them before moving forward. Make sure they are both okay with being set up and find out what they want. Are they both looking for something casual?
Just because you have a single friend doesn’t mean they are dying to meet someone. Be sure to get consent from both people.
#2 Really consider who you’re picking. Why do you think they would like each other? Are they both single and attractive? Not a good reason. Do they both work in marketing and love baseball? Do they quote the same movies? Think about the real reason you think they’d be good together.
Even if you think they’d be great together, if one of them wants to be casual and the other is looking to settle down, don’t pretend you don’t know that and do it anyway. Really consider your choices. No matter how sure you are, you can’t just assume someone will change their mind because they met.
#3 Offer up facts, not opinions. Instead of selling someone, be honest. Don’t share every memory you have with them. Share their age, hobbies, and job. You can say they are always honest or they volunteer at the animal shelter, but don’t gush over things that are subjective. It will cause them to go in with expectations and make them second guess themselves if they have a different opinion from you.
#4 Share how you know them. If you are setting your friend up with someone you work with, but barely know, they have a right to know that. Maybe you think someone from work has a similar sense of humor to your friend but you don’t know much more about them, tell your friend those limits. They may let their guard down thinking this is someone you trust and know very well.
#5 Give them control. Once you make the initial set up, let them be in control. You don’t need to pick the spot for the date. You don’t need to offer advice or know every detail. The most important part of knowing how to set someone up and having it work out is knowing when to back off.
#6 Relax. Don’t get so high strung about it. You set someone up and now let what happens happen. If it doesn’t work out, it isn’t your fault. You offered up the information you had and they went into it like they would another date.
Don’t dwell on this. Just let it be. Being too invested in anyone else’s relationship will not end well and could harm your friendships too.
#7 Stay out of it unless asked. Do not text your friend immediately and ask if they are smitten. You can simply ask how it went without pushing them in one way or another. You want them to be honest with you, not feel bad that things didn’t turn out as you hoped. Unless they ask for your advice or clarity on something, stay out of it. You did your part.
#8 If you know they get nervous, set up a double date. If you know your friend gets nervous about dates, keep it casual. Set up a game night and have a few people over. This way they are forced together. They can get to know each other in a casual setting to see if they even have an interest in each other before moving forward.
Just again, be sure they both know what you’re doing, so no one is blindsided.
#9 Realize anything can happen and that’s okay. Maybe they go on a few dates. Perhaps they hate each other after night one. Maybe they date for a year and break up. It is all out of your hands. After you set them up, it is no longer your responsibility or worry. If someone met someone else online and it didn’t work out, they wouldn’t blame the app or website they used.
#10 Don’t gloat. If things do work out and both people you set up are happy together, just let it be. Don’t gloat. Don’t act like if it weren’t for you they would be withering away in loneliness. You introduced them or let them know the other was interested. Simply put, you were a good friend. If you gloat about it for the rest of forever, chances are, you’d just end up losing two of your friends. And worse, other friends may always be wary to be set up by you too!
Knowing how to set someone up with their right match isn’t about everything you do but actually about everything you don’t do. So the next time you’re thinking about two friends and think they’re a match, give all of this a serious thought and follow it.