Long before the innovative technological savior that is online dating, the best way for singles to meet was by means of introduction through close friends and family. While dating apps and online dating have streamlined this process quite a bit, it can be complicated. That's why dating and relationship experts agree that the tried-and-true way of meeting potential suitors through folks who know is still one of the best ways to find a partner. "You want every opportunity to get out there and meet people beyond your immediate reach, so put it out there!" says Laurel House, a dating and relationship expert and host of the Man Whisperer podcast.
If you're the non-single friend, should you play matchmaker for your single friend? Absolutely, as long as you're taking the specific situation into account. "There will be times where it's okay, and times you will try to stay out of it completely," says Talya Knable, a licensed clinical professional counselor. Here, some scenarios when it's a great idea to play matchmaker for your single friends, plus a few instances where it's probably better to back off.
Do play matchmaker: If you're in a casual setting.
If you can keep things light and casual, the introduction may go better. "Try inviting both people to a party or to a larger dinner where there will be other people to interact with if needed," says Knable. "Allowing both individuals to 'check each other out' in a low-pressure situation and get a feel for if there is a mutual interest is the safest option for you as the friend." This way, if there's no interest from one or either side, it's easy for both to move on. If there is, the next move can be made without your involvement, she adds.
Do play matchmaker: If you truly feel it's a good match.
Just because both individuals are single and looking for a partner is hardly a reason to set them up, unless each expresses interest. However, if you truly feel two people would be a good match, and you know them each well enough to be confident that they could handle things if it does not go well, Knable says it could be worth a shot. "I would advise making it clear early on that you do not want to be involved in the progression of the relationship, rather you will provide the initial introduction and then step out of the way," she says. "Likewise, if a single friend of yours is asking to be set up specifically with someone else you know, you can offer to put them in touch, but then request that your friend take it from there."
Do play matchmaker: If you don't have a close relationship with at least one party.
If you met someone who you think might be a good match for a single friend of yours that you otherwise would have no relationship with, Knable says there is no harm in trying to connect the two. "If it doesn't work out, you are not left having to still interact with both parties," she says.
Don't play matchmaker: If you went on a couple of dates with this person.
This is something House sees frequently, particularly with her nicest clients who feel bad about ending things with someone who they've gone on a few dates with. "Instead of simply saying, 'You are a really great guy, but I just don't feel like we are a fit,' they say, 'You are a really great guy, and I have so many great single friends who I think you might be good with,'" she says. "Now you have yourself on the hook to find someone appropriate for them and you are unable to have a clean break and move on."
Don't play matchmaker: If your friend isn't mature enough to handle things.
"While it might seem that two people would be a good match, there is no way to know how things will play out a few dates in," says Knable. "Your friend needs to be able to accept the possibility that things may not work out how they want, and that is okay."
Don't play matchmaker: If your friend becomes too easily attached.
If your friend has a tendency to obsess over whomever he or she goes out with, it's probably better that you stay out of his or her dating life. "You don't want to be responsible for your friend having to then deal with having to shed your other friend," says Knable.