How to Navigate Find the Right Match in a Friend Group
Picture this: You have your eye on someone your friend happens to know. It could be fate, but it's more likely you all live in a small city. Perhaps they share a family connection. If this was a movie, your friend would try to set you up with this mutual connection, but without a script in hand and a plot to keep to, they have no idea you're interested.
Another just as likely scenario could be that you're aching for a romantic connection but think you've run out of singles to pursue. However, you know your best friend has a fresh set of eyes to help you.
In either case, it's time for you to make the first move (sort of) and ask your friend to set you up on a date.
The task sounds easy, and yet it's not.
For starters, you might feel awkward about asking your friend to do you this favor. Maybe your crush is a close relative of theirs (like a brother or sister), which can make things complicated between the two of you. Or if there's no one in particular you have your eye on, maybe you don't want to put pressure on your friend to pick someone from their single friends pool.
And what happens if your friend doesn't think there's a right match among their acquaintances? You don't want to jeopardize your friendship if they refuse to set you up or the date ends badly. There's so much at stake—your friendship, your potential date, your confidence—and you don't want to risk it all. That's why we've recruited experts to give you advice on how to ask your friend to play matchmaker.
Decide on what you're looking for
According to Shontel Cargill, a licensed marriage and family therapist and assistant clinic director at Thriveworks in Georgia, it's important to know what you're looking for in a partner before approaching your friend. If you don't already have someone in mind, you can tell your friend what you're looking for and ask them if anyone in their friend group is single and would be compatible with you. This is a good exercise in assessing your actual needs over your instinctual attraction, but it might not yield fruitful results.
"Your friend may have some difficulties setting you up with someone who is a good fit for you and is currently single," Cargill said.
However, if you really do have your heart set on one particular target, you might want to take an alternate route.
"I would encourage you to hang out with the person in a group setting a few times before meeting up for an official date," Cargill added. "This way, you'll get to know them better and have an easier time asking your friend to help out. Plus, your love interest can get to know you and possibly ask you out without the need for a middleman."
Still, it's not weird or uncommon at all for friends and family to play matchmaker.
A tried-and-true method
"Friends and family members used to be the matchmakers of society before internet dating became a valid platform," said Lee Wilson, a relationship expert . "Friends would take it upon themselves to connect single friends who seemed good for each other, and it often worked very well."
However, Wilson agreed with Cargill: Your friend might not know what you want or need.
"Issues can arise when people are choosing a date for someone else and not themselves," Wilson said. "Physical attraction, for example, can be overlooked since your friends could assume that you aren't in a position to be picky or that you are desperate."
What's more, if you aren't interested in the person your friend sets you up with, your friend could have their feelings hurt by the rejection. However, Wilson explained, friends can turn out to be great matchmakers because they are usually looking out for you.
To ensure your friend has an idea of your taste, give them a list of people you find attractive and a list of personality traits you can't live without.
"Though your best friend can't simply dial up the perfect person, knowing what you're looking for at least increases your odds of being introduced to someone who could be great with you," Wilson said.
Of course, your friend can decide not to set you up. They may feel uncomfortable with the request, or, if you have a person in mind, not think it's a good fit. In that case, tell your friend about your intentions, and you can choose to make the first move when you get the chance. Either way, a friend's advice is probably a good thing to have.