It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.
“According to a new nationally representative survey of 3,009 adults with a romantic partner, the Internet has now overtaken all the ways people meet, save one: meeting through friends. … Regardless of when they met, at least 32% of respondents said friends brought them together.” (“Friends No. 1 way to meet that Valentine, but Web is growing” USA Today, 02/11/2010)
Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, so now is an appropriate time to look at the role friends play in romance. According to this survey, it’s a big one.
As I’ve mentioned, I generally avoid setting people up. Why? Perhaps I should share my most recent attempt at matchmaking.
Last month, I was sure I had come up with a compatible pairing. I talked each one up to the other (for ease, let’s call them Girl and Guy), forwarded contact information, the whole bit.
The first date was put on hold because Guy had recently been set up with someone else, and he wanted to see where that relationship would go before pursuing my offering. He thought Girl was cute but didn’t want to get himself caught up in two potential relationships at once. (Three cheers for my guy friends not being total crapweasels!) Fast forward one week and I get an email from Girl telling me that the “someone else” Guy had been set up with was… her best friend.
Of course it was.
Now she’s not interested, even if Guy and Girl’s BFF don’t work out, because it would just be too weird. Sloppy seconds and all that. (Or so I’m told.) And you can imagine the conversation when Girl told her BFF Guy’s name, only to learn that BFF and Guy were currently in the early stages of dating.
So, yeah. I avoid set-ups as a policy. But you shouldn’t. According to the survey above, friends are the most reliable method for meeting a “romantic partner.” (That is a silly phrase. I have never, nor will I ever, call Matt my romantic partner. Ew.)
While the Internet is efficient, psychologists say that real humans will always beat out the computer in terms of reliability for meeting others. And while I’m totally pro-Internet dating—I’m going to a Match.com wedding this summer!—I like that human connection wins out. Especially in a world where a computer is about to take on Ken Jennings. (Set your DVRs people. Feb 14, 15, 16. It’s on.)
So this Valentine’s Day, perhaps the nicest thing you can do for your single BFF is to introduce her to some of your other single pals. You never know.
Unless you’re me. Then you do know. It won’t go well.
If you’re single, do you trust friends most of all when it comes to meeting a potential mate? Everyone, please do share your set up stories—good and bad. The worse they are, the more they’ll make us laugh.