Your BFF’s Ticket to Romance? You.

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.

Fun stuff.

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 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.


Filed under The Search

7 responses to “Your BFF’s Ticket to Romance? You.

  1. Emily

    That is a fabulous story! And you know, it really is testimony to your match-making wisdom – presumably, your friend and her BFF share a lot of qualities. If Guy is hitting it off with the BFF, then it means that he’d likely have hit it off with your friend too. Just a case of bad timing!

  2. anonymous

    This is proof that the human connection really does work wonders: My BFF was just set up with a guy (my boyfriend’s roommate, actually) and it’s going SUPER well. The funny (and, for me, awkward) thing is who set them up: My BFF’s ex! So far, it’s going really, really well and I’m so happy for her – but, if it were me, I wouldn’t be able to pursue a set-up offering if it came from my ex. Too weird.

  3. Karen A.

    Thanks for the plug about the upconing match on Jeapordy including the IBM computer (Watson – named for IBM Founder Thomas Watson), Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. I have seen some of the clips from the taping and it is a little spooky, but totally awesome. I was a little bummed this display of man vs machine fell on Valentines Day; it just seems that day should be reserved for the human heart!

  4. Kate

    Setups are definitely tricksy. My husband actually setup one of our (Girl) friends with a guy he knew from the gym. They hit it off. Dates were had and, yes, sleepovers ensued. After a month or so, Gym Guy fell off the face of the earth in the worst case of He’s-Just-Not-Into-You I have ever witnessed. No break-up. No “Dear John” text. No, not even a Post-It. Our Gal was devastated. She even started working out at my husband’s gym to stage run-ins with the Gym Guy. It was really, really bad.

    Luckily for us, she met the man who will be her husband come May very shortly after. Whew, close one.

    But on the upside, my husband and I were setup by our respective mothers. And he asked me to marry him three weeks later. So they definitely can work.

    • Kate

      In other set-up news, my CEO’s mother just told me she wants to fix me up with her “other” son who’s coming into town. I had to tell her “Um, I’m married.” Hilariously ironic!

  5. TC

    My ex and I were set up by friends. I just point blank asked my friend if she knew any guys I could date. She didn’t, but her husband’s friend’s wife suggested my ex. Funny…his inital contact was right around Valentine’s Day too. We went out on a date mid-February, were together, then broke up. It was crazy though…because we chatted like old friends! When we first met, I had no expectations of anything progessing into a relationship. I thought he would make the best male friend ever. Actually, I even told him that. He probably took what I said as “Challenge!” Anyway…he pursued me and then I began to see him as much more. We lasted…perhaps 6 months?? After the initial hurt of a relationship gone bust…I really missed his friendship.
    Long story short…we’re still friends (we dated in 2009). I have friends who are curious as to why we’re not dating. I tell them the same thing I told him when we first met that we were meant to be just friends. So the moral of the story is….even though you may not find “the one” if you partake in these setups, you may still get a pretty good friend out of it. 🙂

  6. Melinda

    Interesting post! My husband and I were actually just recently matchmakers. My friend wanted to meet someone different than her ex and his friend was single, not really looking but didn’t mind meeting new people. From the beginning we said that we would make the introduction but not get involved further. So far everything is going really well and we are really happy for them. It’s been a few months now so we are hoping for the best!

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