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So I Know This Great Person. . . January 28, 2010

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings.
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Why do people try to matchmake? Is there a proper way to matchmake? What are matchmaking faux pas? I’m not decrying matchmakers in general. I myself have introduced at least two couples, one of whom (or one of which?) got married. However, in neither case did I accomplish the setup by saying, “Hey, you’re single–I know this great other single person!” Instead, I saw one friend who had a common interest with another friend, and I introduced them from that angle.

My coworker took a different approach. Talking about needing to “find his friend a woman”, he said to me, “You’re single, right?” I would have preferred, “Hey, I have this friend who likes kittens and yoga, so you two would get along–you’re single, right?” I might have even agreed to the setup, for a fun outing. But instead I flinched inside and said, “Yes, single, and happily so.”

“Happily?” he said, and I swear his eyes got wide.

“I don’t really have time,” I said. This statement, while true, was a strategic blunder.

“Time? You work four days a week!” True, that. But I work four days a week because of health issues. I don’t want to share that fact with the office. As I deal with my body issues, I use up a lot of emotional resources that are therefore not available for a romantic relationship.

I didn’t say this to my coworker. I said, “I have other things I have to take care of.” (Pause while he stares with his round blue eyes and I feel as if he sees my four-hour weekend naps and disapproves.) “I like to concentrate on my writing. My Arabic classes.” True, that, also. But why did I feel the need to defend my choice? Am I not allowed to have unstructured free time unless I’m trying to fill it with a boyfriend?

“If someone stellar came along, I might think about it,” I said. That’s not untrue, but the reason I said it was so I would not sound snotty or abrasive or defensive. But at the same time, I wondered–what’s wrong with taking a firm (or mildly offended) stance against being cornered by someone who assumes that because you’re single, you must be “looking”?

Feeling as if I had somewhat capitulated to matrimania (and feeling the flinches of all our Onderful readers), I tried to redeem myself by saying, with a smile, “Right now I just don’t feel any sort of lack in the relationship area.” His eyes were still big, and I felt I wasn’t doing justice to the whole Onely mission (the conversation having caught me by surprise with no preparation time!), so I bolted away back to my own cube.

The conversation shook me up a little more that it probably should have, because it was sort of a double-whammy: My coworker (totally unintentionally) devalued not only my choice of singlehood, but also my choice to have secret four-hour naps on the weekends.

He was just trying to be nice to his friend, though. And he thought I was enough of a quality person that he would introduce me to someone he cares about. Does that make  it all ok?

–Christina

photo credit: zetson

Comments»

1. Alan - January 29, 2010

I’m not sure it makes it OK if they think you’re a good person.

It reminds me of the stories I hear about people badgered by family members to get married, the excuse being “but I want you to be happy”.

You’d think that if you were concerned about someone’s happiness, you’d take the time to find out if that person was indeed happy and if not what was going to make them happy. Not force your idea of happiness on them, expecting that it will make them happy as well.

And I think being a bit abrasive may actually help. It doesn’t come naturally, but I’m afraid there are too many people out that with whom you have to be very direct.

2. Rachel - January 29, 2010

Why do people try to matchmake? Couplemania. You cannot possibly be happy being single, therefore they need to undo your single status by introducing you to someone they know who is also single. Then they potentially score two points…

Is there a proper way to matchmake? Yes. If you intend to introduce two (or more) people who have things in common because they have things in common not because you want to undo their single status. This also makes it unnecessary to verify that you’re indeed single. If you were in a (standardly defined) relationship, you might still be interested in making new friends or at least getting to know some folks who have things in common with you.

Lauri - January 31, 2010

what if people tried to match two potential friends together? I’ve never seen this happen, but it would be great. What if a coworker said to himself, “you know what, I bet my niece and lauri would make good friends, I should suggest it.” Howcome that never happens?

Onely - February 1, 2010

Lauri — I agree! I’ve noticed that as I grow older, the friend-making dynamic gets stranger. In the last year, I have literally told a new friend (who was mutually acquainted with another friend), “I’m so glad we’re friends now. I’ve wanted to be friends with you for a long time!” Which is absolutely true, but awkward to say out loud. Luckily my new friend felt the exact same way, so it was less awkward :)

- Lisa

Lauri - February 1, 2010

haha that’s funny Lisa. I made a new friend last year via a mutual friend, and she just moved away! It sucks because she was the one fellow single person I knew in town! I’m trying to make new friends, but getting nowhere! I’ve never found those meetup.com groups as very effective- people go for the hike or the bike ride, not to make friends. It doesn’t help on Saturday night when you’re looking for something to do. Likewise with rec teams and stuff like that. We need to institute friend set ups!

Onely - February 2, 2010

Lauri, don’t give up on Meetup.com. Have you tried the language groups? I love those.
CC

3. Nicole - January 30, 2010

I guess I have set up friends before, but that was with the idea that each party had expressed interest in, as you say, the same things, or said they wanted to date. I’m not sure if I’m more enlightened now, but I can’t imagine approaching someone at my work with a line like “You’re single, right?” Just seems wrong to me, and it seems as though your response is completely valid to me!

4. Lauri - January 30, 2010

I kind of wish someone would try to matchmake for me, because I barely have any friends in town and going on a date kills time. But I do hate how people just try to set up the only two single people they know rather for any practical reason.

Onely - February 1, 2010

HA — “going on a date kills time” — that is so funny, because I just enjoyed a VERY boring/uneventful weekend but was incredibly productive, and I thought to myself, “I bet having a date or two would make my life more dramatic.”

Not more fun, just more dramatic. Something to think about besides my boring life!

– Lisa

5. Simone Grant - February 6, 2010

You started the post with a few questions – Why do people try to matchmake? Is there a proper way to matchmake? What are matchmaking faux pas?

Rachel touched upon the answer to the first one. Being a part of a couple is the norm for adults in our society. So those of us who are single (even happily so) are living outside the norm. People, even well -meaning people, see us as defective in some way.

The proper way for him to do it would have been to ask if you had any interest, not to pester you and belittle your responses.

The third answer is pretty obvious, as he was Mr. Faux Pas.

I’m sorry you had to deal with that. It sounds dreadful.

Onely - February 6, 2010

Thanks Simone–it wasn’t too bad really. He’s a nice guy and just following the conventional (albeit annoying) social smalltalk of our day (sigh). Oddly, the very next day another coworker made a similar comment to me and my single coworker: “How come all the most beautiful women are single?” (He was not flirting–just being exuberant. He is happily married.) I was about to explain that It’s Not A Disease etc etc, but then my coworker sighed and expressed regret about her status, and I lost my chance to lecture as the conversation turned. I hope this doesn’t become a trend. CC

6. OMG, I’m One of THEM. « Onely: Single and Happy - February 6, 2010

[...] my poor matchmaking coworkers, who don’t have kittens to help them ride out the Stormageddon. I will try to comfort and [...]


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