Imagine at what distant depth of ebb you'd have to be to ask a friend to set you up with someone. To be plundering your friends' friends for potential dates, like Google with a stiffy, you must have truly run out of options. People may scoff at online dating or even picking someone up in a bar, but to cast your incestuous net only as far as the puddle next door shows a lack of pluck and imagination.
Agreeing or volunteering to set mates up with each other is the worst idea you're likely to have, save for those orange slacks you thought would look good on you in the '90s. Whether your forlorn singleton friend has had their eye on a particular someone within your social circle or is just throwing out a speculative "Surely you must know some hot, single guys for me?" there's seldom a pot of gold at the end of the matchmaking rainbow. Well, for you, at least.
It's a common misconception that people you know, or your friends know, will like each other.
"Well, I like my friend and my friend likes me," you may ponder, as you stir your Starbucks and idly stare out of the window at the crotches of a series of passers-by, "so it would follow that they would like my friend too, so that's one thing they have in common straight away!" This rather inconveniently ignores the fact that we are all about a million different people from one social situation to the next - what one friend likes about you may be the very thing that makes another back away from you in horror. So, matchmaking. No. Here's why:
As its instigator, you'll get to hear every mind-numbing detail of the courtship
We all love a little bit of gossip, true, but hearing relationship details is only really fun when you know just one half of the couple. It can all get very personal. Intimate, even. If you want to know what your friends are like in bed, why get it second-hand from whoever's banging them right now? Just fuck them yourself.
You'll start to like one of them less
There are two sides to every story and, as the piggy in the middle, you'll get to hear them both: imagine Fox News blaring into one ear, while BBC Radio 4 chirrups in the other. What a thought. It's inevitable there'll be discrepancies; we are all unreliable witnesses at the best of times.
Eventually, your loyalties will skew toward one more than the other. It's impossible to predict what will finally sway you - maybe you too can't stand wet towels left on the bedroom floor or you discover your friend wipes their earwax on the bedside table. Whatever it is, you'll never look at your friend in the same way again. That's a shame, isn't it?
You'll get the blame when it all goes wrong
Relationships are beautiful at the beginning as they blossom. Like a proud curator, you will watch as your charges - who you brought together, don't forget - enjoy the trappings of love and romance.
The rot of acrimony is never far away, of course - it suckles at the teat of devotion and waits for the right moment to strike. Once it does bite the nipple which feeds it, its victims will be looking for someone to blame, and as soon as they've stopped screaming at each other, they'll turn their attention to you. How could you even suggest they got together in the first place? You knew what he was like! Why didn't you warn me?
Your friends will start to hate you
Matchmakers get a reputation. I would say a 'bad rep', but I abhor the term and, frankly, you have brought it all upon yourself. Matchmakers are like the über-busybody, with a strain of OCD that sees them want to tidy people up into pairs, as if being single was the worst thing that could happen to anybody. Every time you drag a single friend along to an event, any other single friends you have will suddenly have the urge to stand anywhere other than near you, in fear that they too will fall victim to your hopeless, catastrophic matchmaking.
So resist. They may beg, they may plead, but setting up your mates will lead only to heartache and a lot of awkward texting. Let your pals live alone, unloved - your conscience will be clear.
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