How to Matchmake Two Friends (Yes, We’re Being That Specific)
Pairing two people – not the same as dumping a bunch of singles together – requires a different strategy. It needs to be done subtly, elegantly, preferably on the sly – especially if you know they will make a good fit but won’t agree to a oneto-one. And i
1 Why it must be at your home
Because fancy restaurants add too much pressure. “For one, they’ll worry about their dining etiquette, which distracts from getting to know one another,” says Cindy. “A house party is great because you can control all the variables – whether to break out the wine, pull out a board game, or put on some music – all that’s up to you.”
2 Cap it at eight people
More than that, and the pair you’re trying to couple up might not be able to interact as much, says Cindy. Don’t tell the other guests about your matchmaking plans. They might try to help, which will only make things awkward. Also, make sure your other guests aren’t all couples, so the pair won’t feel unnecessary pressure.
3 Seat them opposite each other
Once you’ve got the perfect conditions to put your guests at ease, ensure that the two you’re trying to pair up are sitting directly across from one another, and at the end of the table. It’s easier for them to converse than if they were side by side, and they won’t be distracted by too many people if they’re at one end, so there’s more opportunity to chat each other up.
4 Don’t invite the bros
“If you must invite friends in common, avoid his guy friends at all costs,” warns Dolly. When a man is with his “bros”, he will speak their language. And frat-boy lockerroom talk isn’t a great way to make a first impression. What’s worse, Dolly says, is that he’ll probably retreat into his comfort zone and engage less with the woman you’re setting him up with. Cindy adds that you should avoid inviting friends who know either of the pair, so that nobody ends up feeling awkward.
5 Drop the labels and don’t overshare
Never imply that you’re setting them up on a “date”. Instead, say that the gathering is for everyone to hang out and have fun. Or that you want to try cooking a new dish and need some guinea pigs. For each of the two you’re trying to bring together, you can casually drop hints about the other in the lead-up to the party, but keep to neutral areas like jobs, positive personality traits and common interests. You don’t want to do a hard sell and give the game away.
6 Have a before and after plan
Some people need a warm-up. Try setting the tone with a pre-dinner activity like an escape room (where you solve puzzles to get out of a room you’re locked in), before heading back to yours for the main meal. If things go well, suggest postmeal activities, says Dolly. “Bring up a bar you’d like to check out and let the night’s plans move forward naturally.” If the pair you’re trying to set up like each other enough, they’ll take it from there.