So you’re single and your loved ones want to set you up. Sometimes these dates are magic, sometimes just the opposite.
But not everything has to be left to chance and the family matchmaker. There are things you can do to boost your chances of having the date succeed.
First, express gratitude.
“It is a big deal when someone who cares about you tries to set you up,” said Arielle Ford, author of “The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life With the Law of Attraction.” “This is a great way to meet somebody, because you are hearing about them from a trusted source instead of meeting them blindly online. So definitely be gracious. Tell them what a great friend or parent they are for wanting you to be happy and in a partnership.”
Be sure to ask good questions about why this particular date is being suggested.
“Even though your friends and family want nothing more than your happiness, they may not have good judgment, taste or discernment,” Ford said. “It’s up to you to ask, ‘Why do you think we would be a good fit? How well do you know this person? What do you know about him?’ And if they have a halfway decent answer and you’re free and open, then you can go from there.”
Instead of jumping right into a date, suggest an intermediary step.
“Say, ‘If you have somebody [who is] interested, why don’t you send me a screen shot of their Facebook page or give me more information about them?’ ” suggested psychologist Paul White, co-author of “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.” “You want to give them a next step.”
Another approach is to talk on the phone before meeting in person. “Someone might say, ‘Let me bring so-and-so to the party so you two can meet,’ but you need to hear the voice and the quality of their voice first,” Ford said. “When you talk to them, you can hear what they get excited about, and you can find out quickly if you resonate with their energy. This is huge. If someone is boring on the phone, you know that you don’t want to plan to commit to a couple of hours with them at dinner.”
Deal or no deal
If there are potential deal-breakers — you don’t want to be with a smoker, for instance — communicate them. The same goes for traits that you consider indispensable, such as wanting to start a family someday. Jamie Turndorf, an author and relationship expert (askdrlove.com), said the clearer you are in what you’re looking for, the better your chances.
“We are always specific about what we’re looking for in the work arena. Love is no different,” she said. “Write a love résumé. Know the type of person you seek. Be very specific in terms of monetary and sexual values, tastes, interests and so on. By all means, have your friends narrow their search to match your criteria.”
But don’t be so set in your preconceptions that you get in your own way. “At the end of the day, things like height and hair color — none of that makes a difference to your long-term happiness,” Ford said. “My stepsister always said she would never date a bald guy and she’s been madly in love with a bald guy for the last 10 years. She got over it. So open your mind up to a different type and see what happens.”
Don’t put pressure on you or your date. Not every potential date will be a love connection, so don’t go into the date with unrealistic expectations, White said. Instead, be open to finding a new friend out of the experience.
“You can enjoy an activity with an acquaintance,” White said. “If you’re going ice-skating, playing paintball or going bowling, these are things most people would rather do with someone else or in a group than alone. Enjoy the company of someone new without having high expectations that it will be a long-term match.”
Finally, it’s OK if you don’t want to be fixed up.
“Sometimes you just don’t want to go there, so deflect their questions with, ‘I’m focusing most of my time and energy on my career and schoolwork,’ ” White said. “It’s like [being] a politician — you avoid what they want to discuss with what you want to talk about.”