Valentine’s Day: How to successfully play matchmaker

With February 14 on the horizon, relationship expert Kate Taylor reveals the do’s and don’ts of fixing up friends

DO spend time considering your friend’s lifestyle, relationship history and ex-partners. As an outsider, you’re in a strong position to judge your friend objectively, and to have an insight in to the kind of person they’d click with.
If in doubt, aim to introduce them to people with whom they have shared interests – like hobbies, musical tastes, or children. These are the topics people most often discuss when they first meet, so things in common here will help create an instant “click”.

DON’T judge potential partners purely on looks alone. Even if every one of your friend’s exes has been a six-foot blonde, feel free to set them up with someone of a completely different type.  It’s personality, shared values and sense of humour that keep people together long-term.

DO consider writing a friend’s online-dating profile. It might be much easier for you to write a glowing portrait of your loveable friend than it will be for them to sell themselves. Write it as a testimonial, and include a selection of photos that you’ve either taken of your friend, or you’ve collected over your time together.

DON’T contact singles online on your friend’s behalf. “My friend fancies you,” stopped being adorable sometime around Year 6 at school. Instead, help them choose people to write to themselves. You’ll be invaluable here – you have just the right amount of detachment to find people who’d suit their personality, not just their well-worn “type”.

DO introduce your friend to selected matches in low-key ways. Avoid dinner-parties where they’re the only two singletons, as you (and everyone else) will simply spend the evening watching them like exhibits in a zoo.
Similarly, don’t set them up on blind dates, or arrange a threesome and then “accidentally” have to pull out at the last minute.
Instead, arrange casual nights out in bars or restaurants and invite a mixed bag of people, including your match and matchee. This way, they get to meet each other naturally and will feel like it’s their idea, even though you’ve been the cunning puppet-master of love all along.

DON’T get too attached to the outcome. You must retain a lofty perspective on their relationship, whether it turns out to be hate at first sight or they go on to get married. Your mission is simply to ensure their worlds collide – after that, you’re out of a job.
Be on hand to offer advice, but don’t try to control them. Being too invested in the machinations of someone else’s relationship is unhealthy. You don’t want to be singing, “You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar!” outside the closed door of their bridal suite.

DO help your friend find love in other ways too. Come with them to singles parties, be their wingman on a night out, accompany them buying new clothes, boost their confidence with tons of compliments. All these things will help them reframe their self-image into that of a lovable, popular person who is just temporarily single, instead of a washed-up shelf-dweller.

DON’T introduce them to anyone who’s “too close” to you. This means, no immediate family, no exes, and nobody you secretly fancy half to death. (See above tip about maintaining emotional distance.) It’s just too risky – if the relationship doesn’t work out, you’ll feel caught in the middle. Also, don’t ever try to match-make a friend you’d actually love to date yourself. If you’d feel suicidal when you successfully helped them find love with someone else, it’s all wrong. Instead, ask them out on a date, with you.