The Blind Date. The Set-up. The Pity Date. Call it whatever you want—it’s still how friends try to show us they care about our ongoing search for “the one.” As one who has been set up more times than I care to count, I have had plenty of good and bad experiences with blind dating—probably enough to turn into a delightfully awkward romantic comedy: The Misadventures of the Blind Date Queen.
But quantity does not exactly equal quality. Quality blind dates are hard to come by. They require that not only you know what you’re looking for in a relationship, but also that your friends know the particulars of your hopes and dreams.
Through my ups and downs with blind dating, I’ve picked up a few tips.
1. Do accept a set-up from your good friends. I hate to admit it, but sometimes my best friends know me better than I think I know myself. In general, our best friends just want us to be happy, and they know what can make us happy. So trust them.
2. Do an activity you each think is fun. Being cornered into going dancing when you have two left feet is not exactly going to help you feel comfortable or impress your date. Communicate with him or her enough beforehand to plan an activity that you’ll both enjoy. No one likes to be caught off guard.
3. Do ask your date questions. Ask your date about his or her family, hobbies, work, etc., but be sure to branch out, too. It’s good to cover the basics, but it’s more fun and helpful to ask a few random questions. Do they have any pet peeves? Are they an Oreo dunker or twister? Who’s their favorite band?
4. Do be honest in your body language. If you’ve gone through the entire date with your arms folded and your eyes looking at the table, don’t be surprised when your date doesn’t tell you that they want to see you again. The point is not to be overly flirtatious with your actions, but to be honest with your actions. If you’re interested in your date, show them! Maintain eye contact and break the touch barrier a few times. But if you’re not into your date, don’t lead them on by feigning interest.
1. Don’t accept a date set-up from merely an acquaintance. Someone you’ve known for only a short while isn’t going to know you well enough to help you make a good connection. It’s important to go into the date with confidence in your friend and their choice for you.
2. Don’t go into the date with preconceived ideas. If your friend mentions that he plays video games, don’t automatically assume that he’s a major gamer. If someone tells you she always keeps up on fashion, don’t think that she’s a shopaholic drowning in debt. Giving the other person a chance to impress you can be pleasantly surprising. When you leave preconceived notions at the door, you’re free to make up your own mind about the person you’ve just met.
3. Don’t pull the conversation constantly back to yourself. I’ve learned that I can’t understand my feelings about the person across the table when I don’t know anything about the person across the table. If you’re more interested in them than in yourself, you’ll end up learning so much more about your date, which will help you know if you want to see the person again.
4. Don’t try to get affectionate too fast. There’s nothing worse than a stranger trying to put their arm around you or hold your hand. A friend once set me up with her brother. We met at a group movie night, and during the movie, he tried to hold my hand. Not only did I not know this guy at all, but he tried to hold my hand underneath our folded arms! I’m sorry, but “folded arms” don’t exactly say “try harder.” Being too touchy is a sure way to put your blind date on high alert.
There you have it. A few tips to help you through the next time your friends tell you that they’ve got “the perfect match” for you. And who knows? Maybe your perfect match really is just on the other side of your friend’s good intentions.