Smug Marrieds Responsibility to The Singletons ~ The Modern Setup

Love doesn't grow on trees like apples in Eden - it's something you have to make. And you must use your imagination too.
- Joyce Cary

For those of you who have not read or seen Bridget Jones's Diary, Bridget is a single woman living in London searching for the perfect weight, job and boyfriend. Many of her friends are already married and therefore feel everyone else should be too, hence the descriptive name of "smug marrieds." Whereas those still looking for love are known as "the singletons." What Bridget does not realize is that married couples actually have a social obligation to introduce interested and eligible singles to each other. Yes, you read that correctly. When one becomes part of a permanent couple, it is then your obligation to help pair up those who are still single.

As always, with etiquette, there are some guidelines when playing matchmaker.

On the single side ~

The single person must be interested and eligible. This means that the single person must be interested in being set up on a date AND is not currently seeing someone else. If the single person does not want to be set up, you must let the issue drop. Or if the single person is dating someone you do not care for, but is dating them nonetheless, you must let the issue drop.

The single person must be a good sport. This means that not every date is going to result in a love connection. But even so, it is always a good idea to get out of the house, have a bite to eat and to meet someone new. If nothing else, a bad date makes good conversation later on when you talk to friends.

Give good feedback. If it was a bad date, let the person who introduced you know why it was not a good match (but do be kind!). With proper feedback, the next one may be better. But no matter what, be sure to thank the introducer for trying!

On the matching side ~

Do try to think things through. Two people need something more in common than just their single status. Make sure there are a few other connectors such as similar movie tastes, an interest in current events and/or hobbies.

Do make it easy for the two to meet. You can have a small dinner party, invite the two singles and make the introductions personally. Or, if that is too much, you can give each person the other's name, contact information and something they have in common. Then let them arrange to meet without an audience.

Do not expect a full report. While it may seem only fair if you get a play-by-play of what happened, all you really need to know is if they liked each other or not. If you want juicy details, watch soap operas.

Remember, just like finding a job, finding someone to love takes good networking skills. Get out there and meet new people, you never know when the next date will be "The One." Even Bridget, with the help of some meddling smug marrieds, managed to find a wonderful match.

Q: Dear Mannersmith ~ My sister's friend set me up on a date with a lovely young woman. We went out and she was nice enough, but there was no chemistry. Apparently she was more taken with me than I was with her. Now my sister's friend keeps asking when I am going to ask the woman out again. What should I do?

A: My dating rule is that unless the person is just awful, you should go on at least a second date. Most people do not present themselves well the first time around due to nerves. Try a second get together. You can keep it brief; drinks, ice cream or just coffee. Then if there is still no chemistry you can tell your sister's friend you tried twice, but it was not a love connection. (Be nice, you never know who the lovely young woman may know...)

Q: Dear Mannersmith ~ Over the past 10 years I have been on so many set-ups I could write a book. I am starting to get a bit cynical, but don't want to turn down the chance to meet the person of my dreams. Any suggestions?

A: If you feel yourself getting a bit cynical, maybe you should take a sabbatical from being set-up, but not from the dating scene. Try some alternatives. Join a singles sports club or a dinner club, take a wine course from a local adult education outlet, or do some volunteer work. Another alternative would be a "bring-a-friend" party. Have all of your single friends bring another single friend, be sure to have some party games planned to encourage mingling.

Q: Dear Mannersmith ~ I do not discuss my love life at work, but since I am not married my co-workers are always trying to set me up with friends of theirs. What they don't know is that I am gay and therefore not interested in the matches they are offering. I do not feel that my love life is any of their business. Is there any way I can get them to stop meddling?

A: Different people draw different lines as to what they want to share with co-workers. You are already doing the right thing by rebuffing their efforts. Without sharing any information you do not want to share, just keep a smile on your face, thank them for thinking of you and keep changing the subject when they bring up your love life.