As I prepared for this episode, it occurred to me that some of worst dating and relationship experiences were with people who I’d been ‘set up’ with. They were ‘recommended’, and people were eager to push us together or to push for another date — and I ignored my own misgivings. Of course, I’m not alone in my experiences, and so in this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I talk about why things can go wrong on both sides. I take it beyond dating to also look at why we sometimes feel confused or annoyed after someone we recommended in a, for example, work capacity, doesn’t live up to our recommendation.

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Some nuggets from the episode

Our judgement is impaired when we:

  • Assume that someone recommended as a potential romantic partner is pre-approved or vouched for.
  • Conflate being, for example, a dedicated worker or coming across in a certain way with who and how they are in a relationship.
  • Believe that we know somebody even though we have little or no experience of them.
  • Act as if we know someone better than we do and don’t realise that we pass on trust to the people we’re recommending them to.
  • Use someone else’s viewpoint and disregard our intuition/knowledge in the process.
  • Feel indebted to the matchmaker and think that the way to pay them back is by agreeing to go on a date.
  • Agree to be set up because we worry about what they will say about us to the mutual friend.
  • Take it too seriously and we get carried away.
  • Don’t consider the implications.
  • Exaggerate and use conjecture to make a heavy sales pitch that can lead to unnecessary awkwardness.

Self-care is knowing the difference between what you want and what someone else wants.

Some of the things we need to consider when matchmaking:
  • Why do you think that they’d be a good match?
  • Why do you want to set this person up? If it’s boredom, meddling, pity, diversion or anything else that isn’t positive and in both parties best interests, you shouldn’t proceed.
  • Think of the person you love and adore the most: would you set them up with this person? If not, why not?
  • What assumptions are you making?
  • Be honest about deal-breakers. Don’t set people up in traps!

Don’t presume that someone being single means that they’re unhappy.

Factors to consider when being set up on a date:
  • Do you want to or do you feel obliged?
  • What assumptions are you going into this with?
  • What does dating this person’s, for example, friend, mean to you? e.g. raised status
  • Why do they think that you’re a good match? Ask!

Don’t let people use their insecurities, bad boundaries, misplaced pity or low standards to pimp you out.

  • Assuming that recommending someone will cause them to alter their behaviour is a source of tension, friction and disappointment.
  • We don’t have to say yes just because they’ve recommended us.
  • Whether it’s dating, work or anything else, if we want recommendations to improve, give people a steer. They’re not mind-readers.

Links mentioned

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