Recently, a number of my friends have expressed an interest in setting me up with (presumably) one of their other friends. And although I am somewhat hesitant about the prospect in general, the biggest obstacle for me is the fact that most people seem to draw a blank as to why they think their mystery candidate would make a good match. “You guys have a lot in common!” seems to me to be just a different way of saying, “She’s single and you’re single.” (One friend pitched a date by saying we have similar personalities, which is better. Though it leaves unaddressed the objection that I’m about as much of me as most people can handle, so having a second version of me might not be a recipe for success.) It’s difficult to summarize someone you know well off the cuff.
Here’s my suggestion: if you want to set someone up with someone else, be prepared to sell both of them to each other. Obviously, there are many different ways one could do this, so I’ve devised a simple format. Share two positive personality traits, one charming idiosyncrasy, and two examples of hobbies or interests. For example, if I were trying to set up my friend Katie, I might say, “Let me tell you about my dear friend Katie. She is insightful and caring, has a heretofore unidentified type of narcolepsy, and she enjoys baking and introvert adventures.” Or, likewise, I might say of my friend Dan, “You’d like my friend Dan. He is generous and artistic, he’s never heard a pun he didn’t like, and he enjoys thrifting and woodworking.”
It seems to me that one of the biggest hurdles in a setup is transforming the feeling of hesitant skepticism into curiosity. Perhaps you can think of a better way of accomplishing that task than this recipe. If not, at least it’s a place to start – and it’s better than, “You’re both single.”