‘I was sure they would fall in love!’ The dos and don’ts of amateur matchmaking

There’s nothing as satisfying as setting up your friends for a successful date – or as crushing as when it goes wrong. Here’s how to improve everyone’s chances

Sarah, 45, describes herself as a “total Cupid” – “always single, and always connecting my single friends”. When we speak, she has just set up an old friend with a new one she met through yoga. “They hit it off straight away,” she says. She is waiting for a positive outcome from another pair too: “I haven’t given up on them yet.”

A generation ago, the Sarahs of this world were in heavy demand: your extended network was the first place you’d look for love. For a while, it seemed that technology had made them redundant: a 2019 Stanford University study showed the proportion of couples who had met through friends had plummeted, displaced by online dating. But, as the Tinder era enters its second decade, many single people are once again yearning for a more personal romantic approach. This could be why nearly 70% of respondents to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey said their dating lives were not going well.

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