Carolyn Hax: Let adults run their own relationships

May 18, 2013 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Carolyn: One of my friends has asked me to set her up with a guy friend of mine. I happen to know the guy friend is not looking for the same things she is looking for and will probably (though not definitely) wind up blowing her off, even if he seems interested at first (which he probably will). Is it my job to share this with her, or should I just set up the initial contact and then butt out?


Interesting. I started to type out an answer to the effect of, "No harm in mentioning his pattern," but then I changed my mind.

It's up to the two of them to find out about each other, and as long as there's nothing glaring that you're withholding, to say too much is meddling.

What's "glaring"? That he has a history of abusing or lying to women he dates - and you know this, versus merely suspecting it.

I could keep going with the butt-out reasoning and ask why do two adults need an intermediary. Can't she just approach him herself?

Re: Matchmaker: If the female friend is looking for a serious relationship and the male friend is only interested in dating girls casually right now - and has a history of using/blowing off women - then I think the female friend would want to know this before proceeding. It can be really painful for someone who is looking for a lasting relationship to be blown off. I think the female friend should be informed if the male friend isn't looking for something long-term right now … then she can make her own decision on how to proceed.


This sounds good in theory, but does the matchmaker actually know what the male friend wants? That's part of what stopped me - the idea of presuming to be messenger when the male friend (a) might not even know himself how he'd feel and behave in a relationship with this female friend, and (b) is perfectly capable of saying for himself, "I'm not interested in anything serious right now."

Again - if he has a clear, established tendency to mislead women, then the onus on the matchmaker friend does change.

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