Monthly Archives: December 2012

How to meddle

Tall Ray of Sunshine’s hilarious post about meddling matushkas (and the creation of matushkamatch.com – when is that launching?) got me thinking about what married people can do to help their single friends get married. Basically, matchmaking has two components: a) Introducing eligible singles to each other and b) getting out of the way. To break it down further, here’s a list of how meddlers can help their friends get married:

1. Pray that God’s will for them will be done.

2. Before going about matchmaking, make sure you know your friends and understand what will make them happy. Example: Do not attempt to set up a devout Orthodox Christian with an atheist. Do set up devout Orthodox Christians of differing jurisdictions with each other, e.g., OCA gal with GOA guy.

3. Host parties where various people are invited. Do not make it explicitly a “singles” event. Do invite eligible multiples of each gender.

4. Even better, have a hospitable home where people are often coming in and out or spending a weekend here and there. Don’t limit your social life to other married couples. The positive influence and stability of a happily married couple on a single person and all their mutual friends cannot be overstated.

5. Never give your single female friends a hard time about being single. Assume that the right person hasn’t come into their lives yet. Do not give them advice unless explicitly asked. Compliment them on their best qualities. N.b: If you’re a married man, best to leave this to your wife.

6. If you think of two people that might be good for each other and want to set them up, do not ask the single gal if she wants the single guy’s number. Great scott, no. Tell the single gal about him and ask her if it’s okay if he is given her contact info.

7. If a singleton isn’t interested in someone you suggested, do not get upset with them.

8. If one of your matches does hit it off, refrain from nosiness. Do not try to direct the relationship. Do not ask them when the wedding is.

9. If you have two people in mind for each other and one of them starts dating a 3rd party, do not attempt to sabotage the relationship. What are you, psycho?

10. Anything missing? Leave your suggestion in the comments!

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How to Get Rejected

An unwelcome pursuer

We had known each there for almost 10 years and we lived a good 5 hour trip away from each other, so meetings were rare. Still, this is the age of the internet, so contact over social media and email was not infrequent. Earlier in the year, he broke up with a girlfriend, and his attentions turn to me. Mixed CDs arrived in my mail and the occasional email declared how much he thought of me. Even though I had rebuffed his advances years ago, I have found that men don’t typically fear trying again later if you’re not firm with them the first time around.

He chose my birthday to openly declare his affections. I received a card followed by a bouquet of flowers and a note signed “love”. Unfortunately, the feelings weren’t mutual, and I gently let him know that I only thought of him as a friend. His low-drama reply was a relief to me; he simply thanked me for being direct.

Desperation

His mistake came the next day. Clearly distraught that I wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship, he sent me a message undoing any goodwill he had built up the previous day. He said that he could not pretend to feel different than he did and to do so would be tantamount to lying. (Apparently my feelings and wishes did not come into play). I was alarmed to find out that he would prefer “not to face the future without me”, basically guaranteed the very thing he sought to avoid.

I replied that I did not like being put on pedestals and that he needed to examine reality, life, and my place in it. Not knowing what to do with my message, he deleted his Facebook account and I am left hoping to not hear from him again anytime soon, especially without an apology.

Avoiding having to turn someone down

Because this experience has been upsetting for me (in a different way than my would-be pursuer, sure), I have tried to come to some conclusion about what I could have done to stop this situation from happening, and the fact of the matter is, there’s not much I could have done without having been unnecessarily cruel. For example, in the past when he said something like, “I get flustered when I’m around you”, should I have said, “Well, the feeling’s not mutual”? Or, even worse, I suppose I could have tried to preempt with “I’m worried that you’re falling for me and I should let you know that I don’t feel the same”, but how horribly awkward that would have been for the both of us.

In the end, I concluded that it’s not my job to be responsible for another’s feelings or actions, but it is my job to respond to them as kindly as possible.

How to turn down dates or declarations of love

If they are part of my social circle, I can say, “I only think of you as a friend”. If they are not (e.g. blind date) I can say, “I just don’t feel a spark”. I don’t think anything else is needed for the Rejection Arsenal, barring jerk behavior on behalf of the pursuer.

So, if you don’t want your pursuer to try again in the future, being wishy-washy is not the way to go. Just say, “I only think of you as a friend” or “I don’t feel a spark”. Anything else often gives false hope to the pursuer, and that is not a kind thing to do.

If you are the one being turned down, try to avoid that person until your crush/hurt feelings subside and definitely do not try to communicate with them while emotionally distraught. Going out to a bar with friends and crying in one’s beer is a good idea; writing desperate emails to the one who spurned you is not.

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Words of Wisdom

I was talking with Alana Juliana of Morning Coffee and Potentiana fame, and she reminded me of a very important truth:

Here’s an idea…whether or not us old marrieds can match you up with anyone…we CAN PRAY! I will certainly start doing that, and for anyone else on your singles list. And don’t forget that St. Xenia of Petersburg is a good patroness for singles needing spouses, matchmaking etc.

And remember that there’s nothing inherently wrong or bad about being single, whether for a while or a lifetime. There are countless unmarried saints, monastic and otherwise. It may not be what you want, but since when has the path to theosis involved you getting everything you want?

Love in Christ,
Brigid

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