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63 Percent

I frequently travel to speak at events, and afterwards I shake hands with a lot of people.  One of the most common things they say is, “Why’s a pretty girl like you still single?”

I know they mean well, and in a way it’s sort of a compliment that they think I’m good marriage material, but it drives me crazy.  Because the real answer to their question is not, “I don’t know” or “There’s a shortage of good men out there” or “I’m too busy for a relationship right now.”  The real answer is, “Because you’re not setting me up with anyone.  Sixty-three percent of married couples meet through mutual friends, so if you haven’t introduced me to anyone, I’m probably still single because of you.”

When I told people I’d signed up for an online dating site, some of them gave me the look.

It’s the look that says, Oh, honey, you’re that desperate?  or You’re so unsuccessful at dating real men that you’ve taken to dating fake men instead?   or  How embarrassing for you. or You know there are lots of creepy stalkers on those sites, right?

I know couples who have met online who actually make up a fake story for how they met, afraid they’ll get some kind of recrimination if they tell the truth.  They’re worried people will think less of them if they know the relationship started online.

I have yet to figure out why there’s a stigma attached to online dating.  But here’s the thing — based on the latest statistics, the overwhelming majority of married couples meet through mutual friends.  Contrary to common perceptions, less than 10% of marriages come from meeting at a bar — or at church.

When I talk about online dating and I get the look, what I want to ask in response is what that person’s done to introduce me to one of their single friends.  Because statistically speaking, I’m way more likely to meet my mate through the person who is giving me the look then I am to meet someone online.  But if they don’t try to set me up with anyone, what options do I have?

In America we value our independence so much that we tend not to rely on anyone for anything.  And we try not to interfere in other people’s affairs, worried that they’ll be offended or embarrassed if we offer our help.  But in doing this, we deprive each other of the resources we have.

Online dating has become a $1 billion industry — and I doubt its popularity would’ve soared if we’d been introducing our friends to each other and trying to help people connect in the real world.

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In my opinion, going to an event where I have the chance to mingle with people is way less pressure than getting set up on a blind date.  So instead of pitying your mopy single friend, or giving them odd looks when they tell you they’re doing online dating, here’s my advice:  Introduce them to people you know.  (And until you’ve tried to do that, don’t ever ask a single person, “Why’s a pretty girl/nice guy like you still single?”  Because the answer to that question is, “The reason is you, the person asking that inane, annoying question. It’s because of you.”)

What does this mean in practical terms?  It means this Valentine’s Day, you should throw a cocktail party, host a dinner party, invite a bunch of people to watch a movie or play board games or rock climb or whatever it is people do in your city.  You can’t create chemistry between people, but you can create an opportunity for your single friends to meet people they wouldn’t have met otherwise.

And on a more personal note, if you’re friends with me and you’re reading this article, remember that 63% of my chance of getting married is resting squarely on your shoulders.  So why are you still sitting there?  Hook. a. sister. up.

Thanks for sharing!

4 thoughts on “63 Percent

  1. I loved this article. When I was 25 I asked everyone I knew to set me up and I signed up for online dating. I ended up reconnecting with someone I hardly knew in high school, and now we are happily married. It’s awesome that you are trying. If you are ever in Atlanta I’d be happy to try to set you up! Your article prompted me to try to connect some single friends this weekend.

  2. This was so freaking perfect. I’m still ecstatic after reading this that I’ve actually found someone who thinks EXACTLY the same I do on this subject!!!! Ahh! Thank you so much for writing this!! I was going to write a post on my blog about this exact subject but I don’t think I will now cuz it’d probably be exactly what YOU said! haha

    I’m sharing this on Facebook and twitter.

    Hugs!
    – A like-minded single young woman who gets told the same exact things you do

  3. First up, this is a great post Sarah. Very challenging, very honest, very well written, and I agree completely.

    I will say this about online dating though – you seem to write it off, but I think it’s much more influential and positive than you make it sound. I accept you may have had bad experiences and I might be biased as I met my girlfriend online (and we aren’t ashamed of it at all). But in the UK 30% of couples now meet online.

    Most people who I’m friends with -and their friends – are married. So the chances of there being anyone a friend knows to introduce me is very small. Online dating is the only way forward in my life – and it took three years and a lot of dates with different people to find my girlfriend,

    I wouldn’t ever rule out online dating at all – more and more couples are meeting online.

    Having said all that, I agree we need to be intentional about organising more socials and inviting friends to them, including single friends. I hope I can eventually be in a place where I can do this. Home’s just not big enough for that right now.

    It’s a good post Sarah – and it’s big challenge too, the points you make are really valid. If you were UK based I’d invite you to meet some of my Christian friends. And I do hope this acts as a wake up call to both your friends and others out there. Thanks for sharing.

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