We’ve all done it. As soon as you hear a friend has gone through a breakup, you immediately start thumbing through a mental Rolodex of every other single person you know trying to decide whether any would be a suitable match for your friend. You start plotting introductions and push other friends to join in on the scheme. But stop for a moment to ask yourself, are you matchmaking or meddling? Before you launch a campaign (there are studies about chronic matchmaking) to find your friend a new love, remember there is value in fully grieving a past breakup and there is value in just being single. Give them the time that they need. Only they know when they will be ready to meet someone new.
When we don’t fully process our past relationships we carry anger or insecurity into any new relationship. Consider a relationship that dissolved due to infidelity. The innocent partner may have a great deal of mistrust going forward into a new relationship. A person who was lied to in the past may find they try to “catch” a new partner in a lie. This behavior can erode a couple very quickly. So before trying out your matchmaking skills, give your friend plenty of time to grieve and heal the recent breakup. Offer lots of late night chats to work through the hurt instead of a list of potential new dates.
When we are single, it sometimes seems that we can think of nothing but finding someone to love, who will love us in return. It becomes part of our every waking thought. It’s what we think about while doing errands, sitting in traffic and even daydreaming at work. We look more closely at the people we pass in the grocery store or waiting in line at the bank. We delve into online dating sites and pine over perfect strangers. If the recently ‘single again’ friend is obsessing over meeting someone new, of course, you want to help. After all, isn’t the old adage, nothing helps you heal from an old love faster than a new love? New love is a great distraction from the pain of a broken heart for a while, but will not cure that pain altogether. There is real value in being single. Learning to be self-reliant, appreciating the freedom of being accountable only to oneself and most importantly, learning to truly love oneself, are all benefits of taking a moment to be single after a breakup. Don’t rush to fix up your friend and steal this opportunity from them.
Unquestionably your friend can use a little pick me up after a breakup, but that boost doesn’t need to come in the form of leaping right back into the dating scene. The best thing you can offer your friend is your time. Try taking up a new hobby together, or maybe have a movie night for friends only with no significant others, and sure, when your friend is really ready, set up that invitation you’ve been dying to make.
And just remember to always ask yourself, are you matchmaking or meddling?
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