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Preventing bad set-ups

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  April 19, 2009 11:11 PM

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Too many bad dates. Help.

Q: I have an issue I don’t think I’ve seen addressed in your column.

My last relationship ended poorly … I thought everything was going well, apparently it wasn’t, so my getting dumped came as quite a surprise. I went through the being sad, grieving stage. I’ve put that whole thing behind me and have moved on. Not the issue here.

A number of my friends feel it is time for me to “get back out there” and would be willing to help, if I asked. I agree it’s time for me to get back out there … again, not the issue. The issue is the asking for help.

I am a little quiet and shy by nature; forcing myself to approach and ask people out doesn’t come easily for me. My friends, especially the ones most enthusiastic to fix me up, are far more outgoing and take the volume approach to dating. They pretty much ask out anyone and everyone that catches their fancy and trust in the law of averages. They don’t seem to understand that approach doesn’t work for me. They fix me up and their attitude is “They’re single … you’re single … what’s the problem?”

The problem is they invariably fix me up with people I have no interest in … people I am utterly incompatible with. This is usually apparent almost immediately. This other person and I then end up making 60-90 minutes of awkward small talk, and getting out of there as fast as we can.

I’m not asking for much, I think, just a basic compatibility check. If you know my politics runs to the left, don’t try to hook me up with the President of the local Rush Limbaugh fan club.

Yes, I know I am ultimately responsible when I agree to these dates my friends with the bad track records set up. But if I keep saying “Heck no, I won’t go,” they lose patience and stop helping.

How do I tell my friends I welcome and appreciate their help, but ask that they to please put a little though into the help they are offering?


Beggars Shouldn’t Be Choosers, Arlington

A: BSBC, you’ve got it right. You can’t complain too much about set-ups because you’re lucky to have people around who care enough to try to set you up.

What you can do is better control your own dating environment. Must these dates be blind? Must they all be one-on-one? Can you hang out with your friends and these potential mates in a relaxed group setting? It's less pressure that way. If you happen to meet someone you like during a group event you can ask your friends to set up a date -- one that you'll finally be excited about.

There’s nothing wrong with your method of dating. Just know there’s nothing wrong with their method either. There's a way to talk to them about coming up with a new way to mingle without making a judgment about the way they look for romance.

And -- I must add -- if you aren’t totally over the ex, that’s OK. You’re allowed to be miserable and not totally over it. You're allowed to have some reservations about meeting someone new. Dating after a bad break-up can be incredibly painful. Bad dates remind you of all that you miss. You're allowed to take it slow.

Readers? Is there a polite way BSBC can tell her friends she wants quality over quantity? Share here. Read the many comments for Friday’s letter here.

-- Meredith

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58 comments so far...
  1. Compatibility check is what places like matchmaker.com do. You could always try that.

    Posted by Yoshimi April 21, 09 10:26 AM
  1. I agree with Mere. If these are your true friends, just be honest with them. They will either call you a prude or respect your wishes. They should only want the best for you. Tell them your not looking for a warm body to lay next to for a night. Tell them what you are looking for and they may surprise you. Also, dont rely on them to hook you up. Just spend time alone at some of your favorite places, the library, shopping, the park, an art gallery. You never know who you might run into!

    Posted by Lilshory98 April 21, 09 10:53 AM
  1. I think you should give your friends of bit of credit. Yes, they could be more thoughtful but they are probably putting more thought into it than "she's single, he's single" more like "she's my friend, he's my friend, of course they'll get along!"

    Having said that, I like Meredith's suggestion that they introduce you in a group is a good one. Or maybe they could just set you up to email with the person instead of an actual date, so you can get a sense of what that person is like (as you would with a dating service)? Also, do you give your friends feedback about what didn't work? Also, they're just trying to be nice!

    Posted by susan April 21, 09 10:57 AM
  1. You learn just as much about yourself on bad dates as you do on good ones....probably more actually, as you are not caught up in all the emotion and butterflies that come with the first few dates with someone with some potential. So you are starting to get better and better at identifying what you like and dont like very quickly...this is a positive.

    In the end, if you think your method of sitting on the sidelines until opportunity lands in your lap...just tell your friends that you are all set with their matchmaking for the time being. But in the end, being shy and quiet int going to help you get over your Ex, nor is it going to help you meet another great person.

    Posted by Patrick M April 21, 09 10:57 AM
  1. Is this writer a woman?
    I thought it was written by a man.

    Posted by shecky April 21, 09 10:59 AM
  1. Oh I know exactly what you're saying, BCBC! When I was single, my friends set me up with a closeted gay guy (they even pretty much figured he was gay), a guy who dropped out of college for no reason and lived with his parents ever since with no job, and a few others that really had me wondering what my friends really thought of me. It sucks!

    I finally made a rule that if you want to set me up, the first meeting cannot be an awkward blind date -- you must introduce us in a fun and low-pressure group setting! Meredith is right on the money.

    Posted by CD April 21, 09 11:06 AM
  1. Dear BSBC,
    I understand your frustrations wholeheartedly. I am the same way, the guy i like either has that certain je n'sais quoi or he doesn't. There's nothing wrong with your pickiness. However, you do need to get out of your comfort zone and realize that you aren't going to meet anyone if you have a guard up that's as a high as the Great Wall of China.

    Be grateful for the fact that you have a good group of friends who know a lot of people. Just tell them that you don't want to be set up ever again but that you would prefer to meet men on your own devices. I've never been set up before because i think i would hate it. Just go out when your friends go out and be more willing to meet new people wherever you go.

    Being single is a great time to discover your likes and dislikes with other men. You have grown accustomed to your ex-boyfriend, but you just have to have some faith that there are nicer, cooler, more attractive men out there (which there are).

    This is also a perfect time for you to work on getting over your shyness. It is a quality that is going to continue to hold you back in life.

    Along the way, you will meet some losers and guys you want nothing to do with them, but you dont owe them anything. You shouldnt be rushing into a new relationship anyway. Have fun & stop taking life so seriously and everything will fall into place just the way it was supposed to.

    Posted by trueloveforeva April 21, 09 11:06 AM
  1. I agree with Meredith - do stuff in groups. Or just continue doing what you love (or find out what you love) - try yoga, pottery, car repair, African dancing, running, bike repair. Even if the class is all women, everyone has friends. And rather than a long-drawn out "date", try getting together for coffee or lunch with a hard stop after an hour. Always leave them wanting more! Good luck!

    Posted by exiledmainer April 21, 09 11:11 AM
  1. Rico is here to provide you with his sage wisdom to solve your problem:

    First of all, Rico applauds you for knowing it's time to "get back out there". No sense sitting in your apartment eating Oreos. Rico believes what you should do is provide your friends with an "offline dating profile" of who you are and what you want -- just like something you would fill out online line. Hand your friends this piece of paper, and then they can use it as a handy reference when they are scouting prospective dates for you. Use humor in your profile and be lighthearted so your friends won't think you are being heavy-handed. But use it to get your key points across, and hopefully your friends will get your drift and provide more appropriate dating material.

    Then please report back on your progress, because Rico likes to learn about all the success stories of previously confused people who benefit from his sound direction.

    Love and peace to you all,


    Posted by Rico April 21, 09 11:17 AM
  1. I don't know why people think their ideal mate will be some clone of themselves. So what if you lean left politically and your date leans right? It doesn't make them a bad person, and maybe instead of just making awkward small talk, you could actually engage them in exploring their beliefs a little, and they could get to know yours. The only way to get to know a person is to give it a try. It may not work romantically, but there are many, many other reasons to get to know people. Maybe you'll find out that you both like sports and they need someone to fill up a team. Maybe they'll have an extra pair of tickets they can't use for a show or event that you find out you both like (and obviously, you'd pay them for them). Maybe they work somewhere that has just that right job you are looking for.

    You can also try to get to know them in groups, but I'm betting if you are shy then you'll likely talk to the people you already know.

    Get out there and live life.

    Posted by H April 21, 09 11:17 AM
  1. Well I think it is nice that your friends are trying to set you up! That is very supportive of them! I wish mine had done the same recently. Anyway - maybe you could just share with them what you are looking for the next time they say they "have someone for you" and ask them if they think the guy aligns with you. Also since you are more shy and reserved, what about doing some online dating like OKCupid.com? That site happens to be free and how I found my current man (like I said no friends set me up with anyone! Bah Humbug!) :) LIke Yoshimi above, the sites do have some questions related to politics etc so you can weed out people that you don't think you could be compatible wtih. For example the site usually tells whether: They smoke, think the world has ended since Obama became president, astrological sign... etc.
    It's really tough getting back out there! I was so discouraged because it took me about a year and a half and many incompatible first dates myself before I found someone that I really clicked with.
    Some other options are the adventure dating sites, doing the Boston scavenger hunts (just found about that cool gem), and other things that get you 'out there' where you can meet like minded people! Instead of having your friends find guys for you, get them to go with you!

    Posted by Joc April 21, 09 11:18 AM
  1. I agree with Meredith's question about why do they have to be one-on-ones? A group setting does take a lot of pressure off and a one-on-one puts a lot of pressure on you and your blind date. This is probably your best strategy for the "bad track" record friends. Something like maybe going to Longwood for a concert with lawn seats with a group is an idea. You have a longish drive that can be shared with "buffer" people. An activity to do if you don't quite get along and you can always shuffle the car distribution if things don't work out.

    Posted by Dmur April 21, 09 11:19 AM
  1. Unless I’m missing the hint here, I don’t know if you’re a man or a woman…much less gay or straight. Not that it matters, but it may help to offer the correct advice: Irish pubs vs. Subaru dealerships vs. rest areas. Anyhow, the best part about meeting all these new people is that it gives you “at bats”. It also allows you to make new friends who may not be good romantic matches, but have a cache of other friends that might provide a good fit. Look at blind dates as a way to circulate your resume. It’s great practice and opportunity until the right person comes along. Do I sound like my parents? Oh god!

    Posted by valentino April 21, 09 11:19 AM
  1. Your friends mean well but their volume approach means that they will settle for anyone as long as the person is single. That isn't much of a qualifier. I would list the qualities you are looking for in a potential mate and be VERY SPECIFIC. By that I mean, age range, distance that you are willing to travel to meet them, education, humor, intelligence, etc... Get as detailed as possible. Then give the list to your friends. If they are really sincere in their efforts to help you, they will pay attention to the list and keep an eye out for you. If not, you'll get more of the same and then you'll know it is a waste of time to ask them to set you up. Ultimately, you decide on how you want to spend your time.

    Posted by Dave April 21, 09 11:24 AM
  1. How about just approaching these dates as opportunities to get to know someone new and maybe make a new friend? Seems like you're putting a lot of pressure on the other person to be exactly what you're looking for right off the bat. I think you need to lighten up a bit and adjust your expectations - you may not meet Ms. Perfect every night, but that doesn't mean you can't have a pleasant time. And who knows, maybe if you give someone a fair chance, you'll find that you've been a tad too quick to judge?

    It's really hard to believe that your friends are just so clueless about you that they're setting you up with people with whom you couldn't possibly even be expected to have a pleasant conversation for an hour. I suspect you're going in to these dates with a terrible attitude. Or maybe you're still smarting from the last relationship and just not ready to date yet? Frankly, if you were really and truly over it, I doubt you would have brought it up. If that's the case, it really doesn't matter who your friends select, you're going to find fault with any and all of them.

    I think the dating service suggestion is a good one for someone like you. At least you'd be able to hand-select your dates - then when they inevitably fail due to your sour attitude or unreasonable expecations, at least you'll know who to blame!

    Posted by Rae April 21, 09 11:24 AM
  1. Rico is sad that meredith was mia yesterday. Did she run the marathon?

    Rico is off and running on this one...

    Rico thinks that you need to do a better job of informing your friends that you need to meet only in group situations for a first meeting. Also, maybe your friends just don;t really know what "your type" exactly is and therefore they think they are doign a good deed. Maybe telling them what yoru type is could be helpful?

    Rico also heard an idea that he thinks is both funny and actually not such a bad idea: When someone offers to "set you up" you ask them for a retainer fee of $75. You explain to them that your type is x,y,z and you hope that they will consider that when setting you up. If the set up is then different from the x,y,z you requested and were told the set up was, then they forfeit the $75 as a cost of the date. If the date is exactly as described and you get along or not but they followed your wishes then you return the $75. Sounds to me like a great way to force your friends to be more picky about setting you up via the shotgun approach huh?

    Rico is not a fan of internet dating or meeting up due to drinking in a bar but that doesn't mean it won't work. He is a fan of MFA first fridays, charity events, running/biking/sports clubs etc...where you meet people of similar interests.

    Rico is looking forward to hearing your opinion, please update our readers.

    Thanks and have a wonderful rainy tuesday,

    Love always,


    Posted by Rico April 21, 09 11:29 AM
  1. Tell your friends, what you told us...that you appreciate their help, but you need a little more thought into who they choose for you (I had a friend who was trying to set me up with someone she knew....really nice guy, except he was an alcoholic, and ruined at least one evening out that was quite expensive for all of us). Group get together's are a fun way to meet people, with little stress. Try internet dating....or things like that. You have a little more control, and if it doesn't work, it is not a strain on your friendships. Try making "friends" first, then see if it leads to romance. You never know what will happen.

    Posted by CandyGirl April 21, 09 11:44 AM
  1. I think your friends who set you up with less-than-compatible dates probably thought, "Hey, this friend is a great person and that friend is a great person -- perhaps they'll see how great each other is." In other words, your friends probably are setting you up with people who they admire and care for -- as they do for you -- and may think that's the most important thing. It's a compliment, really. But when you meet the other person, a first impression inevitably won't convey the reasons that your friend admires that person. So, you end up disappointed.

    Maybe that's why group interaction might work better -- it's hard to get to know a person on a first date; the setting is too forced and unreal. In a group setting, you'll see how that person interacts with friends, and perhaps why your friend thought that person is so great in the first place. Don't be too quick to judge; just see what happens. Good luck!

    Posted by Michaela April 21, 09 11:45 AM
  1. I went through a similiar break up a year ago, so I can totally relate to this. You should be happy that you're friends are trying to set you up - and I agree with other people's advice of taking them as opportunities to date and get out there. You never know who you're going to meet and often times opposites attract. Boston's dating scene sucks so meeting people through friends is definitely the way to go.

    The hardest part is realizing that the people you're dating aren't your ex and dating until you find someone that you connected with like your ex. It can be very discouraging and often you'll say- am I ever going to find someone like my ex? But you will.

    Posted by singleinthecity April 21, 09 11:57 AM
  1. It is hard to set up friends with other friends, and giving a list of specific dating requirements seems a little high maintenance to me. Well-meaning friends will always see that you're single, this other person is single, you are both my friends, why wouldn't you get along? But your friends probably know a very limited number of people, and giving them a list of specifics is like asking them to do your dirty work - go meet my perfect partner and introduce us.

    Online dating sites are much more practical for weeding out the people you don't want to date, and there are a lot more people to meet than those who your friends might know. I met my fiance on Match.com, but I'm sure the free sites that others have mentioned are also worth trying. Good luck!

    Posted by Edna St Vincent Millay April 21, 09 12:00 PM
  1. The real Rico is me...Rico that wrote about $75 fee as a funny thing yet not a bad idea. Rico also wants to add that those suggesting library's, taking a class or other activity that gets you to meet other people with similar interests are stearing you the right direction. Rico loves that there are Rico-wannabe's, imitation is a form of flattery.

    Rico loves the attention, and Rico thanks you all for that.

    Love always,


    PS. sorry for my many typos on my posts, Rico's brain types faster than the fingers can handle.

    Posted by Rico April 21, 09 12:08 PM
  1. you picked your ex, Beggars, so maybe your list of specific criteria isn't flawless
    you may have a wish list for tall, dark, handsome, rich with an MBA and extensive volunteer work but just might fall in love with balding and conservative who loves you and is a great partner
    I agree with the other posters who say you shouldn't consider these "at bats" a waste of time but instead a chance to refine your dating techniques since you've been off the market for awhile.

    Posted by MaryS. April 21, 09 12:12 PM
  1. I agree with Meredith. Ask your friends to include this Someone Wonderful that they want to fix you up with in your next group picnic, potluck, night out on the town. This way you can check each other out, interact as members of a larger group
    without the expectations associated with a one-on-one date. The last couple I knew to have met on a blind date, fallen in love and gotten married were my parents and that was in 1949!
    The dating world in 2009 is quite different because you don't have that built in "reference check" on the person as you would if the gentleman lived next door to your cousins and went to the same church. At least your friends know these people to be not recently released from prison, or released on bail pending appeal on murder charges. There is a plus to using your friends pool of known single guys versus on-line dating services!!
    Thank your friends for their concern and caring about you. Sometimes friends, while well meaning, just figure if they can find a guy with a pulse that will fit your requirements. Give them a Top Ten "hot-sheet" of Must Have Qualities which would give them enough to go on when selected prospects for you.
    Good luck and let us know how you fare.

    Posted by exvermonter April 21, 09 12:14 PM
  1. I agree with the posters who say stop looking for people to be the one when you meet them. Look at it as a chance to meet new people. You never know whom you might meet.

    Posted by JustForComments April 21, 09 12:21 PM
  1. Who says there's no "I" in Rico?

    Posted by valentino April 21, 09 12:32 PM
  1. Faux Ricos doth protest too much. Rico #9 (appropriately situated) is the true & original Rico.

    Love to all the faux Ricos,


    Posted by Rico April 21, 09 12:53 PM
  1. BSBC has purposely left his/her gender in question. I didn't think it would be difficult to answer the question without knowing, but you know what? It is. If you are a woman, you shouldn't be asking out guys. jmo, of course, People can say what they want, but that doesn't usually work. If you are male, quality girls are not going to ask you out, or at least you can't count on it. You need to make the first move. You have probably seen the best of the blind dates your friends have in mind for you. The rest will be worse. Where have you ever seen a girl/guy who looks like someone you'd like? Start hanging out there and start talking.

    Posted by nora April 21, 09 12:57 PM
  1. Exvermonter-
    I’ve been reading you for a long time. In prison, we are allowed to correspond by email after we have completed a “reentry” curriculum. Happily, I can report that my progress is an exciting measure of my future possibilities. I sense you are a strong, confident yet, intuitive soul. You know what you want and would rather live a blissful life of independence than one compromised by control, fear and a lack of wonder. I recognize you could never love a man whose imprisonment would shine unfavorably upon your social status, but would you consider this public declaration of interest a down payment on our virtual relationship until I am no longer incarcerated in 2084? Even the promise of your deliberation is enough for me to live each day, until that time, as an enhanced and emancipated man. The hope of you has delivered me to a newly energized place of prospect and peace.

    Posted by 25 to Life April 21, 09 01:16 PM
  1. Why don't you stop counting on your friends to hook you up. They obviously aren't doing a very good job. I think once a young lady catches your eye that you feel truly interested in you'll get up the nerve to approach her because if you don't, you may blow the chance of meeting the possible girl of your dreams. You need to work on the shyness, build up some confidence. You'll be fine, once you stop depending on your friends to supply you with dates.

    Posted by Pam April 21, 09 01:36 PM
  1. You seem like the type of person who has probably had the same, small group of friends forever. Your most likely met your ex through a trusted friend. You don't handle change very well and before you like someone, you don't like them. Now that you are single (and not by choice) you think that it's only a life that is fit for slutty people.

    You really need to alter your viewpoint and remove the stick from your you know what. Your friends are trying their best to get you out of your house and you seem to be completely unappreciative. Lighten up or no one is going to want to be around you, including your friends. Who wants to hang out with Negative Nancy?? Not me I know that much

    Posted by truloveforeva April 21, 09 01:37 PM
  1. I'd never accept a date referral. The odds are against it working for the same reasons you should never buy a car or a house on someone else's recommendation; taste isn't universally shared. Be patient. Let luck and circumstance dictate whom you will date next. And if you don't feel comfortable breaking the ice yourself you're bound to feel awkward trying to make an arranged date work. Remember this old adage: Dates are like streetcars, miss one and another will be right along.

    Posted by koba April 21, 09 01:53 PM
  1. Rico, you kill me.

    Posted by catherine April 21, 09 01:58 PM
  1. 25 to Life: You're hilarious! Thanks for the laugh. You are kidding, right?
    Actually the Prison Pen Pals is the ONLY rock I have not looked under in all these years of "searching".

    Posted by exvermonter April 21, 09 02:12 PM
  1. You may think this is crazy, but for me, sleeping with someone I just met either discusts me or heightens the intimacy and brings me closer to the subject. It's sort of like a cue ball in pool: You break and take your chances because something is likely to go in. Now I don't know if you're a stripes or solids guy/girl, but this much I do know: Eight Ball in the Corner Pocket. KWIS? KWIM? Welcome back to Lovetron, my beggar.

    Posted by Frico April 21, 09 02:15 PM
  1. When I was single and dating, I was up front about my status on match.com and it was fun and met my needs with a plethora of dating opportunities.
    When I wanted to get married, my wife was there. on match too.
    It's attitude, information and opportunity whether on match or friends' match making.
    Have fun.

    Posted by Shoe Fits April 21, 09 02:15 PM
  1. Before I met my husband, in 1994, I was set up a couple of times by a well-meaning girlfriend (who I have since lost track of). These dates were not my cup of tea and I usually felt like a fool afterwards for getting into such a situation.

    She also liked to go drinking after work on Fridays, especially during nice weather. I finally worked up the courage to tell her that was not my scene either, and started rollerblading, which is how I eventually met my husband.

    Posted by sparky April 21, 09 02:33 PM
  1. BSBC-
    Tell your friends that their services as matchmaker are neither desired nor required. I disagree with other commenter's suggestions about telling your friends what your "type" is. A "type" is trouble. People don't fit neatly into the little slots we craft for them, which is why so many relationships fail.
    Seeing as though you want someone who shares your interests, go to where people with your interests might be. Music? Go to shows at small venues. Photography? Take a class or join a meetup group. Politics? Volunteer. Animals? the dog park is always a great place to meet people.
    I know you're shy, but you can always talk a friend into going to these events with you.

    Posted by Noel April 21, 09 02:42 PM
  1. Real Rico is 16 and 21. I know his typo/spelling errors anywhere....

    Love Rico!!! The retainer fee is genius!!!

    If they don't want to pay the fee then they either don't set her/him up or they set her/him up with someone thoughtfully instead of "well you are both single"

    Great stuff, got more?

    Posted by Lisa April 21, 09 02:45 PM
  1. Sparky-
    Tell the truth! Your public needs to know. You were rollerblading when you took a bad spill. Your future husband came to your aide and cleaned your wounds with.......that's right.....rubbing alcohol. You can run, but you can't hide. In the end, you met your husband over cocktails.

    val, frico, mico, 25 to life

    Posted by valentino April 21, 09 02:52 PM
  1. 36 comments and I haven't seen anyone suggest meeting over the telephone before meeting in person. Sure, someone can be different over the phone than in person, but you'll have *some* idea of whether the person is worth your time.

    And for what it's worth, my significant other liked me on the phone enough that she was willing to endure my shyness in person. After a few dates the shyness had started to pass and all was well. Of course, she did tell me she liked the guy on the phone better!

    Posted by Use The Tools!!! April 21, 09 02:59 PM
  1. Once you get past the "quiet and shy" stage (you CAN do it!), you'll be able to make all your own choices about whom to date. A little confidence goes a long, long way. Your friends mean well, but only you know who and what is best for you. There's a large middle ground. between "volume dating" and depending on friends to fix you up. See if there's a place for you there. The people here who are telling you to try meeting someone by doing an activity you like to do are exactly right. It will be much easier for you to become more outgoing that way. Best of luck!

    Posted by Bony Melon April 21, 09 03:17 PM
  1. I can't read this column any more until the Rico poseurs are unmasked, or the real Rico and Meredith agree on a secret signal.

    BSBC, either take the leap and thank your friends, expecting little but always with the chance of gaining a lot, or try real dating services that do the screening you'd like, or both. Seems simple. Good luck!

    Posted by graycliffer April 21, 09 03:32 PM
  1. Ricos of the world unite!

    Posted by Alvin April 21, 09 03:52 PM
  1. Agree with graycliffer, your comment software is lacking if it allows duplicate names for different people. Isn't that Internet 101 stuff?

    Susan is right on: "she's single, he's single" more like "she's my friend, he's my friend, of course they'll get along!" If they're good friends they should respect the OP's request to be a bit more discerning. If not, he/she should counter with "Would YOU want to go out with someone who does X?"

    Posted by dottie April 21, 09 03:56 PM
  1. exgreenmountaingirl-
    Under every rock (even Alcatraz) lies a gem waiting for love. Is prison not a state of mind? Free yourself from the bondage of the past and soar above to find your heart. Are we not all prisoners of our demons? To live and learn from our past is to come out of the land of Egypt and grab Canaan by the tallit. When will you waltz to freedom? Dance! Dance! Dance!

    Your pal Val...

    Posted by 25 to Life April 21, 09 04:34 PM
  1. Looks like Meredith has got it covered once again.

    Yeah, compatibility is a tough one, and everyone struggles with it, but it's good that you know yourself, your limits and what your deal-breakers are. I discovered through first-hand experience that women who smoke are incompatible dates, so now, I put that upfront in any personal ad I place and even tell my friends, as I am positive that even if the smoker had a heart of gold and looked like Brooke Burke, I wouldn't be happy dating her. Political ideology is another tricky one, but I'd be fine with dating someone who had a different leaning as long as it didn't consume them and it wasn't the focal point of their existence. There's much more to life than politics, and I for one don't let that be the only defining factor of my identity.

    I think you should figure out a way to let your friends know - gently - what your deal-breakers are, so that they can take that into consideration when pairing you up. It would be rude of them to not consider your deal-breakers even after you let them know.

    Good luck!

    Posted by TheDude April 21, 09 04:50 PM
  1. Meredith nailed it. Try to do things in groups, or at least make the friends who set you up come along the first time - that way you can at least spill a drink on your friend, or something if the date is a zero.

    Good friends try to be helpful and you should appreciate that. But sometimes it's less about you than it is about them - especially as you get older. If your friends have been with someone a long time, they just have no clue what it's like to be single anymore.

    Posted by Frances Soyer April 21, 09 05:01 PM
  1. I really think that the writer is a man, not a woman, the way he talks about having problems approaching and asking someone out.

    Posted by Jessica April 21, 09 05:16 PM
  1. Think of it this way - post breakup dating is the toughest. Getting back in the game is awkward and annoying and brings back memories of your recently lost love.

    Using these blind dates to get your dating system back on track is a blessing in disguise.

    Posted by berrygordy April 21, 09 05:16 PM
  1. After being hooked up with friends' good intentions it made me resent my friends for thinking I could actually be attracted to these men just because they were single with no other compatibility factor. My advice to you is spend time doing something you've always wanted to do but were afraid. For me it was roller blading. You'll build confidence and have fun. Also, since you were totally surprised at being dumped you were probably in complete denial about this guy from the get-go. A few sessions in therapy might be just what you need to figure out why you'd be attracted to such a jerk (self-esteem issues maybe?) and again you'll feel better about yourself and be ready for a gem who will naturally find you in your daily life.

    Posted by ramona126 April 21, 09 06:28 PM
  1. I agree with others that meeting a potential date through well-intentioned friends or family is better in a group setting or by email. Blind dates are difficult and awkward unless you have screened the other person through an online type of service or have corresponded by email to start establishing a relationship.

    I myself am suddenly single after a long relationship. Friends and family are looking out for potential guys that I may want to date. They know my likes and dislikes in a man and act accordingly to those guidelines. I will either email or call them back or we will go out as a group and I will take it from there. It may work out, it may not but you have to give it a try.

    I also grasp at every social opportunity. I have been reconnecting with friends that I haven't seen in some time. I go out at every available opportunity with friends, family, coworkers. Many of them have single friends, brothers that you may be single and available. Even if it is just a cup of coffee with a friend. You never know
    who you may run into or meet.

    Also, I keep busy with activities - walking, biking, golfing, traveling, etc. I take claases and volunteer. The potential is there to meet someone with similar interests.

    The important thing is to keep your heart up and your options open! Love will come again when you least expect it.

    Posted by christiana April 21, 09 06:50 PM
  1. Dear Meredith,
    Perhaps you could show this letter and response(s) to your friends at the Boston Globe Magazine who write the Dinner With Cupid column and select the participants? It would go a long way toward salvaging a horrendous feature.
    Hopefully yours.
    Rain in Spain

    Posted by jen April 21, 09 07:09 PM
  1. Thank you, Lisa at #38. Rico appreciates his fans and hopes they will be there when he considers the career change that some have suggested on these pages.. Valentino at #25, you think you are funny, somtimes you are, other times not. There's an "i" in Valentino, too, Rico notices.
    Tuesday seems to be the special day to try to be more Rico than Rico. Next Tuesday Rico is going to take the day off, hopefully he will wake up to sunshine and then bike or hike with his loved ones. You all do that too. Meredith will take care of the advice next Tuesday.
    Love and good night,

    Posted by Rico April 21, 09 10:18 PM
  1. Rico - You rock.

    Posted by Anonymous April 21, 09 11:41 PM
  1. Reeko
    "I" am not writing in the 3rd...

    Posted by valentino April 22, 09 11:22 AM
  1. I am glad my letter generated such a response. There was a lot of advice that has given me much to think about. I did want to make clear that I am very appreciative and grateful that I have friends that want to help me out. I guess I am just trying to make that help work for me as efficiently as possible.

    And since it seemed to cause such confusion, I will state, for the record, that I am a straight guy. The advice that assumed I was female was still perfectly helpful, I just changed the pronouns as appropriate.

    And to the person who wrote post number 30, I did feel I needed to answer some of your speculations as to my character: Wrong, most of my friends are more recent acquaintances; Wrong, I met my ex through an online dating service; Wrong, I've lived in a number of states, a couple countries, had a couple different careers and have been told more than once I have excellent coping skills and handle change quite well; and as for my thinking life is "fit for slutty people" I don't even know what that means.

    Posted by BSBC April 22, 09 04:23 PM
  1. Valentino, dear, do you really think the "real Rico" would notice that you have an "I" as well? Do you think he can get that far away from himself? That comment was meant to amuse you, and it was written in fact by "Frico," who thought you might recognize 'twas not the "RR." Though not a bad impersonation, no?

    The "Frico" nom de plume has been coopted in this column, as has "Frico's" ORIGINAL nom de plume (in a posting with horrifying punctuation). Frico knows Rico's pain, but isn't going to alleviate it.

    Posted by Frico April 22, 09 10:20 PM
  1. Rico is awaiting today's letter...Rico is curious about how the Craigslist killer's fiance (ex-fiance?) is coping. Rico is hoping everyone gets outside over the next few days and enjoys the great weather we have forecasted ahead. Rico got rained on riding on his bike yesterday but Rico enjoys a little rain when he rides so don;t worry about Rico, he is fine.

    Rico loves imitators, Rico knows imitation is a form of flattery. Rico loves peoples comments about him good or bad. Publicity whether good or bad is still publicity!!!

    Love always,

    Rico (Yes the REAL one) :)

    Posted by Rico April 23, 09 10:40 AM
ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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