It’s frustrating to watch because you just know there’s someone out there who’s worthy of them, if only they could find that person.
If you feel bummed out over the situation, just imagine how burned out they’re feeling about the whole thing.
In these dire Tinder times, chances are your friend could use a little encouragement ― and maybe a little outside help in finding someone decent. That’s where you come in. Below, dating experts share six tips for becoming the best wing-person possible for your bestie.
1. Set them up with someone who’s just as amazing as they are.
Scout for your friend: Get some intel on that cute guy at the office who always opens the door for everyone. Think about friends you have in other circles who might be your friend’s type. Once you’ve zeroed in on a few people, get busy making intros, said Lori Zaslow, a Manhattan-based dating coach and matchmaker.
“The great thing here is that you can build them up to the person you’re setting them up with and help establish a positive vibe before they even meet,” she told HuffPost. “That will give your friend more confidence walking in the door versus that awkward feeling of a first date with a total stranger.”
2. Focus on listening more than lending advice.
Don’t lend your friend the same tired advice they’ve heard a million times before: “There are plenty of fish in the sea” or “You’re a great person, so just be yourself!” Also, don’t assume whatever you did to meet your S.O. will work for them; falling in love isn’t prescriptive. We all take different paths.
As well-intentioned as your advice may be, what your friend needs most is for you to listen. You need a sounding board ― or a good therapist ― after your umpteenth bad Tinder date.
“In general, I’d say avoid unsolicited advice and canned platitudes, which can make your friend feel frustrated and invalidated,” said Jessica Engle, a psychotherapist in the San Francisco Bay area. “Instead, focus on listening and empathizing; offer solutions and feedback only if requested directly.”
3. If the red flags are mounting up, say something.
We’re all guilty of slipping on rose-colored glasses when we meet someone who seems good on paper. The problem is, those rosy sunnies make red flags all but impossible to see. If you sense that something’s off with your friend’s new S.O. ― they’re quick to fits of anger or already seem disinterested in your pal ― offer some real talk, said Kimberly Seltzer, a dating coach and the owner of Elite Image Makeovers.
“Often friends see red flags right when they meet a potential match, but they may not say anything in fear of hurting them,” she said. “Be honest. Let the friend know about the concerns and tell them how that person might not be as good of a match for them as they think.”
4. Make sure they’re prioritizing self-care.
The stress of dating in 2019 can leave you more than a little exhausted: Answering DMs on dating apps can feel like a full-time job, making time for dates after work is energy-zapping, and managing your feelings for all these new people you meet is rough, too.
“Be sure that your friend is taking care of their physical and mental health,” she said. “A person who has good control over their emotions or expresses them in a healthy way, and feels good in their own body will carry themselves with dignity and project positivity in a way that attracts others of healthy and sound mind. That’s how you find real and lasting love.”
5. Remind them that they’re awesome.
It’s demoralizing to go on date after date and develop connections with people only to hear that “you’re great, but we aren’t right for each other.” (Or worse, getting ghosted by someone you like and endlessly wondering if you did something wrong.)
Counter any negative self-talk that may be running through your friend’s head ― “I’m not good enough or “I shouldn’t have texted him so much, I’m clearly too needy” ― by reminding them that they’re wonderful just as they are, said Lily Womble, a dating coach and the founder of Date Brazen.
“Like it or not, your single friends are looking to you for some validation that they’re awesome and worthy of love,” she said.
Remind them, too, that no one person can define their self-worth. They’re amazing, interesting and whole on their own. Even better, they have plenty of friends and family who can vouch for that.
6. Remind your friend that they’re going to have to get out of the house to find love.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break from the search; dating fatigue is very real. But if it’s been forever since your friend’s last date and they’re in a good head space, encourage them to put a bit more effort into the endeavor.
“Remind them to go out and look for love. Mr. Right is not going to break into your house!” said C. Renee Mangum, a blogger and the co-author of The Bestie Code. “Your friend has to be willing to open themself up to new things, new experiences and, potentially, new love.”
Maybe opening themselves up means allotting a half hour a week to swiping on a dating app ― or smiling at dudes they think are hot at the bar instead of ignoring them the whole night.
On your end, that could mean bringing your friend as a plus one to a work happy hour or cool parties you’re invited to.
TL;DR? Actively look for opportunities to play wing woman/man for your single friend, and hopefully, they’ll be coupled up in no time.