Matchmaking Party

Posted on Jan 28, 2022


  • I think matchmaking can be a really kind gift to single friends.
  • Matchmaking seems especially impactful during covid.
  • Matchmaking seems more effective with a group of matchmakers.
  • I’m organizing a “matchmaking party” where matchmakers join a video call and scheme / brainstorm about potential matches.
  • I ran a small matchmaking party in July 2020 and despite a small group it seemed pretty successful. It generated quite a few potential matches, and led to at least one couple dating.
Sign up as a Matchmaker  →
Give the gift of love to your single friends this Valentine's day.
Exact date will be based on survey preferences.

The Impact of Matchmaking

I think matchmaking is probably underrated. I suspect it’s often the most effective way to use a small amount of time to improve the lives of your immediate social circle.

As far as I can tell, many people really want to find a partner when they’re single. I do. My close single friends – both male and female – generally do. The people I surveyed on Mechanical Turk do. (Many of the people I surveyed report they would take on significant risks of immediate death to find a partner!)

You probably have several friends and acquaintances who are single and would be grateful for good suggestions on people to meet. (Caveat: thoughtfulness about this is important: there are cases where this kind of thing could be uncomfortable or hurtful.) I’ve asked dozens of single friends if they’d like me to try and matchmake them or if they’d like an introduction to someone, and the answer has almost always been yes, and very appreciative.

Can you actually generate good matches? I actually think the probability isn’t that high, but it’s still very worthwhile in expected value. In particular, I suspect the first few minutes you spend thinking about matchmaking is probably really high leverage, with steep diminishing returns. This is because you have fresh potential matches to consider, while your single friends have probably considered everyone who seems like a plausible match that they know.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all if in the first hour one spends trying to matchmake, they can generate something like 10x more micromarriages per hour for their single friends than those single friends could generate for themselves in an hour.

Your friends probably spend a lot of time and energy seeking a partner, at that much lower micromarriages per hour return. I find it pretty exciting to be able to help at such a high multiplier! (I try to set aside 30-60 min twice a year to systematically think about potential matches.) Conversely, it's meant the world to me when friends -- and even kind internet strangers -- have tried to set me up.

Matchmaking Seems Unusually Impactful Right Now due to COVID

I suspect that playing matchmaker right now is likely to be unusually impactful. Many of the mechanisms people rely on to meet potential partners have been disrupted by COVID. In a typical year, people have around a 5%/year chance of meeting the person they marry. I’d guess it’s been much lower the last two years.

It won’t surprise me if the majority of the good I accomplish personally through matchmaking is accomplished during COVID.

Matchmaking Seems More Effective in Groups

I’ve been deliberately trying to matchmake for around five years. Although I’ve had a few minor successes where I introduced people, the only cases where I’ve seen it lead to a relationship have been when I’ve schemed together with a friend about setting people up.

My working model is that the “fuel” of matchmaking is potential matches who haven’t yet considered whether they should date. The reason you can often be more impactful with a marginal hour than your friends can be for themselves is that you know different people. But your social network still overlaps a lot with the friend’s you’re trying to match. If you really want to maximize your probability of suggesting new, potentially really good fits, you want to team up with other people who have different social networks.

In July 2020, I ran a virtual “matchmaking party”. It was pretty successful. A small group, in about two hours, generated a bunch of matches and two eventually led to dating, although I don’t know what the long-term relationship outcomes were.

I’m going to run a similar event, you can apply to participate here. Due to COVID, the event will be virtual.


How do I apply to be a matchmaker? Please fill out this form to apply.

Is the party only for people in the Bay Area? No, it's open to any geography. In the sign-up form, you list what geographic regions you'd be matching people in. If no one else signs up with overlapping regions, I'll try to let you know to save you time if you don't want to join.

What will the matchmaking party be like? It will be a video call with some mechanism for breaking off into smaller conversations (maybe Rally?), along with a shared google doc or spreadsheet for listing people you're trying to match.

Can I host my own matchmaking party? Of course! I’d be delighted for you to do so. (I certainly can’t host as many matchmaking parties as I think should occur!) After the party, I plan to post templates of all my organizational documents for anyone hosting their own event to use.

Why have an event for matchmakers rather than a party where the people looking for partners can directly meet each other? I think events for single people are a pretty brutal format. I’ve gone to a few in the past myself and found them enormously stressful. The emotional stakes are pretty high for people involved, and that makes them awkward and uncomfortable (especially for people who are shy or socially anxious). It also makes things inefficient, because it’s hard for people to just be really honest and rapidly assess compatibility.

Will everyone who applies to be a matchmaker join the event? It depends on how big the group is. I’m nervous the structure wouldn’t work very well for a group larger than 20-30 people. But I’ll send everyone who applies all my notes so they can organize their own party!

Can I apply to matchmake myself? We think this will be more effective if people are focused on matchmaking others. We want the emotional stakes to be low, and one is generally pretty invested in finding a match for themselves. If you’re looking for matches yourself, try to think about whether you have any friends you think would be a good matchmaker for you and others! (And also consider if you want to match others – if finding a match would mean a lot to you, helping someone find a match would probably mean an enormous amount to them!)

I’m single, can I apply to participate as a matchmaker for others? As long as you’re focused on others, I’d be delighted to have you apply! (I’m single myself, and I really want to help other people who are single find great matches.)

How confidential will the event be? We expect information shared between matchmakers to be treated similarly to information found on a dating website. It isn’t strictly private, but we expect people to treat it with care, and to try to act in the best interests of anyone who’s information they receive access to.

Why can’t people just use dating websites? Well, a lot of them are probably already doing that. But honestly, I’m pretty negative on dating websites: they seem to structurally encourage a lot of unhealthy things, and I think the micromarriages per hour return is probably worse than lots of other things. My guess is that introductions from friends are literally an order of magnitude better.

Wouldn’t it make sense to use a professional matchmaker instead? It’s always seemed to me like professional matchmakers paid for by individual clients have uncomfortable incentives (the same could be said of dating websites). I’m pretty excited about the idea of professional matchmakers who are operating in a more “non-profit” style where they're funded by donations intended to support them generally rather than find matches for a specific person. (In fact, last year I made a $10K donation to someone experimenting with this!) But I think it’s unlikely this is going to occur in a widespread enough way to help most of my or your friends in the near future.

Chris, can you help me find a match? Sorry, I only expect to be able to make helpful matches for people I know fairly well. (If I do know you but don’t know that you’re looking for a partner, please let me know!) Consider who the best person in your social circle to act as a matchmaker would be and send them this event!