Today’s topic is about that time I tried to mend lonely hearts (as mentioned on radio recently).

I have a few amazing female friends who are gorgeous, funny, smart and single but didn’t want to be single. I didn’t have any single male friends who were suitable matches for them. I felt like there was some kind of imbalance in the universe.

I learned another friend had the opposite situation – too many single male friends and not enough ladies. Woohoo!

A few months ago we co-hosted a party called Meet Market at my house. Everyone except us was single and had to bring a plus-one to the party – a single, platonic friend of the opposite sex*, someone they could vouch for. This kept the numbers of men and women even, gave each person someone to talk to if they got nervous, and ensured we broadened the social circle.

The party was a lot of fun!  We had DIY foods like fondue and ice-cream sundaes, and games like Jenga and Cards Against Humanity ready for people who wanted to play. I made lots of new friends I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and it was really fun spying on the lovebirds, including people kissing in the coat rack and slow-dancing near the dishwasher (tee hee, only slightly awkward and hilarious while I was trying to put away dishes).

We sent out a survey after the party and asked for feedback. Most people had a great time at the party, and 80% of attendees said we should have another Meet Market (either because it was successful for them or they want to try again).

Two-thirds said they swapped contact details with at least one romantic suitor at the party. Two weeks on, 43% of people surveyed said they had met up in person with someone they fancied from Meet Market.

I don’t have the current stats for everyone, but I know at least two couples are still together. Success! And most people (including me) made at least two new friends at the party.

Lessons learned from Meet Market:

  1. Having a co-host with a different social network to me was brilliant. We had lots of fun chats throughout the night on our progress and who liked whom.
  2. I could not have predicted the couples who partnered up (with one exception). It was very interesting to see who everyone liked!
  3. We purposely didn’t try to force conversation or make people participate in activities because we were so worried about making people feel awkward. But most of the people surveyed said they wanted more conversation starters or ice-breaker-type games.
  4. Some people found it difficult to find a plus-one (or theirs cancelled at the last minute). By setting up the party as a Facebook event, we were able to keep in contact with everyone and make sure all the plus-zeros were even numbers of men and women.
  5. We had one or two idiots at the party who were not on their best behaviour and vandalised some of our things. Other than that, having a house full of strangers was surprisingly lovely and fun. Next time I’ll be getting contact details for everyone as they walk in the door, and maybe have a cover charge to keep out the riff raff.

I totally recommend holding a party like this where you live, especially if you can find a co-host. Let us know if you do!

* This party concept has been labelled heteronormative and even “heteroboring” – I don’t disagree. I would love suggestions for how to make it more inclusive for next time.

** I know “How to mend a broken heart” was written and first performed by the Bee Gees, but I prefer the Al Green version!