The 7 Dos and Absolute Don’ts of Getting Set Up For Semi Formal

When the date first pops up on your calendar, it’s easy to feel like semi formal is years away. Unfortunately, before you know it, it’s time to actually shave your legs (hey, it’s leggings season) and wear your hair in something that isn’t generously called a “messy bun.”

If you’re single, and somehow the man of your dreams hasn’t materialized yet, you’ve got two options. Either invite a friend or get set up. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been set up my fair share of times—it’s a fun way to meet people and it makes someone else assume the pressure of asking a guy for you. If you do decide to get set up, avoid being the cautionary tale people are still talking about years after your graduation by following these 7 simple rules.

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1. DON’T wait until the last minute.

The good guys get snatched up fast (and ideally you want to avoid ending up with your best friend’s mouth breathing lab partner). Ask around to see if anyone miraculously knows some eligible bachelors or see if that girl who went to high school with the boy you’re low-key in love with wouldn’t mind setting you up.

2. DON’T settle.

Be a little picky. This is your event and you deserve to have someone you’ll be proud to take. There’s no need to spend an evening with that one boy who is a notoriously awful date or the kid who was the bane of your existence during freshman orientation.

3. DO manage expectations.

This boy’s only responsibilities are to hold a reasonably pleasant conversation, buy you drinks, and act like you’re not totally embarrassing yourself when you pretend to know every single word to Bailando. If nothing else, this a chance to have another familiar face on campus… although there was that one senior whose best friend from home met her husband through a sorority set up. So, I guess there’s always hope.

4. DO spend a little time doing recon.

Grab a glass (or box, as the case may be) of wine and browse through his Facebook photos and liked pages. There’s nothing worse than a painfully awkward 20-minute bus ride with nothing to talk about except how you lived in the same dorm freshman year. Just be sure not to accidentally mention the 10th grade soccer championship you read about in his hometown newspaper or poke his middle school ex-girlfriend.

5. DON’T fall/barf/cry about your ex (or otherwise bring shame upon yourself and your lineage).

No one wants to be the girl who coped with the awkwardness of getting set up by pounding back one too many vodka sodas and vomming on her date’s shoes.

6. DO feel free to mingle once you’re at the event.

This is a set up, not an arranged marriage, and if your date turns out to be a dud you’re not obligated to spend the whole night trying to force something that’s not there. Make sure your date has friends and is having fun, but if he spent the entire bus ride awkwardly rubbing your knee or talking about his mommy issues don’t feel bad about finding friends you’ll actually have a good time with.

7. DO wear something you feel confident in.

It’s easy to fall in to the woe is me/#foreveralone/someone just buy me a cat already trap. Don’t do it. Raid your friends’ closets for a hot dress. Wear those heels your grandma told you looked like stripper shoes. Spend more than 5 minutes on your hair. Do whatever you need to do to feel awesome—not for this boy, but for yourself.

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