Preventing bad set-ups

Too many bad dates. Help.
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? Signed, Beggars Shouldn’t Be Choosers, Arlington

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