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What You Should Consider Before Letting A Friend Set You Up

A friend hooking you up could be cool. So long as you factor in a few things...first.

What About Your Friends?

It's crazy out here. That's a full stop statement but today, what I'm specifically referring to is, when it comes to the dating scene. And if you're someone who is sick and tired (then tired some more) of dating the same kind of guy over and over…and over and over again, or you're simply tapped out of options of where or how to meet someone new at the moment, a very valid option is to let some of your friends set you up. Now before you pull out your phone to ask one of them "What's good?", there are a few points that I wanna hit first, just so, if you do decide to take this dating route, you and your friend are able to survive it.

So, if you're tired of online dating and/or you are finally ready to leave your ex (or exes) alone and/or you've already got a friend who's been hinting around about hooking you up, here are the things that you need to seriously consider before you let them play matchmaker in your life.

Does Your Friend Know Your Type?

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One of the reasons why getting set up by my friends is a personal no-no for me is because, well, you should see how my birthday goes. I've got some pretty quirky taste, no doubt about that. So, these days, my peeps are more in the lane of, "Shellie, just tell us what you'd like and we'll cop it"—and I sincerely appreciate that. Indeed, it is one thing to think you know what someone would like vs. being absolutely sure. So when it comes to men, while I do have a bit of a type (most of us do), it's kind of multi-layered and hard to explain once you get past the, please be well over 6' and chocolate, if possible.

There's no time to get into my personal preference list, but what I will say, as it pertains to you is, if you're open to letting a friend set you up with someone, make sure they know at least the "surface layer" of what you're interested in/looking for. Not just physically, but the kind of ideals and values you're down with and even the type of dating situation you'd like to get into at this particular season and stage of your life. Because wouldn't it suck to meet a man who checks all of your boxes, only to find out he's a commitment-phobe six months down the road—and your friend had an inkling but thought that you could be the woman to change him around? Whew. Talk about a potential fall-out. We'll get more into that in a little bit, though.

What Kind of Connection Do They Have with Him?

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Lawd. So much drama can be avoided in life if, we simply don't make assumptions about, pretty much anything. That said, if you've got a friend who's excited about hooking you up with someone, aside from processing how close you and said-friend are (check out "According To Aristotle, We Need 'Utility', 'Pleasure' & 'Good' Friends" and "Always Remember That Friendships Have 'Levels' To Them"), there is nothing wrong with inquiring about their relationship with ole' boy too. Is he an ex? Were they ever intimate? Is he a relative (friends take it personally when things don't go well with someone in their bloodline)? If he's a co-worker or someone they go to church with, how well do they know the guy beyond just sharing the same space on any given day? Whatever the case may be, if they're presenting him to you as being so awesome, what makes him that way in their humble opinion?

There are people I personally know who hooked up a friend, simply on the basis of thinking that someone was a nice guy, only for him to turn out to be an individual who should've had a starring role in a Lifetime movie. The psycho guy didn't get blamed nearly as much as the friend did. So yeah, make sure that you've got a little bit of history on the relationship between your friend and "him" before agreeing to go out. It could shed some light on a few things that you wouldn't know otherwise.

Is This Their First Attempt?

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If you want to see how the future will go, it can never hurt to look at the past. Case in point. I've got a family member who, every time they recommend someone to me, I'm looking at them, not side-eye but dead in the eye like, "Do you know me at all?!" There is absolutely no way that I would go out with anyone they suggested because 1) every single guy they think would be a good idea, I am not even remotely attracted to or interested in and 2) their own track record with their own relationships is less-than-stellar.

That second point? That too can play a role in whether you should let a friend set you up or not because, oftentimes, the mindset that a friend has when it comes to trying to connect you with someone tends to mirror the headspace they've been in when it comes to getting in their own relationships (or situationships).

For instance, love addicts are consumed with people being together—whether it's good, healthy or right—or not. So, if your friend is a love addict, they will probably want to hook you up, for no other reason than, they think everyone should always be in some sort of relationship. Plus, if they are a love addict, there's also a pretty good chance that they've either tried or did set you up before. And yeah—how did that go? Matchmaking ain't an exact science. Lord knows that it's not. But if you've already gone down this road with a friend of yours before, and things didn't go so well, you aren't being overly skeptical if you'd rather take a pass. Honestly, it could actually protect your friendship in the long run if you do.

Can It Be Something Casual Before Something…BIG?

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So, what if this is your friend's very first attempt, you totally trust them, you've conveyed your type and the guy they're describing sounds like a good fit? What now? Well, unless you just adore blind dates (which kind of makes you a unicorn), who says that the initial set-up has to be some grandiose event? Something that can take the pressure off of, shoot, everyone who's involved, is if your friend has you and the guy over for brunch or dinner, or something casual along those lines. That way, it's not just you and him in the initial meeting, and you can get to know each other in a more casual setting. Then, if you both do hit it off on some level, the two of you can decide to take things further. Or, if there is no chemistry (whether that's one way or both ways), everyone can call it a day and go home with no drama.

Are Either of You Gonna Take the Situation Personally?

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I know of a couple of matchmaking attempts that have worked out really well. Thing is, the person who did the matching up brags about it, every chance they get, even all years later. For the record, if there's anything to be proud of, it's bringing two people together, successfully. That still doesn't change the fact that there's some ego involved. And that's the last thing I'll say that you should keep in mind when it comes to letting your friend hook you up.

If only a couple of "light" dates occur and nothing materializes, that's not a big deal. But if the guy is an ass or you do end up dating and he graduates from ass to asshole or—God forbid—you end up being the one who hurts him, you and/or your friend could end up feeling some type of way. Super disappointed is one thing, but if it grows into hurt or pissed, that could affect your friendship in ways that you didn't quite predict. So yeah, also factor in your sensitivity levels as well as theirs. If you already feel in your gut that this could put more stress and strain on your relationship, either share that with them on the front end to see where their head and heart are at or, politely decline the offer. Then remember that the universe is huge. There are other ways to meet a man than through a friend. If it's meant to be that way, it needs to go smoothly. If it's not, let it happen another way—so that you and your friendship can remain intact.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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