Marina Adshade explores why we love to set people up:
Matchmaking has essentially gone out of favour because people presume that others don’t want their help in finding love. That may be true, but there is new evidence that suggests we should do it anyway, if for no reason but to increase our own happiness. In a laboratory experiment and an online survey, the research finds that people who work at bringing others together are over-all happier than those who do not.
What is interesting about this research is that an increase in happiness isn’t even dependent on a personal connection to the people being matched – happiness can be found in matching complete strangers. It seems as well that the less likely it is that the two people would have matched without help, the more satisfying the match is to the matchmaker. People are made happiest by matching people who bring together different qualities. For example, in the experiment participants were happier when they made inter-racial matches than when they made same race matches.