Ever since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealed that they were set up by a mutual friend, my single yet romantic heart hasn't been totally into the dating app game. After all, what's the point of trying to find love with a total stranger, when the wedding of the century is about to take place all because a mutual friend somewhere thought, 'You know what? You two would be great together', and made it happen.
Then I heard about Badoo's latest feature. The dating app, which has already gone above and beyond to help you meet the person of your dreams and cut down catfishing, has introduced a new function to find your next date through your friends' mutual friends list on Facebook. This means no matter who you find on the app, someone in your list of Facebook friends can be on call to tell you a little more about them, and whether they think the pair of you would be a good match (as well as giving you the inside scoop on any potential deal breakers, like that they don't really look like their profile picture, or the revelation that Ross is their favourite character in Friends). I decided to put the new feature to the test by going on a blind date with a mutual friend of a friend through Badoo. Here's what happened...
Using the app, I was surprised to see that I could see my own friends' profiles. After all, friends make the best relationships right? But sadly my buddy from Sixth Form would have to wait, since I was on a mission to meet a mutual friend – just like Meghan Markle did - who would whisk me off my feet to Africa, give me a giant diamond and make me a member of the royal family…or, ehm….I mean… would make me happy. Must try not to get carried away.
I eventually got chatting to a friend of a friend, who upon further investigation actually turned out to be a work colleague's brother! Informing my friend that she was about to welcome a new sister-in-law, we arranged to meet for my first ever Badoo friends of friends date. But beforehand, I had some questions for my pal. What was her brother like? Did he enjoy his job? And, you know, does he have good fashion sense? Naturally being a sibling she was biased, but gave me the impression that this was someone she thought I would definitely connect with. Since I was well aware that she was most likely saying the same thing to him, I felt more confident, and certainly more comfortable, when planning our rendezvous.
We decided meeting for some drinks was the best way to go, and opted for a speakeasy-style bar in central London near to where we both worked. My date arrived early (an excellent sign) and immediately reinforced what my friend had said about him - he is Mr. Reliable. After settling down with our cocktails, we got chatting - first about his sister - my friend, and then about any and every topic that came into our heads. But thanks to our mutual contact, the ice breaker felt completely natural and unforced, much better than my usual (generally incoherent) nervous babble on a first date!
In fact, knowing that we had someone who thought we'd work well together gave the date a whole new dimension unlike some dating app meet-ups I'd had in the past. It almost felt like my usual efforts to impress my date weren't as important, and that it was much easier to just be myself because, after all, he already had a sense of who that person was. The date felt much less like a job interview and more like meeting someone I already knew, or at least knew of.
There were still plenty of things to find out about each other. Some things matched: we both enjoy Game of Thrones, white wine and agree that cats are better than dogs. Others not so much (he likes Kanye West, I like Taylor Swift). Having spent a lot of time writing about Harry and Meghan's love story though, I know they went through something similar (though I doubt Harry and Meghan talked about the pros and cons of Taylor's latest album quite as much as we did!). While both internationally famous, neither knew too much about the other, and that part of early dating is fun whether you're royal or not. It's nice to get to know people and discover your areas of compatibility, to weigh up if your areas of difference are healthy or total deal breakers.
But doing that within the comfort of a shared background makes it that much easier (and less stressful). If someone they know – who you already like – think's they're okay, then you can trust your positive feelings that much more. So, what's next? Our second meet-up is already scheduled but who knows what the future holds. Maybe in the year or so I'll be dressed in couture while a photographer snaps us strolling through the grounds at Windsor together. Or maybe not, we'll see. One thing's for sure - if things do progress, the stressful 'meeting the friends' situation will be a breeze! And hey – it worked out for Meghan so who knows!