The others kept quiet for a moment before Tong Lan finally made up her mind to share another personal experience.
“You know, my mother wanted to set me up with the son of a friend once.”
The other four looked at her, not sure if that could compare.
“Well, if it’s your mother, that’s a bit different right?” Zhao Chen wasn’t necessarily comfortable giving too much of his opinion since he didn’t know the others really well but he did feel that this was a situation where he could likely do so without anyone feeling that he was overstepping. “If my parents tried to set me up, they’d go for the kind of daughter-in-law they’d want to have and not think about me too much. With friends, there’s a good chance they’ll at least think about what kind of person might be right for you even if it’s not the type you’d go for.”
Si Tao raised his brows. “Oh, that sounds like personal storytime!”
Zhao Chen chuckled. “Don’t get your hopes up, there isn’t much to say. A few years ago, I had just broken up with my boyfriend at the time. A friend of mine knew somebody he thought I might make a good couple with so he wanted to introduce us. I wasn’t that interested, to be honest, but since he was a good friend I figured why not? So in the end, I said alright and gave it a go.”
Si Tao gave a hum. “But it didn’t work out.”
“No, it didn’t. He really wasn’t my type.”
Li Ming couldn’t help but give him a look. They had talked about Zhao Chen having a specific type so he wasn’t too surprised to hear this. What did make him pause a bit was the rest of the story.
Zhao Chen might not have given any specific time frame but it had sure sounded like this was very shortly after his break-up. He knew that Zhao Chen moved on fast but … was this so universally recognized in his circle of friends that they would even try to help him date right after leaving somebody? He felt a bit strange about that.
Li Ming lowered his gaze when he thought of that. He was overthinking again, wasn’t he? This didn’t matter at all. Right now, he probably just felt insecure because he had just heard about Mo Fang again. Yes, there was nothing more to this.
Si Tao, on the other hand, sighed. “And here I thought you’d tell us some riveting tale that would make brother Linghu reconsider his stance.”
Zhao Chen raised his brows and turned to Linghu Jiahao. “You know, I don’t think it’s wrong to give it a try. For me, it didn’t work out back then but he also wasn’t a bad guy. Anyway, when it comes to going on dates, isn’t it just checking whether you vibe with each other? If there’s a spark, you can follow up, if not, you just go your separate ways. I don’t think you have anything to lose there.”
Linghu Jiahao sighed as well. “I know. Honestly, it’s about time I moved on. I also know that. It’s just difficult to do after investing so much time. And then I’m not even sure what I am looking for in a partner anymore.
“I loved his energy but by now, I’m also a few years older. And if I’m being honest, he was a bit immature. Maybe I would do better with a more mature partner nowadays?” His gaze was doubtful and he picked up his glass again, drinking silently.
Li Ming looked at him and couldn’t help but see himself in Linghu Jiahao. For the last two years, he had been pretty much like this: unable to extricate himself, always thinking about Mo Fang and his relationship with him, with no way out. He had managed to get over it with time but even now, the scars were lasting and might never vanish. Even though Linghu Jiahao hadn’t suffered the same way, the result was still the same.
Si Tao waved for the waiter to bring them more drinks when he realized that they had all managed to almost empty theirs and then couldn’t help but try to reassure Linghu Jiahao. “You know, you’re not wrong. With time, what you’re looking for can change. That’s not a bad thing. But how are you going to find out whether that’s the case for you if you don’t even try? And honestly, I think going on a few dates with people we could set you up with wouldn’t be a bad idea. At the very least, we can tell them about your embarrassing hang-ups beforehand.”
Linghu Jiahao laughed. “Is that supposed to make me feel better?”
Si Tao simply grinned. “Well, you have to let them know somehow. If we do it beforehand, it’ll be easier on you. You can just go into the first date knowing they’re already aware but were still willing to give it a try. Isn’t that good?”
Linghu Jiahao’s expression turned complicated and he turned to Li Ming in the hope of finding a like-minded person. “Did they also try to set you up?”
Much to his dismay, Li Ming shook his head. “I’m afraid not. But then, I can also see that you’re closer to brother Si than I am. I just took a break from dating in general and when I felt that I was more or less ready, I simply gave it a shot when I found somebody I thought it could work out with.”
Linghu Jiahao glanced at Zhao Chen. “Well, looks like it went well.”
Li Ming smiled. “Sure, it did. In the end. I did go on a few dates with some other men in-between though. It didn’t work out with them. But that’s okay. Not everything will lead somewhere but for me, it was important to get over what happened. Maybe it’ll be the same for you.” He shrugged his shoulders and then accepted the new drink the waiter was bringing.
Anyway, everyone needed to know for themselves how they wanted to go through life. You could share your experiences but you couldn’t know whether it would be the same for others and you certainly couldn’t force them to try.