A matchmaker set up Rebekah Kelley, left, and Noreen Butler on a platonic “friend date” at a ropes course in June in Rockville, Maryland.

“You know those friends who are always late?” Noreen Butler says while waiting for her potential new friend to show up. “You end up letting them drop off.”

Rebekah Kelley is more than 30 minutes late to join Butler for a Friday afternoon of swinging through trees and crashing into piles of mulch on a ropes course in Rockville, Maryland. It’s an activity ripped from reality TV’s playbook: Put two people in an adrenaline-pumping scenario and watch them bond quickly.

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