March 24, 2013 | 0 Comments
How We Met
You don’t have to be a hopeless romantic to want a good “How We Met” story. You could be stuck with it for 50+ years, after all. And while the stigma of online dating has seriously subsided, saying “I digitally winked at Grandpa” or “We both ranked political affiliation as ‘extremely important’” isn’t the story most people are excited to tell.
This American Life covered this very topic in the episode, “Origin Story”, which explored the way we are drawn to the stories of how things started – their point of origin. Most of us have found ourselves asking “So, how did you meet?” soon after meeting new couples. Men and women alike never tire of telling the story of how a moment or a series of moments turned into a relationship. It becomes a part of history that’s called upon regularly even after a relationship ends.
There is certainly something to be celebrated about meeting online. There’s that needle-in-a-haystack good fortune of true compatibility found among thousands and thousands of potential “matches.”. And there’s also something affirming about an online genesis, that makes us think “Hey, this thing we’re all doing is actually working for some people!”
But I also sympathize with the desire for an origin story. Truthfully, I think that might be what’s actually at the heart of online dating trepidation. Maybe it’s not about the about the fact that you met the person online, but that you feel robbed of good story.
When it comes to relationships: There are three key ingredients of a good origin story: Serendipity, Detail and Adventure.
It’s not impossible to find these things online, but it is harder to find all three ingredients in good measure. So, is saying that you met someone at a singles event, like Me So Far, any improvement over winking and poking? Well, the interesting thing about Me So Far is that the context (the experience at an event) supersedes the pretext (you came because you’re single). Couples who meet at Me So Far have origin stories that go beyond “we met at a singles event” because the Me So Far experience is perfectly designed for serendipity, detail and adventure.
SERENDIPITY: People who date online expect to connect with someone. They may not expect a match made in heaven, but the simple volume of people online and the minutiae of search criteria mean you’ll find something. But at a Me So Far event, you don’t get to set any screening criteria for who walks in the door. And it’s not a numbers game, of quantity over quality. So when you do make a connection it feels even more unexpected. Like something found you, rather than the other way around.
DETAIL: Often the story of how a Me So Far couple meets involves a slide. Maybe it was the credit card statement that showed repeat charges at Chuck E. Cheese with his nephews. Or her “Text Messages Greatest Hits” slide full of corny jokes. But something catches someone’s eye and the World’s Friendliest Bar Happy Hour is filled with real conversation, not small talk. It’s these first details that not only form the basis for a great origin story, but give people a running start for a first date.
ADVENTURE: The thing that unites all people who attend a Me So Far event is sense of adventure. Whether you came to present, or listen, you had to suspend disbelief for a minute and agree to do something you didn’t fully understand, and show up. If you want to talk to someone, you walk up to them. There’s no hiding behind profile ratings or emoticons. This creates a mutual respect among the people in the room. Not everyone will want to date you, and vice versa, but you’ll be surprised by how incredibly friendly people are. And you start wondering how much more fun going out would be if all bars and happy hours operated like this.