Recently I have had the pleasure of attending a very intimate wedding of a friend and colleague of mine. It was held on the rooftop in Downtown Milwaukee on a perfectly sunny summer evening. Jay and I felt special to be among the guests. The reason we were invited is because of a lucky guess and an internet query, but it was an important lesson in how one small decision can impact a life in a huge way.
I have a friend named Sam. He walks past my desk about three times a week and checks in with me. The past year has been full of positive check-ins. It wasn’t all that long ago, though, that I remember a very different guy passing my desk to chat.
One day, after he lamented about bad luck with girls I asked him a question that I ask a lot of my single friends. I asked “Can you tell me what your perfect Friday night is like?” He jumped into a very specific memory about getting together at a pizza joint in the midnight hours with a bunch of friends playing games on their computers drinking fountain soda and eating pizzas until the sun came up. My first thought was **nerd alert** but my second thought was you are not attracting the right kind of girls!!
I have had pretty good luck with helping people get on the right track to find their partner. Two of my “set-ups” will have resulted in marriage in the this year alone. I can say that I have successfully set up five couples in the last few years and four resulted in marriages. The key for me is that I can usually tell when someone is coming off the wrong way. Therefore they are not attracting the right kind of person.
So with Sam, I tried to figure out what was happening that he was not attracting the right girl and attracting all the wrong ones. I dug deep into the memories of passing conversations for the months before. He told me about how flaky girls are, how they expect to be treated like celebrities, how they are dumb. And I would think to myself, “Who are these girls? I don’t really know anyone like that!” It turns out that his love for classic cars, Ducati motorcycles, and everything tech was sending out a signal to women that he is loaded and wants to waste his money on women who barely like him. He needed to stop leading with that. I told him that I had a project to work on and that I would get back to him.
So I went online, where else? There is a website called Meetup where people can connect with like-minded individuals. I took the anecdote about a great Friday night for him and applied it to Meetup‘s forums. It turns out that Milwaukee has a get together for “nerd speed dating.” I respectfully sent him the link and told him that I have a really good feeling about it.
For the next two weeks, I would check in. How are you doing? You excited to go to the date night? He was surprisingly open-minded and enthusiastic. The morning after the event, I woke up and checked my Facebook wall to see this:
The date had gone really well…a short 6 months later I saw this…
The next thing I know, we get a wedding invite in the mail. We were so …I mean.. SO SO thrilled to see this going so well! His wife is a wonderful, kind, generous, humble human being. She, too, was coerced into attending the event that fateful night. Lucky stars!
There are some things that I do well. I can make a great vegetarian taco, make a bed like a boss, and get people. I can see who people are and who people aren’t. It’s a gift and a curse. But ultimately, I think that when we get down to looking at who we are and not what we like… we can open ourselves up to a great many possibilities.
We have another wedding in a couple of months for one of my best friends. I can still remember the night when I was looking at his dating profile and saying to myself “THAT IS NOT YOU!” Lucky for him (and me!) his love knew EXACTLY who his is and loves him so very much!