Dating through your social circles still proves to be a better match

Ever since I was a little girl, I romanticized the idea of falling in love. Flooded with romantic comedies and fairy tales I looked forward to the day when I would look across the room, lock eyes, and know I was experiencing something special and oddly intended. Because of my hopeless romanticism, I never comfortably settled into the idea of online dating. How could a list of preferences and music tastes really determine a true match?  Match.com says their members go on 6 million dates a year, and eHarmony guarantees that 236 of their members get married everyday but studies show that we’re still 70% more likely to find our new boo through our friends.

As James Fowler states in his book; Connected, The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, if you have 20 friends and they each have 20 friends, one of those people are likely to be your future spouse. The obvious logical reasoning behind this is that we tend to hang around like-minded people. College educated folk hang with college educated folks. Artists tend to have artist friends. In each little female clique, most friends talk the same, often dress the same, and carry the same morals–similar people coming in different packages. If this is the case, I am led to a more controversial question, if we are more likely to find our potential life partners within our social circles, are we limiting our dating potential by calling ex lover’s off limits?

Now hear me out first before you get upset.

I am not at all suggesting that your best friend’s boyfriend she dated for 10 years or your boy’s girl that left him at the alter is fair game. I’m, suggesting that maybe that guy you went out with a couple times but just didn’t have a connection with, could possibly be a better match for your best friend. Or your girl’s two-year Harmony.com match who “just didn’t work out” could possibly be a perfect match for you.

Although women are the most vocal about their dilemmas in finding “The One,” finding Mrs. Right can be just as difficult for men. The Champ at Verysmartbrothas mentions “the process of finding an available, attractive, and compatible mate can be just as baffling, confusing, frustrating, disheartening, and even occasionally depressing”. True compatibility–beyond giving the same answers on a website–is different from a numbers game. Dating in quantity gives you more chances of meeting someone, but it also gives you more opportunities to get it wrong. Why not search where you know you are most likely going to find what you are looking for? If you are a size 20, you bypass Forever 21 and go straight to Lane Bryant. If you love sneakers, the last place you need to shop is Charles David.

I’ve played the same “what if” scenario with my girlfriends. What if you were happily married, and one of your friends became acquainted with an ex? Would you give your blessing? “Hell no”, “No way”, “Seriously?” are the various replies that I always get. For some reason, the majority of us see our past loves as possessions–something sacred to only us even if we have successfully moved on. But I have always had a different perspective on this. If I tried, and it didn’t work out, more power to you girlfriend! Who am I to stop possible love? Especially when I have been there and done that and know he is definitely not for me.

Recently, I went out on a date with a great guy. No matter how I spinned it, he was just not for me. Thankfully he felt the exact same way. But I kept on envisioning him as a perfect partner for a good friend of mine. Regardless of our brief time together, he was down for the set up, but my good friend refused to meet him. Two hours at a café was all that I’d spent with this man, but she wasn’t willing to meet someone that I had already “tried”. Could we possibly be holding up dating rules and regulations that could be blocking us from finding the perfect mate?

I bet if we all just took a second and thumbed through our mental Rolodex, we could probably find a past hook up or love that might be a really good match for a friend.

Can we be mature enough to put our ego aside and hook up a friend? Think about it.  It could most likely be a better situation than imagined. Have you ever been in an argument with a lover or wondered what he or she was thinking? Wouldn’t it be beneficial to turn to someone for advice who actually knew exactly with what you were dealing with?

As the old saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” It’s worked for eBay and Craigslist, maybe it will work for our dating life as well. For the majority of us, love is literally just around the corner, we just have to be willing to receive it.

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