tagHow ToSix Degrees of Separation

Six Degrees of Separation


You've seen the movie (maybe even on a date!) and you've heard of the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game. This means, in theory, that the man or woman of your dreams is only separated from you by six other people. So where are they, and why haven't you found them yet, you wonder? You've certainly waded through more than six between blind dates, bar hook-ups and chat rooms! The problem is that while six may seem like a very small number, and we'd all like to believe in karma and synchronicity, the reality is that six degrees of separation actually makes for abysmal odds of meeting your destiny. Why? Because it's not just any six people, we're talking about, it's the right six people. It might be more beneficial to look at this: how are you unknowingly keeping yourself from meeting your future mate? Relying on the wheel of fortune to spin you into a relationship utopia is idealistic, but not realistic. Here are six things you might be inadvertently doing to keep yourself separate from Mr. or Ms. Right!

1. Expectations

If you're looking for Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, I have news for you... they've already found each other! I know women and men who have a laundry list of requirements about the opposite sex that they strictly adhere to when choosing a potential date. By being rigid and sticking to those self-imposed restrictions, you may miss out on an amazing human being. So she's twenty pounds overweight, or wears glasses, or has a lazy eye... or maybe he's balding, or shorter than you, or has back hair... making these things "deal-breakers" are going to keep you detached for longer than you may want. Looks fade, and by the time you've spent your whole lifetime with Mr. or Ms. Perfect, they're not going to be so perfect anymore, anyway. The old adage, "It's the inside that counts" certainly proves true over time. Even Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt will be old and wrinkled some day. Loosening your expectations will make those odds of meeting your soul mate shoot way up. Besides, people can lose weight, wear contacts, or join the "hair club for men," and there's always waxing!

2. Home Alone

In spite of the image of the swinging single, most unpartnered people spend their evenings at home. If you only go out once a month, or you decline an invitation to a party because you "don't know anyone there," or you find yourself watching the Friday night television lineup more often than not, then you're probably keeping yourself separate from your future partner. I know you work forty hours a week and you're tired, but I also know that you have other interests that you could be pursuing besides eating Doritos and watching Dancing With the Stars. If you're into books, check out the book store; if you're into music, go see a local band; if you like to laugh, there's the local comedy club. That way, you've increased your chances of meeting that special someone who is interested in similar things, and even if you don't, you were doing something enjoyable, anyway.

3. Body Language

A lot of what we say never comes out of our mouths. Our bodies express things nonverbally all the time to other human beings. The girl over there with her eyes downcast, twisting a piece of her hair around her finger... what is she saying? What about the guy in the corner, chewing on his straw and tapping his foot? See what I mean? You can send all sorts of body language that says "No!" while your heart and mind are saying, "Yes!" Your most important body language tools are your face, your eyes, your hands, and your posture. If you're one of those people who "never smiles," now is the time to give up that habit. A warm smile is one of the best ways to communicate interest in another person. Prolonged, direct eye contact also spells, "I'm interested in you," as does turning your body fully towards a person. If you have any small tics or annoying gestures, you can practice not doing them. They can be distracting, and may make you appear nervous or overenthusiastic. You also need to pay attention to your posture. No, I don't mean you have to walk around with a book on your head, but you do need to notice whether you slouch, or hunch over, or keep your head down, because that implies a lack of confidence. Conversely, if you tend to puff yourself up and swagger a lot, you might convey a bit of overconfidence or arrogance. Body language is something we simply do, almost without thinking, but it's worth paying attention to, because even if you find "the one" standing in line at the supermarket, but you end up turning away out of shyness, you may lose your opportunity to lend destiny a hand.

4. Fear of Rejection

We're all afraid of being rejected. It's like a universal truth. No one wakes up to greet the sun and thinks brightly, "I'm going to go out and be rejected today!" If we've been rejected a lot, we can get stuck in the pattern of not trying, not risking, and this makes it impossible to meet your future partner (unless you get lucky and he or she falls miraculously into your lap at your cousin's wedding or something.) The other old adage, "All life is risk," also proves to be true. You aren't going to find Cathy Compatible or Steven Simpatico if you're too afraid to approach them in the first place. So how do you get over your fear of rejection? I'm afraid, as the Nike logo says, you "Just do it!" Eventually you will be rewarded for your efforts, although it may seem like an exercise in patience in the meantime.

5. Forego the Familiar

You go out to the same bar every weekend, you see the same people, you talk about the same things, it's like Cheers, everybody knows your name. What's wrong with this picture? It may be familiar, but you're decreasing your chances of meeting new people. If you find yourself stuck in this rut, it may be time to mix it up a little, go to a different club, or better yet, forget the club scene entirely—the rumors about that are true, too, it's a fairly oversaturated meat market—and take up a hobby, it doesn't matter what as long as you're interested in it, watercolor painting, bungi jumping, tai chi. The one caveat here is that if you pick a predominately feminine or masculine hobby (say, sewing or boxing, respectively) you're probably only going to meet people of the same gender, and if you're goal is to meet members of the opposite sex, you've cut your odds considerably. I'd suggest you pick something more gender neutral, or even something the opposite sex seems more interested in. Guys, take up cooking, you should know how to do it, anyway! Girls, try a karate class, it could save your life some night, or at least keep Mr. Wrong at bay. And who knows, you may find your future partner making soufflés or practicing "wax-on, wax-off!"

6. Follow Through

Say you think you may have found the one, right here at the local Starbucks of all places, you've struck up a conversation, things have gotten pretty deep fairly quickly, you're finishing each other's sentences, sparks are flying, but alas, the coffee house is closing, and you've both got to work in the morning. Six degrees of separation, and yet there she was, right in front of you, against all odds... but you forgot to get her phone number. Or you wrote it on a napkin, but your roommate used it to wipe up his Gatorade spill in the kitchen. If you think you've connected with your soul mate, the one yard line is the worst and most tragic place to fumble the ball! Not to mix sports metaphors, but your follow-through is more important than ever now. Make sure you get a phone number, and also try to plan another time to meet if you can ("I'm going to be here tomorrow night, you?") Most of all, don't forget to actually use the contact information you do receive. Many opportunities have been lost because someone was too afraid to pick up the phone and take a chance to make a connection.

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