I was in a room surrounded by approximately 20 business professionals, all in their late 30s/early 40s. All wearing their best suits. Loafers. Ties. Heels. Pearls. Everyone was shaking hands, exchanging business cards and “making things happen.” I did my part to work the room and was relieved at the thought of it being over, when I saw him standing to the side of the group. He wore jeans, a polo shirt and a cap. He was young. Really young. I looked around. No one else was paying him any mind, at all. None. “Who is that guy?” I asked one of my peers. “Oh, Kevin? He’s just a landscaper, no one important” she responded, waiving her hand and going to take her seat.
I watched Kevin as he went to take his seat at one end of the table, sitting between a high-powered media relations director and a highly respected attorney. No one so much as turned their head to even glance at him. The first person at the table, a wealthy financial planner, stood up and proceeded to give us his 30 second elevator speech. At the end, he said that he was looking to be
connected to some high-powered CEO of some company. He sat and the next person stood. And the next. And the next. They all had different professions and a different speech, but it always ended the same. They all asked to be connected to some high-powered CEO of some company. Then it was Kevin’s turn. He stood up and I noticed that people at the table were already talking to each other! Paying Kevin NO mind. So, being me, I loudly asked “So Kevin, who are you looking to be connected with?” He said “No one right now, really. Business is really good.” People’s eyes started catching each other’s, giving those knowing glances that seemed to say “Seeeee, I told you this 18-year-old isn’t good for anything.” Kevin went to sit but suddenly pushed himself back up and cleared his throat. Everyone looked at him. Then he said “I am not looking for any business right now but, I do know “insert high-powered CEO” and “insert high-powered CEO” and “insert high-powered CEO” and a few more. He pointed at each person who had asked for those specific connections as he stated the CEO’s name. Everyone stared at him in disbelief. Then he shrugged and said “I mow their lawns.”
After Aces and I made the split official, I felt lost at how I was going to meet someone new. Yes, I know that I run Singles in the Suburbs but, for various reasons, I find it difficult at this point in time for ME to meet someone through SITS (although many others do, daily). I hate online dating too. But that’s a story for another day. Jess McCann, dating and relationship coach, asked me a very “spot on” question during our meeting on Wednesday. “If you can’t meet guys through SITS and you don’t online date, where on earth are you going to meet them?” I just looked at her, silently. I had no clue where I’d meet men. I just shrugged.
On Wednesday night, I met “Date #6”, Steve, at Woody’s Golf in Herndon to play some miniature golf at Perils of the Lost Jungle. Steve was tall, talkative and funny! The couple behind us seriously wanted to kick us off of the course because we’d get to the next hole, only to stand there and talk forever until we realized that they had come up behind us and then we’d haphazardly play and move on to the next hole, where it would happen all over again. We were disappointed when we got to the last hole so quickly and decided to go grab a drink at Carpool in Herndon to keep the conversation going.
During our conversation, I learned that Steve does improv. Specifically, that he does improv with the troupe at The Comedy Spot in Arlington. So I asked him if he knew a very good friend of mine, who also does improv with the troupe at The Comedy Spot – and he does. Pretty well actually! It was a totally random, Six Degrees of Separation, type of occurrence. Our common friend had not referred Steve for the 35/35 project.
You may think that you don’t know anyone who could help you with your “search for love” but you know more people than you think and there is a good chance that these people know someone who can give you helpful advice, useful information, another connection or, may themselves, be the one. You won’t know – and they won’t know to offer it up – unless you ask!
Think about it. For a job search, we utilize all of our connections. We put in 100+ hours a month, responding to every job posting that interests us. We e-mail our resume and specifics on our search out to all of our friends and ask them to forward it to their friends to forward it to their friends. Yet, when it comes to finding our “life partner”, we usually don’t come close to that level of investment. We just assume that we know our “personal network” and, therefore, we’d know if a friend had a potential “love referral” for us. But we don’t. (Much like everyone in the networking group overlooked Kevin’s connections.) And our friends won’t know to help us look (or how to help us look), unless we ask. (Much like Kevin wouldn’t have thought of offering up that he knew all of those people, had the group not asked.) Had I simply asked my improv friend at any point if he had any single friends that may be looking for a fun night out, I might have met Steve before this 35/35 project.
Our network is larger than we know. Ask your friends/family/co-workers for help. Yes, even in your “search for love”. Don’t assume that certain people won’t be able to help you. You’ll be surprised by who they know!