Long before I started working for eHarmony Labs, I was actually convinced by my mother to join eHarmony on a free communication weekend – she told me that she was worried about the quality of men I would meet in a bar, but I also think she feared that I was too closed off to begin with. And she had a point – I wasn’t what you would label, “approachable” in social settings. I went to movies by myself and would “shush” people that tried talking to me; I would wear earphones at the museum and only go to the non-crowded areas; at the local bar, I would gladly accept your free drink and then swiftly walk away. It’s not that I am a complete jerk (not completely), but there had been too many awkward social situations in which I felt trapped and could not leave quickly enough. I was turned off by the thought of putting myself “out there”. By using eHarmony, I knew that at the very least, the people with whom they matched me would have important similarities to my core values (and if I didn’t like them, I could make them go away with a click of the mouse).
I should also mention that when I’m wearing heels, I am well over 6 feet tall. I would close any match shorter than 6 feet without reading a thing about them. One day it was pointed out to me by a friend that the average height of a male is somewhere between 5’8” and 5’10” and that by only selecting people based on height, I am excluding a large proportion of other users. Trying to keep this in mind, I would still close people shorter than 6 feet (what do my perfect-height friends know, anyway?) The third day on the site, I was matched with someone who lived in Brentwood, which was just up the street from my Santa Monica apartment. The catch: he was 5’7”. But he also liked movies and his profile made me laugh out loud, so I wrote him a message clearly stating that even though I was far too tall for him, I would like to be his friend. I think you can see where this is going. Six months later we were living together; it’s been three wonderful years. I am very lucky.
So what changed? He certainly did not get taller, that’s for sure. What happened was that I started to see the bigger picture. I lost focus on the height and my priorities were not so cut-and-dry.
I’m not the only one who has experienced good fortune by changing my outlook; take a look at Steve Jobs. When he was initially fired from Apple, he started Pixar. If J.K. Rowling would have accepted constant rejection, we wouldn’t have Harry Potter. If Jonah hadn’t run away to New York, Tom Hanks would have never met Meg Ryan! These seemingly lucky people were able to make fancy lemonade out of lemons. But how?