Liz and Kate are sisters, both attractive twenty-something women. Liz is the older of the two and is happily married. Kate, on the other hand, had recently experienced what she called the “longest run of lousy luck in the history of love” — an alliterative way to say she was lonely and displeased about it.
One afternoon, the women went window shopping at their favorite mall, mostly to take Kate’s mind off her inability to land a first date, much less start a romantic relationship with someone new. Kate spent the hours trudging from one store to the next, emotionally trapped somewhere between despondency and despair. Liz tried to cheer her up, but like Eeyore, the sad-sack donkey in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, Kate was determined to feel sorry for herself: “Men never notice her no matter what she does…All the good ones are taken…Maybe romantic fireworks only happen to other people.”
Liz realized that Kate suffered from an acute case of unrealistic expectations. She was growing tired of waiting for the fairy tale scene when Prince Charming arrives on his steed to sweep her away. Liz understood that real life romance is more subtle than that, but she held her tongue and did her sisterly best to commiserate. Until later, that is, when they had decided to call it a day.
On the way to the exit, they passed by a handsome young man selling handmade perfumes from a cart in the center of the mall. “Free sample for a lovely lady?” he called to them, his attention riveted on Kate. “No, thanks,” she mumbled, barely looking his way.
Liz stopped in her tracks. “Kate, you are my sister and I love you, but if you don’t try that guy’s perfume, so help me I will leave you here.” She jangled her car keys to signal she meant it.
Kate turned around in irritation. She looked from Liz to the young man. He smiled. The gloom lifted. No, they didn’t fall in love at first sight and live happily ever after. But in that pivotal moment, Kate got the message: Romantic opportunity is rarely accompanied by orchestra music and cinematic grandeur. Most often it arrives in ordinary moments. To notice them, you’ve got to be paying attention and be prepared. Here’s how:
Keep your eyes open.
The longer you search for a relationship without success, the more vulnerable you are to seeing only the emptiness in your life and not the romantic potential. When you catch yourself shuffling through the day with your head down like a refugee — snap out of it! Look around. What — and whom — you see, right under your nose, may surprise you.
Keep your best foot forward.
In every moment, behave as if the person you’d most like to meet is watching. Let your appearance, demeanor, and speech reflect the attractive person you want them to see.
Keep negative thoughts out of the equation.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand this: when you expect nothing good to happen, that’s likely what you’ll get. And when you expect a delightful opportunity to appear at any moment, eventually it probably will. Exchange any pessimistic thoughts for positive, hopeful ones—and see if true love doesn’t come calling.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting some sizzle in a new romance. Just keep in mind that even the hottest fire comes from a tiny spark.