In an earlier post, I discussed how research on professional networking can sometimes apply to the search for a romantic partner. An additional finding in that piece said that successful networkers had a higher sense of purpose—for example, they saw their efforts as being on behalf of their firm or clients.
I left that insight out of the post because I couldn’t think of a way that dating could have a “higher purpose,” beyond giving your parents hope that grandchildren might happen one day.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this perspective shift can apply to anything. Any time two people meet, there is the potential for great things—ideas, understanding, community. Even a bad date can provide useful insights—you notice that your date was rude to the waiter and vow to always be gracious to others.
Rochelle, 38, from Seattle didn’t find her soulmate when she went on a date with a theology professor last year, but she did make a good friend and discovered an interest in religion. “I will be attending his church services and community lectures on occasion when he transitions from being a university professor to a pastor this summer,” she said.
Evan, 27, from Chicago went on a great date with a beautiful medical student who shared his love of Ryan Adams. “[She was] an extremely kind, warm person. We never had a second date, but she was the inspiration for one of the characters in the novella I’m working on,” he said.
Another reader dated a man who had an extremely intriguing job. “I thought [the job] would be perfect for me once I had the right credentials,” she said. “Years later after grad school, I reached out to that guy to randomly see if they were hiring at the place he works—and two weeks later a spot opened up and I started working there! It was my dream job!”
Have you ever received an unexpected benefit from a date?
Sara Eckel is a personal coach and the author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. You can get a free bonus chapter of her book at saraeckel.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. Ask her any questions here.