Stories in Success, Part I

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After years of off-again, on-again relationship, dates that didn’t go anywhere, and, yes, online dating, one of my best friends finally seems to be in a great relationship. They’re approaching a year together, with no end in sight.

They happened to meet at a series of company events, but they both have online dating profiles on the same sites. Naturally, one might wonder: why didn’t they meet sooner?

The answer is that they filtered one another out. For one thing, the guy - Steve - is a good twenty years older than his girlfriend, Lisa. Though Lisa was open to dating older men, twenty years was a bit out of her comfort zone. For another, Steve has children. Lisa wasn’t interested in having kids. However, dating an older man means that the children are grown and out of the house, and for Lisa, that’s a horse of a different color.

On Steve’s part, he too had filtered Lisa out due to her age, assuming he wouldn’t have anything in common with someone that much younger. He had also filtered out anyone with cats, as he’s allergic. In an odd twist of fate, Lisa’s pet cat had passed on earlier, and she had no plans to get another, but she hadn’t thought to update her profile.

Despite their “differences,” a quick perusal of their profiles would have revealed that they still had much in common - everything from their tastes in pop culture to their political opinions. And while there are differences, they aren’t on the opposite ends of the spectrum. If they’d seen one another’s profiles, they might well have messaged each other.

But they didn’t. They’d each filtered the other out, and met solely on chance.

There’s nothing wrong with using the filter tools of an online dating site; they can help cut through the white noise and help you make sense of the sheer number of options. But if you’ve become familiar with your site, and you feel like you’ve perused all your current options, it might be worth experimenting with peeling back your filters, one at a time. What if you didn’t place a restriction on body type? What if you didn’t worry about a height difference?

There are exceptions to every rule - but identifying those exceptions is still a task left up to the human heart, not an algorithm. Severe search options clean up your list of options, but occasionally it doesn’t hurt to allow a little mess.

Related Article: Stories in Success, Part II