By Austin Lytle
I recently had the opportunity to make the riskiest assist a wingman can make: the blind date. While I’ll admit the plan was hatched partly out of my own desires to perform social experiments, I genuinely felt these two parties would have a connection if brought together. The details of how the night ended will remain locked into the coffers of whatever room Matt Jared hoards those things in, but from what I hear, the night went well. I want this post to be about how anyone can go about taking social risks, no matter whatthe situation; putting any negatives of the situation into perspective.
Connections in our lives are made and missed in moments every day. Decisions like whether to leap into an overheard conversation, layout a lame pickup line, or enter into shared commentary on that biker who only wears thongs, there is no lack of these opportunities. To take advantage of these fleeting moments inherently requires risk – a highly intimidating prospect for most mere-mortals. So to make these social interactions easier, we employ techniques to ease the anxiety, like bringing in a friend or taking backthree or four tequila shots. However, sometimes it requires forcing it. Enter the blind date.
Sure, it conjures up crappy rom-coms or other non-bro shit, but it takes plenty of courage for the subjects, eh participants, to accept the offer to meet. It even takes a bit of risk taking for the broker. From where I sat, pulling it off made it possible for a young lion and lioness to find each other in the vast dating wilderness. Screw it up and those lions end up eating you. So invoking my inner Goose, I set up the larger half of the bro-journey with an incredibly sweet and attractive past colleague. These two friends, albeit witha bit of nudging, accepted the offer and they decided to put themselves on the highway to outside their comfort zones and take this risk.
The decision was made early on that I would not allow them to see pictures of each other, nor know each others names, given our social stalker-ish society. I felt this was the most crucial part of getting it right, in that they would truly have to go in blind and allowing themselves to be just a bit vulnerable. The location was the always fantastic East Side Showroom and the time Friday, 7:30. Each were given a code phrase, James Bond style and a one sentence description was sent one hour before the met. From there it was up to them to show up and make it happen. Both were nervous, but I could only show them where the water was and they would have to decide what to do with it. Like I said, I heard it went well. At least I would consider my first blind date set-up a success.
(Bonus! Matt’s description: “6’6” and from Ohio, probably the largest human in the room.”)
The immediate results of the evening were not as important as what each could gain from it for future social situations. If we think of having the confidence to take risk as a muscle, it takes exercise to really build it up. Of course too little and you’re at home watching past Batman movies, too much and you’re a cocky-douche. Thus the success of a blind date is not that it could introduce you to your soul-mate, but that it allows the participants to lower their guards and really get to know each other – a skill that makes future social interactions much easier to tackle.
There is no doubt for most of us that it takes a forced social interaction or bringing along a friend to make connecting easier. Lowering our guard is very tough prospect. This has served us well evolutionary in many situations, but we don’t do it enough. Our personalities are beautiful and worth sharing with others. While it may not always result in the desired outcome, what’s the worst that could happen in the moment? They walk away, say no, or worse, they actually enjoy the connection made with you.