Found the best coffee shop in town? Then that’s where you’re going for your caffeine hit.
Got a certain band’s album on repeat? Then you’re going to see them in concert when they play in a city near you.
You find the best lunch spot, or the best gym, (the best relationship coach ?) or the best place for happy hour, and that’s where you go without fail.
We’re creatures of habit. We trust in what we know.
But when it comes to love, those habits can hold us back.
When you’re a regular anywhere, you get to know people and people get to know you. You feel comfortable. You can relax. Socializing is a breeze.
But sticking to what you know can also shrink your world…
Erasing romantic opportunities before you have a chance to notice them.
We tend to think that we see what’s in front of us. If a gorilla ran through a basketball court mid-game, surely we’d notice it.
But that’s not always the case.
Instead, we see what we expect to see. The amount of information bombarding our senses is too great for our brains to take in and process. So our brains filter out anything that’s irrelevant.
In fact, a famous study found that, if we were asked to keep track of who was passing the ball, only half of us would notice a gorilla running through a basketball court.
What might you be missing in your everyday environment, simply because you don’t expect to see it there?
Are you missing chances to connect with interesting, good-looking, available men?
Let’s say you’re standing next to your best friend, chatting animatedly about the movie you just saw as you wait in line for a burger. There’s a guy standing a few feet away, glancing at you periodically, waiting for a break in your conversation so he can come over and introduce himself.
But you only see what you expect to see: your friend.
You don’t see what you don’t expect to see: someone you’ve never met before, hoping to talk to you.
You grab your burger and move on, never imagining that you just missed your potential dream guy.
How can you break that habit and start opening your eyes to the romantic opportunities all around you?
SURPRISE YOUR EYES
Many travelers remark on how easy it is to meet people when they’re traveling.
Conversations with strangers seem more memorable than conversations with people back home. Colors seem more vivid, scents more potent.
When you step off a plane into a completely unfamiliar place, your senses are on high alert. You know to expect the unexpected. You’re alert to every nuance of your new environment.
No wonder it’s easier to start a conversation with someone standing next to you at a train platform, in line, or at a tourist spot. You were probably looking around, taking in the experience, which made you more likely to catch a stranger’s gaze. (How often do you notice the people sitting next to you on your daily commute?)
You don’t have to travel to have that experience, though.
All you have to do is try something new.
If you regularly go out for coffee, set yourself a goal of trying all the coffee shops in your area.
If you enjoy hiking, set yourself a goal of discovering all the trails within an hour of where you live.
If you enjoy music, set yourself a goal of attending all the live music events you can, even if it’s not a kind of music you particularly enjoy.
The goal is not to find the next best coffee shop or hiking trail, but rather to startle your brain out of complacency.
You’re used to having your expectations confirmed. Start proving to yourself that there’s a lot you’ve been missing.
Not to mention that, if you haven’t met Mr. Perfect in the places you normally frequent, then it makes sense to look for him elsewhere.
New experiences help you meet new people. When you try something new, you’re much more likely to ask someone next to you to explain what’s going on or show you where to go. You might get an instant invitation to join their social group.
So break out of your comfort zone. Shake up your routine. Let novelty open your eyes.
If The One walks past you this morning on the way to work, you don’t want to be so focused on the same old view that you miss him.