What if “the one that got away” slipped through your grasp before you even realized it?
“On any given day, you could walk right by your true love and never even know it. You could sit next to each other on the subway and never exchange a word,” says Didier Rappaport, founder of Happn — a new dating app that matches you with the people you see and run into every day.
And it’s scary how likely that is. Most of the time, we’re just ships that pass in the night to each other. Face down in our phones or buried in our routines, closed to the romantic possibilities that encircle us constantly.
The most terrifying possibility in love is not losing the one person you were meant to be with — it’s them never knowing you existed in the first place.
1. As unromantic as it sounds, finding true love is a numbers game.
Think about how hard it is just to find a halfway decent guy these days. There’s a reason the term is “the one.”
While the odds are slim that there is literally only one person you can live happily ever after with, it conveys just how rare true love is in this world.
Now think about how many people you pass by every single day. They vastly outnumber the people you’ve dated or even considered romantically in your life.
If you date 20 people in your life, but pass by 20,000 on your way to work every morning, which group do you think is more likely to contain your dream partner?
Think of finding “the one” as hitting the lottery. When it’s such a longshot to begin with, do you want 20 tickets, or 20,000?
Even I can do that math.
2. We’re psychologically wired to fall for the people we see every day.
It’s called the Mere-exposure Effect and it’s why coworkers so often fall in love, despite the potentially disastrous consequences.
In the simplest terms, “the more often a person is seen by someone, the more pleasing and likeable that person appears to be.”
Are you steeling glances at a cute guy you see all the time on the subway, only to quickly look away as you notice him notice you?
There’s a more-than-credible chance you may be growing on him, too.
3. People are more likely to form a relationship with someone who lives near them.
They say love isn’t an exact science, but that hasn’t stopped psychology researchers from trying.
Based on the findings of an MIT study, The Proximity Principle reveals that the closer they are, the harder they fall.
And most people on your commute are exactly that — people who live near you, work near you and travel with you.
What it comes down to is your chances are better with a person that’s within arm’s reach, instead of trying to force a long-distance relationship work.
Of course, there are many LDR love stories out there, but remember, we’re talking about a numbers game here. The odds are in your favor when you place your bets closer to home.
4. We tend to fall in love with people who are similar to ourselves.
You can call it a twisted form of narcissism, but the researchers would prefer you call it the Similarity Attraction Effect. Whoever said opposites attract was fooling themselves.
Simply put, the more a person is like us, the more we find them attractive. You’re off to a good start in terms of similarity with someone who lives in the same city, works the same hours and sees the same sights as you do every day.
Even before you’ve introduced yourself, you have shared stories about your community and “that crazy guy who sings to himself on the bus.”
5. It’s hard to approach strangers out of context.
The points above are considerable evidence that you could be bumping into “the one” every single day without realizing it.
But even if you’ve convinced yourself that the guy you see buying a latte at Starbucks at exactly 8:37 every morning is worth a shot, it’s so hard to initiate romantic intentions when people aren’t expecting it.
Sure, if you’re at the bar or browsing your online dating matches, it makes total sense. But it can feel so weird trying to flirt while sixteen impatient people stand behind you in line. “There’s just never the right opportunity,” says Happn founder Didier Rappaport.
There are so many ways that conversation could go awkwardly that it discourages you from trying in the first place.
And reducing your opportunities is not how you win at a numbers game.