Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Your future girlfriend could be your friends’ friend’s friend.

Photo by Evan Koester, check out his photo blog which will make you wish you were in a higher income bracket.

I had a realization the other day about the moments in my life where I really connected with a woman and we proceeded to date for months or years.

It wasn’t through meeting a stranger at a bar. Nor did it involve getting a waitress’ number at The Yardhouse.

It involved the people I know introducing me to new people, hobbies and events. Through these social connections, I met girls in an environment where they were open to having real conversations, without their defenses up high. In a word, what has helped me establish real connections with women is: Communities.

Community: an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location.

Communities are your groups of friends, colleagues, alumni, classmates or any social group. Use these communities to experience new activities, and often while doing so, you'll successfully meet amazing women. I advise every man, woman and child to:

Build your community, fill it with valued individuals and then actively engage their communities.

If you do this, your social circle will flourish. Find a balance between spending time with long-time, trusted friends and new, exciting personalities. Try putting them together in groups and see what happens. If anyone asks you to attend an event, say “yes!” and try to go to as many events as possible, especially if the event is a house party, which will cost you little more than a 6-pack to enter a buffet of people with whom you have a halfway-decent connection.

Even when your energy is low, and everything in your body screams to stay home or end the night early, I recommend pushing yourself to try something new. You never know who you’ll meet when you’re with a community of new faces, as I discovered with a group of American friends crashing a graduation party in Italy.

Photo by Eric Horwitz Some of the best communities I’ve ever been in have had attractive European women with a penchant for gelato.

In the winter of 2006, I found myself in an uncomfortable predicament in Padova, Italy. I was in my second semester of studying abroad, and that Wednesday night in the city’s main piazza I had upset Linda, an American girl who had a crush on me. Our Italian friend Federico had invited us to a friend of a friend’s graduation party, and during the long walk to the party I felt ostracized from my American classmates.

The party was in a bland, darkly-lit room in a dormitory complex. As people mingled, I was bored and drifted over to the DJ, who in this case was a skinny, bearded Italian on a laptop. In the middle of our conversation I felt a hand lean on my shoulder. I turned to my right to find a girl with long black hair, olive-skin and a wry smile leaning on me and the DJ.

(translated from Italian to English for your convenience)

Me: “Hello?”

Her: (surprised) “Hi! Oh, I thought you were someone else.”

Me: “Really? I’m Eric, you?”

Her: (impressed by my Hollywood accent speaking her language) “I’m Giulia, Where are you from?”

Me: “I live in LA and am studying in Padova for the next few months.”

Her: “Wow, the city of angels!”

Me: “So whose party is this for?”

Her: (points to DJ) “Him. He just graduated.”

Me: “Congratulations! So how do Italians celebrate graduation?”

I then enlisted Guilia’s help in translating the graduate’s “Papiro,” a document scrawled on a poster board detailing incriminating stories typically cruel and sexual in nature, exaggerated for effect. An Italian graduate reads his papiro out loud to his peers the moment he gets his thesis grade from his professors. Within 5 minutes, his nice suit is off and his friends cover him with toilet paper, shaving cream, diapers, bags, even a raw chicken in a hat, as the helpless grad is forced to share his life on paper to his friends and entire family. Every time he messes up reading, his friends pour Prosecco down his throat as everyone laughs, cheers and takes many black-mail worthy photos.

Photo by Eric Horwitz: An Italian graduate reads her papiro and downs her drink while covered with a maid outfit, shaving cream and much more.

I would love to introduce this tradition to America. Throwing your graduation cap in the air just doesn’t cut it.

As Giulia helped me translate, we coyly got to know each other. I first noticed her energy, that radiance that upbeat people emit. It’s in their walk and their smile, and especially their voice, which bursts with enthusiasm. She had intelligent eyes, and I was smitten.

As the party ended she encouraged me to wait for her downstairs before we went out for a drink at “Highlander,” the local Irish pub. I met up with my American friends, and could feel the awkward glare from Linda. Five minutes seemed to take an hour before Giulia met me downstairs, and as we headed out together I gave a rather cruel wave to my group.

------

I later discovered that the graduate was Giulia’s ex, and that she had made me wait downstairs so it wouldn’t look like she left the party with a random American she had just met.

Giulia and I hit it off, and dated until my trip ended. To this day, we still stay in touch.

-----

If I had not mustered the will to go to a party that I had no desire to attend, I would never have met Giulia. I learned from then on to say “yes” to invitations to almost any party, provided I could fit it in my schedule.

Everyone in LA is “busy” and it’s quite unfashionable to have an open schedule. I suggest doing an experiment by saying “yes” to all the invitations that come your way in the next week. Obviously you can’t be at two places at the same time or drop down big bucks on every event, but make a simple effort to respond “yes” to that plethora of facebook events begging for your company. If nothing is happening then create an event. If people enjoy your company and you choose something fun, inexpensive and, most importantly, UNIQUE, chances are people will attend or at least appreciate the invitation.

Let me know what happens, because I'm sure you will have stories to tell. So say “yes” to that alumni dinner or the friend who invited you to a hip-hop class. Stay active in your community of friends, and the community in your city. We are all attached to so many communities: through school, colleagues, friends and our hobbies, so go seek these groups and see what new experiences await.

In the next post I’ll talk about how to create your community, which consists of sub-groups, while not spending much money and bringing in new people.

5 comments:

Geoff Lewis said...

Very helpful and practical. Reminds me of the quote, 90% of success is just showing up.

Eric Horwitz said...

That's a great quote from one of the great filmmakers who specialized in showing the ups and downs of dating:

Woody Allen "Eighty percent of success is showing up."

Tahiti said...

Eric, you're an amazing writer with great style I thought I was reading an article on CNN. Thanks for the blog, your advice is right on the ball on how to find quality lasting relationships. More than that, creating a rich social network is healthy in itself. Daniel Goleman described these ties in a book titled, "Social Intelligence" as our social allies. Having positive relationship in our lives is beneficial to our health.

Ash said...

great advice, eric. your writing is really maturing, and i love being able to see that!

that being said, i am quite sure that your "american friends" love you dearly and never meant to ostracize you from the group. xo

Nicolle said...

Your future boyfriend could be your sister's friend's brother... :) In other words, your advice in practice!

Post a Comment