the phenomenon of proximity

I took a social psych class when I was in school and i remember a lecture where the instructor asked the class (those who were married, engaged, or had ever been in a serious relationship) to think about how they met. He waited a few seconds to let that sink in and he began to explain about percentages, statistics and equations that showed a direct link to relationships and the physical proximity of the participants of said relationship when the opportunity for the relationship to begin occurred.

ok, I can’t remember exactly what he said but it was something like that. Basically, he was saying the possibility for a relationship to begin (be it a romantic, a business, a friendly, antagonistic relationship, etc) depended on how close in physical proximity the two people were to each other.

He then proceed to tell everyone in the class to stand up and change seats according to a plan he devised. He had the even number rows move forward three places and the odd number rows move back two places. Then the even numbered columns moved left three places and the odd number columns move right two places.

He then said something to the effect of, “there… I have changed your destiny and who you will decide to pair up with from this class, whether it be for romantic or study purposes. I have taken over fate’s thrown.”


The Amazon lowered the boom on me, saying I’m a really sweet guy, she’d love to continue e-mailing and foster a friendship but the distance between Nebraska and Texas is a problem for her to begin anything romantic. She’s met someone in Omaha.

bummer, huh.

oh well, you win some, you lose some. The grand eHarmony experiment ends in a couple of weeks.

9 responses to “the phenomenon of proximity

  1. Wow this is the second online dating post I’ve read today.

    I don’t think that proximity is needed but that the eventuality of proximity is important.

  2. bummer, yep. But, if I recall, you were ambivalent from the get-go, so roll that into your proximity theory. Proximity + Level of Interest = something. … or not.

    I’ll keep humming the Indigo Girls song in your honor, “where there is one, let there be two” (or some such).

  3. Oh, what a bummer to hear about the Amazon! Long distance relationships are so tough. I hope this doesn’t mean a complete end to your experiment with online dating.

    Also, the story from your class is really interesting to me. Two of my very closest friendships were cemented by my sitting next to those friends in school.

  4. I’d definitely agree that most relationships are relationships of proximity. A little distressing given how increasingly isolated and transient we (as individuals and families) are becoming.

  5. hi B-mom. I think you’re right… “the eventuality” and perhaps she knew that wasn’t going to happen.

    uuMomma. :)yes, you’re right. i was a little on the fence about her from the beginning but as I’ve gotten to know her she is a really, really neat person.

    Hey Shelby! I often think of that story when I’m standing in line at the grocery store or sitting at the DMV or waiting in the bank line.

    Hi Sofia. My stint in the military was a time when I felt the transient idea you bring up. Friends and neighbors I knew, I immediately lost contact with once new orders came in and duty stations changed.

  6. Sorry it didn’t work with the Amazon.

    Once upon a time, I tried the e-harmony thing. I met someone who was almost but not quite exactly the opposite of what I wanted and needed. It ended badly. But it made me realize I really did want to go out, and spend time with someone again, so it wasn’t all bad.

    Now I find myself in love with someone three time zones away. Ack! How did that happen? I donno. But I think if it’s right, even obstacles the size of mountains don’t seem such a big deal, and if it’s wrong, the slightest inconvenience can make you turn else where.

    The right girl for you is going to be someone incredible. I know how special you are, and you just hafta keep the faith, get through these meanwhile pitfalls. The right one will come, and she’s gonna want you a million times more than any schlub in Omaha.

  7. wow, thanks Am… so sweet you are.
    [Deist blushes while looking down at his shoes]

  8. I’m sorry to hear about the Amazon. Even though your head was being practical about the whole thing, it still hurts the heart when that little spark of hope gets squashed.

    I concur with Amurin (I often do) that you deserve someone incredible and that it will happen for you eventually, and it will be freakin’ awesome.

  9. thanks LB… thank you for the ego boost. you’re sweet. And although my friend uuMomma is right that I was kinda on the fence about it… YES! it does hurt when one opens the door a little to hope and it closes right on your toes.

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