Disrupting the Familiar

I recently had a cup of tea with a friend from San Francisco who was in a pretty bad place in his personal life. He’s dated a fair amount and for better or for worse can’t seem to get to shake the fact that he still isn’t in a relationship. He was pretty depressed talking to me and although I have no formal training as a psychologist, I was able to see the BIG PICTURE immediately and help him!

Sometimes when something is really bad in our lives, it feels like a major weight holding us back, polluting our entire existence. When this dark cloud keep looming, it is hard to see the end of the rainbow, right from wrong, good from bad, and how to get out. Remember that although it might be a little embarrassing or scary, it is extremely healthy to talk to a confidant and not hold everything in.

This friend has been running in the same social circles for the last decade plus and has been overexposed on Match.com, as well as other online sites, for many years now. Into addition to hyper exposure on the top 5 dating sites, he has his favorite “go-to” places for coffee, happy hours, and take-out food mostly within a 5 mile radius of his home in San Francisco. In the last few years, some eligible women have started to have point fingers since he always seems to be out and about and without a date or wing man. This can be perceived as odd to some. Why is he still single and out and about gallivanting around?  

We all know that San Francisco is a very small city. This sort of recognition wouldn’t happen as easily in LA or NYC, however it is very common for some people to “stand out” in our beloved city by the Bay. Here’s why!


Too many people complain about the scene in San Francisco and I hear all the time that the same people are at the same events and locations all the time. Guess what? The people whining about the same people are exactly one of those people they are complaining about!  These tend to be social men and women who find pleasure in frequenting all the charity events in the city and find relief in running into their friends at these events. I used to be one of those girls with my checklist of 3 parties to go to on a Friday and Saturday and trying to squish a date or two in between. For me, personally, after awhile, it started to feel like one giant fraternity party.

I told my friend to look at his life differently. I argued that instead of viewing everyone out there as the bad guys pointing fingers at him because he is still single and searching, to instead consider that he has been his own worst enemy. If my friend saw that his migration pattern was less than 5 miles from his home and had acknowledged that he had never considered any other geographic locations to meet people, he would have realized that this is his biggest problem.  I told him that if he really wants change his life, he needs proactively to create that change and SHAKE UP his all too familiar routines because they are NOT working for him.

I actually gave him a SHOCK when I told him he shouldn’t hang out in the Marina and Cow Hollow districts for 6 months. I know he didn’t want to hear this but, at the same time, he knew this is most likely what he needed to do to reinvent himself and achieve his personal goals.

This theory of disrupting the familiar can be applied to anything in life. I also told him to consider locating a fun wing-man to hang out with and with whom he can head to parties. For women, it is less threatening – one of the social purposes of the wing-man is to provide his buddy support and to look out for one another.  These are just a few of the ideas I shared with my friend and I am confident he will not only see a hugely positive change in his life but hopefully feel empowered and excited for a more fruitful 2011.

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