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Monday, May 8, 2023

Rewinding the Tape

Because my wife and I have always enjoyed meeting new people and entertaining, over the years we've interacted socially and shared meals with a fair number of other couples. If you and your current partner share our tendency to be social, what percentage of your interactions would you estimate have been "one-offs"? Set aside the reason(s) you interacted socially one time only with another couple and never repeated the experience. Just rewind your tape and see how many faces appear just once.    

When I recently asked my wife this same question about our experiences, her answer - 50% - genuinely surprised me. I'd had 30% or so in my head. Then I began rewinding forty-five years of tape, four primary residences, people we met via our jobs, or via our daughter as she was growing up, or via our hobbies. Couples either my wife or I guessed we might enjoy seeing socially, a guess sometimes made based on a pleasant interaction or conversation or two with one person or the other from the couple. And as the tape continued spooling back, my wife's higher estimate began matching up frequently with a question: What were we thinking when we decided on that particular get together? The tape revealed more than a few moments of awkward, unsatisfying, or just plain dull interactions at restaurants, in our home or another couple's home, or .. well, pick a location. Any of this sound familiar to anyone? Care to adjust your original estimate of the percentage of one-offs? 

Still, there's good news to report. Even if my wife's higher estimate of one-offs with other couples is closer to accurate than mine, we're way ahead of the game. After all, if we've meaningfully connected 50% of the time over forty-five years, consider how many comfortable (vs. awkward), satisfying (vs. unsatisfying), stimulating (vs. dull) interactions that means we've had. Besides, what would have been the alternative? Not trying to connect with new people? Living an insular life? I pass. I'm thrilled with our .500 batting average.               


  1. Good morning, Pat. I must have read, and re-read, this post a few times trying to remember over the course of my life what percentage would be close to what has happened. And, each time I keep coming back to the same reality - that for each of my relationships - friend/girlfriend/wife(wives) it has usually been 50% or so each time. And while I'm ok with those percentages, I would have thought, or maybe it's hoped, that it would have been fewer one-offs. But, it's all good.
    Be well,

    1. Hey Bob; Thanks for the comment. If indeed you're at the 50% mark, I stand by what I said, i.e., .500 is a very respectable batting average. Hey, the greatest hitters of all time (e.g., Ted Williams) were only in the mid .300s, right? And they make it into the hall of fame.