This article previously appeared in Glamour and was reprinted here with permission.
My friend goes to a bar, drinks himself blackout, and wakes up the next morning—disoriented, still drunk—in a stranger’s bed, learning her name only when he spies it on a piece of mail while creeping out the door.
Two years later, they’re happily engaged.
Maybe that’s not a fairy-tale story of boy meets girl, but just ask those two: When it comes to love, we’ll take it how we can get it.
Where are you searching for love? And what does that say about you? To find out, recall the people you’ve dated. Place each person in one (and only one!) of the following five categories:
- School: Classmates and people you’ve met through classmates.
- Work: Coworkers and people you’ve met through coworkers.
- Online: All sites and apps.
- Bar: (Or club or “lounge,” although I’ve never understood what that is.) This includes strangers—as in, not connections from School or Work—at one of these places.
- Miscellaneous: Anyone not in categories one through four. Includes strangers you meet at any of (but not limited to) the following: stores and shops; hobbies; concerts and music festivals; sporting events; travel; family connections; farmers’ markets, clothing swaps, underground vegan knitting clubs (BROOKLYN, STAND UP); literally everything else.
Now place each past romance in a category and tally each category’s total. Cue Jeopardy! theme.
Questions? SHHH OTHER PEOPLE AREN’T FINISHED. (But really, just post them in the comments; there are definitely exceptions in this remarkably unscientific survey.) End Jeopardy! theme. Kgreat! Let’s rank our categories from most prevalent to least. Here’s mine:
- Miscellaneous: includes an artist collective, doctor’s appointment, cupcake shop, and eye-gazing party, for example.
- School: will fall as my college friends all eventually date each other, running our pool of incestuousness awkward then boring then dry.
- Work: will climb because all my coworkers have single roommates.
- Bar: low because alcohol makes me sleepy, hungry, and off balance. No one wants to date a hairy toddler.
- Online: low because I deactivated my OK Cupid. My profile portrayed me as both a self-righteous creep and, interestingly, a really bad writer.
What Your Results Say About You:
There are no right or wrong answers, only potential positives and negatives to each category. If the following are in your top two categories, here’s what that may say about you:
The good: You’re utilizing your strong ties (classmates) and weak ties (their friends). Makes Tinder and randos obsolete.
The bad: Maybe you’re limiting yourself. Twenty-six and still hooking up with your high-school friends? Time to diversify the ‘ol romantic portfolio.
The good: Well done with more strong and weak ties, without the incestuous history and potentially regressive leanings of School.
The bad: If you’re dating coworkers, don’t: it’s a trap! (Elf is a rare—and fictional—exception.)
The good: Your options are unrivaled in convenience and volume, especially an advantage if you work 400 hours per week.
The bad: Maybe you’re limiting your offline options. I definitely did, standing in a corner scrolling through matches on my phone. “Why can’t I just meet people in real life?????” I’d lament to myself like an idiot.
The good: You’re going out and, more importantly, making yourself available to new people. Haterz gonna hate: don’t listen to everything people say about meeting someone in a “place like that.”
The bad: If your Sundays are clouded by a hangover of regret, maybe listen to everything people say about meeting someone in a “place like that.”
The good: As someone’s Twitter bio once said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” You’re departing from familiarity! Disrupting routine! Actually doing things! Challenge and stimulate yourself; you’ll find people who’ll do the same.
The bad: Beware randos. As 30 Rock taught us, “Never go with a hippie to a second location.” Those underground vegan knitting clubs are full of them.
What is your ranking? In your relationships, how did you meet the right person? What does this say about you? Any other factors/places to consider that I didn’t mention?
Image via IMDB