Forward or Sideways?

Last year, I mused a bit about the usual need for an endgame in the initial stages of a relationship.

That spawned some interesting discussion and, in the past twelve months, has been a near constant point of wonder in my own interactions. Every time I have one of those metro crushes or other passing fancy, I have no real incentive to take the next common steps and talk to them, get their number, things like that.

What do I do instead of moving along the “normal” forward path? I move sideways.

Quite often, I rely on random meetings and repeated path-crossings to inspire me to really enter into a relationship (romantic or otherwise) with someone. I’ve found that if the same person keeps showing up, there’s a good chance I have a bit in common with them. So, I move sideways, allowing those random meetings and re-meetings to happen on their own, without actively pursuing them.

Now, this isn’t the only thing I rely on. There’s no question that I think it’s also a good idea to actively meet people–heck, if you feel inspired, run with it! But for more general circumstance, waiting until the second or third time someone crosses your path can be a good way to manage an ever-growing number of friends and acquaintances.

Moving forward, ever forward, can become a burden. The constant push can burn us right out of meeting people at all. If we’re constantly looking for the next romantic conquest or the next beneficial business relationship, we may not dedicate the proper amount of time to getting to know each of these new people.

Taking some time to slow a breakneck forward-moving pace, by just slowing down or by moving sideways, can allow for more depth to develop in relationships. I’ve found that when it comes to moving sideways, depth comes more easily–mostly because you know there are already some common habits to build on.

Moving sideways and letting serendipity guide your meetings for a while may be an enlightening experience. It can make you more aware of your patterns and of the people around you. More than once that ten-minute-crush from a month ago has shown back up another time or two.

And when I do finally find the motivation to break the ice, to advance in the relationship process, to actively pursue a connection… there’s more partially shared history to build on.

“Hey, were you here when that dude totally tripped on the rug and dropped everything?” “It’s a whole lot more crowded here tonight than it was the last time I noticed you here.” “Did they change the traffic pattern in that intersection?”

While all of those can sound like cheesy pickup lines, if the person you’re talking to has actually seen you around before (not a sure thing, of course) the approach may not be taken as a line. Even better if you’re not actually using it as a line.

Tell me: How do you normally approach new people? How do you prefer to be approached? Have you ever movedĀ  sideways before going forward? Why?

  • Janis

    I move sideways when there isn’t really a gut interest. And in that case… things rarely come from it (from my end, anyway).

  • Janis

    I move sideways when there isn’t really a gut interest. And in that case… things rarely come from it (from my end, anyway).

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