We’re all dating each other

My life has been consumed by lots of “real world” things lately: dealing with realtors, packing for a move, making a budget, shopping for business casual clothing, finding a roommate, and on and on.  In this weird lull when I’m living in between homes and my belongings are stuffed into suitcases and stacked in boxes, there isn’t much time for dating.  And yet, at the same time, dating is all that I seem to be doing.

Maybe this is an obvious observation to make, but it seems like dating—if not the act of going on a date, definitely the processes/emotions involved in dating—is a part of almost every human interaction.  The same behaviors predominate.  When we go to job interviews or meet a group of our colleagues, we think hard about how to make a good, lasting first impression.  There’s a distinct pouring on of charm—dare I say flirtation?—that goes along with any conversation, formal or informal, that we have with another person.  For a relationship to work—and here I mean any relationship, be it romantic, friendly, professional, whatever—there has to be the right element of chemistry to ensure that things progress smoothly.  Inside jokes, complementary talents, trust…it seems like, when it comes down to it, we’re all dating each other, all the time.

I’ve been thinking about this frequently given the fact that I’m trying to locate a roommate.  I never considered, before, how odd it is to live with someone totally platonically.  There’s a certain element of “making Our Home” that is part and parcel of moving in with someone, whether or not you happen to be newlyweds.  There’s an intimacy to letting someone else into your space, sharing a bathroom, buying milk together.  There’s compromise and coexistence and chores to divide.  And it’s hard to find people that you can do these things with without wanting to tear your hair out.  Screening the emails I get in response to my Craigslist ad feels strangely like being a contestant on The Bachelorette.

Okay, okay, that is a slight exaggeration.  But you know what I mean, right?  Networking = dating. Kind of, anyway.

But it’s not the same!  The butterflies I get in my stomach when I send out my résumé are not the same as the ones I get when the guy I care for grabs my hand when we’re walking home.  The giddiness of having a crush is completely different from the excitement of a promotion or good feedback on your job performance.  And I’ve heard that making out isn’t suitable for the workplace.

So while I’m getting all of this practice, I suppose, it’s nothing like the real thing.  Looks like my days on the prowl are only just starting…


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