Some Random Thoughts About People I Have Known or Met

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So in the spirit of challenging myself like when I was foolish enough to 5, pushups in one day , I decided I would compliment everyone I ran into for an entire day--even just in passing, whether I knew them or not, whether it seemed socially appropriate or not While that might sound easier than doing 5, pushups, for me it wasn't.

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I'm fairly shy and don't go out of my way to speak to people I don't know. You might even argue that I go out of my way not to speak to people I don't know. Challenges work best when you impose structure, helping you stay on track and reducing the temptation to lose resolve and rationalize that you should change your goal midstream. I was rolling the trash out to the street and saw my neighbor. She has a great collection of plants and flowers, so I said, "I'm always impressed by how beautiful your plants are. You have a real gift. I don't think I made her day, but I do think I helped get her day off to a good start.

Then I went for a quick walk on the beach. Since it's fall, many of the people I met were walking their dogs or throwing balls into the surf for them to retrieve. He smiled and I realized I had complimented his dog, not him. Although many dog owners don't see a difference So I followed up with, "She always seems so happy.

You must take really good care of her. So that's what I did. I told one man he had done an amazing job training his dog. I complimented a lady on what a great job she did grooming her dog. Then, off in the distance, I saw a fit, pretty, something young woman headed my way. No dog. No third person-ish thing to compliment. I didn't want to be that guy, that older guy who goes around randomly complimenting young women and comes off creepy and, well, icky. Then, from about 20 feet away, she made eye contact and smiled; not a half smile, not an automatic "good morning" smile, but a big, genuine smile.

I've always thought that was kind of rude. You seeming so happy and saying hi was really nice. I know: What I came up with was pretty lame. But I like to think she walked away feeling good about herself, if only for a moment or two, which was the whole point of the exercise. And I felt pretty good about myself, too, at least until I later led with, "Your daughter is really cute," only to be told, "Thank you, but he's a boy. Except for a few miscues, by this point I was rolling.

I had learned to quickly size people up and pick out something obvious to compliment: how they cared for their animals, how they landscaped their yards, even how they dressed. Yep: I even managed to whip out a, "That is such a pretty sweater--I wish I had your fashion sense.

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And let's just say that no one in a grocery store expects you to walk by and compliment them--not even the people who work there. And I wanted to give up. In some settings, it seemed, compliments are not just unexpected but also unwanted. But I decided to try one more time, but with a twist. I decided to ask for help, because asking for help is implicitly complimentary: If I ask you for help, that means you know something I don't know, can do something I can't do That's what I did.

I was in the seafood section and made eye contact with a something woman. She didn't smile or nod gulp! She actually seemed to enjoy it. So while I did have a couple tough moments, especially when I was standing in the checkout line behind an extremely frazzled father with three borderline out of control kids--the last thing he seemed to want was a random compliment--I made it out of the grocery store and through the parking lot with my compliment streak intact. On one hand, it was easier: Most people wear headphones when they work out, so that eliminated them from my challenge.

On the other hand, moving from bench to squat rack to machines to free weights meant at some point I ran into almost everyone who was at the gym.

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One guy was benching pounds for reps. Easy compliment. A woman was doing a split and then laying all the way forward on the mat. Another easy compliment. A guy jumped in and helped an apparent newcomer with his form on squats; presumptuous, yes, but also kind, since the way the guy was bending his back was a recipe for injury. It was probably about a month or two later that Jeremy realized he had fallen in love with me. I wasn't having it, though. For six months I think it was six months , he pursued me. He wasn't super aggressive, but he made it clear that he wanted to be with me. He didn't buy me flowers or gifts or anything.

He was just always there. When I needed something, he was there. When I needed a person to talk to, he was there. When I needed help moving, he was there. When I needed someone to walk me home, he was there. Jeremy likes to say that the moment he fell in love with me was the moment he realized that he 'wanted to see me tomorrow. Anyway, after I agreed to 'date' him.

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We went on, I think, one official 'date' and that was it. We were in it for the long haul. I was new in that church myself, but the church musician, a friend, who had introduced me to the church, also introduced me to Grant before the service, saying, 'Grant, I want you to meet a special lady. A month later, when he returned as guest speaker again, I sought him out during Fellowship after the service, and he said he'd like to get together to talk about writing. I invited him over for dinner don't remember now what I cooked , after dinner we had sex, and we never did get around to talking about writing.

More dates followed. Twice he dumped me because we were getting too close and it made him nervous, and twice he dumped me when an old girlfriend of his came back into the picture, but I won out in the long run — we've been living together for over a decade now. So, I started using video calls to screen dates beforehand. At first, I was hesitant because it meant a long-distance relationship which I thought was something I couldn't swing with my schedule. Three years later, we laugh at how great it was that traditional online dating was sucking for me.

I remember first seeing him and thinking that his eyes were beautiful and he had this really great sense of humor, but he also had this air about him that was really thoughtful. Our first conversation is documented [on his podcast] which is pretty cool. No flirting, even though I was totally crushing on him.

I was too shy to ask him out. I was really bored so I logged onto Instagram live and he was literally the only person who was watching my live feed. So I asked him out on Instagram Live. He wrote back yes. We still listen to the episode we met on. I'd just moved there for an undetermined amount of time and was feeling homesick. Someone had just gone 'shopping' meaning our pilot had just flown to the nearest city and brought back provisions for us; there were no stores inside the park , and brought me back a box of wine which I proceeded to drink while perusing through my OkCupid account to remind me why I had no reason to rush back home.

After scanning through a few profiles I happily passed out. I woke up the next morning to a lovely email from my now-husband. We started emailing back and forth, then G-chatting, then WhatsApp-ing, and eventually daily Skype calls. Keep in mind, I was 13 hours ahead of him so we were always chatting at odd hours. At times he could hear the elephants and lions outside my hut while we were talking! It didn't take long before I knew there was something special there and much to my surprise I'd found something worth leaving my beloved Tanzania for.

I left in February and arrived two days before his birthday. He met me at the airport with a bouquet of flowers We've been married just over three years now and just bought our first home in Central New York! He was moving back to London and was going to stop in Iceland for a few days on his way back. I invited myself and we had an awesome five days exploring the country. On the way to the airport, we stopped at the Blue Lagoon and while we were enjoying our last few hours in Iceland, he pointed to a guy who was super jacked with a gold chain necklace and said, 'That dude's definitely from Brooklyn.

I said bye to my ex at the airport, hopped on my plane back to NYC and who am I sitting next to? Despite not being my 'type,' we started dating, and a few months later I told him the story of how we saw him at the Blue Lagoon and then realized that I didn't remember him ever wearing that chain since that day. He looked like he had seen a ghost and told me that while he was standing in the Blue Lagoon, he asked his cousin, who he had tagged along on a random business trip with, what he thought the chain said about him and decided that he didn't like the message it sent.


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He took it off in the locker room after wearing it since he was 14 years old and never put it on again! He also was supposed to be sitting further back in the plane and at the last minute switched his seat, which happened to be next to me. Five years later, we're married and 39 weeks pregnant, waiting for our first daughter to be born!

He was already serving notice when I joined and left after a month. We, probably, only said 'hi' to each other a couple of times. I'd love to say fate brought us together, but it was actually Facebook! Yep, we were Facebook friends for some reason. Work brought us to the same city five years later, and one day he pinged me to say he regularly read my posts and opinions on politics, feminism, etc.

We discovered we had a lot in common. Before we even knew it, we were texting and calling each other every day. We started dating a couple of months later and we have been married for three months now. I facilitated their late-night rendezvous. Then he broke up with her and we hooked up. Then he moved to New Zealand and I drunk dialed him a bunch — basically the whole time he was there. Then he moved back to Boulder and the rest is history, as they say. I was on a Tinder date and so was he. His date had gone to the ATM across the street. We exchanged numbers with the intention of getting together to discuss the pitfalls of online dating, but instead ended up dating.

I swear he tried on every single jean we had, completely messing up my denim wall. When he came to the register he said that he worked in retail too, as if that was supposed to make up for the fact that he made me stay late and messed up my wall.

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It turned out he was out of clean clothes and needed jeans for a date he was having that night. I was so annoyed. I went out with him not expecting to like him. Eight months after that first date, we were engaged and 10 months later we were married. The night he messed up my denim wall was back in November He asked me to dance. One dance and drink, and goodnight kiss later, our fates were sealed. We met again on Sunday night in Manhattan and have been together ever since. He recognized a mutual friend of ours in one of my profile photos and messaged me.

He knew her from college and it was the perfect icebreaker for conversation. She was also able to vouch for what a great guy he was — in fact, she had thought about setting us up in the past because we are both artists. Our first date we spent at the beach in Santa Cruz and he told me he deleted his Match account that night. Five years later we eloped in Bali. We were playing in a co-ed soccer pickup game in college except I was the only girl!

We were on opposite sides. A ball was in the air and we both went for it. The only problem is he is a foot taller than me so you can guess who won the ball. I fell on the ground. Since I was the only girl everyone made fun of him knocking me over. After that we started noticing each other and running into each other all over campus. We started talking at soccer. With about 20 minutes left to go he showed up and joined our team and scored three goals helping us win.

I thought that a girlfriend and I had plans that evening, but when I showed up at her house, I realized that it was a larger group gathering, not just the two of us. My friend's roommate had invited some friends too, including the roommate's brother. He and I hit it off, and we spent the night dancing but didn't exchange numbers. A few weeks later, he asked me out, and five years later we got married!


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My last stop was in Copenhagen and I rented a room on Airbnb from a beautiful bearded Danish man who is now my husband! I was originally supposed to stay only three days, but we were married a year later and now have two kids and a castle in Italy. I used it with many, but he had the best response! What is my opening line, you ask? I get inundated with creeps, but my man said 'how about we make eye contact first? We're planning a trip to Asia this summer. We were both divorced Mormons and had six kids between us, we married and added one more.

We just celebrated our 25th anniversary and are living happily ever after. We became friends after meeting one summer at a philosophy seminar in Chicago, IL and grew close through returning to that program year after year. On the second year of my attendance, which corresponded with my coming out, I realized that I wanted to date her.

Unfortunately, we were living cross country; me being from Texas and she being from New York. But after she completed a fall program in Oregon, she realized that her next aspiration was to be in a relationship with me! So she moved to Texas and the rest is history. I like to laugh about one of the good things that came from getting a philosophy degree was meeting my partner! I really wanted to meet someone in person. We had a great 30 minutes of conversation and then he turned completely away from me to talk to someone else.

I was so disappointed that I actually left the party, picked up another guy, and came back to the party with the new guy! Something I've never done before or since. It took us nearly a year of awkward fits and starts before he finally just kissed me and told me that he'd liked me the whole time. Now, nearly four years later, we are still going strong! It wasn't until less than a year later, that we would have found each other in a sunrise hug after ceremonies, lost in a morning embrace and our journey began from that moment on.

We didn't even know each other's names but had seen each other around at previous ceremonies. Since I was in an open marriage for about a year then, I had to discuss with my husband that I wanted to have a night with him. We were allowing ourselves to have one night at a time, although I was negotiating with him that I wanted more than one night with this guy. It was hard discussions, but the love between my boyfriend and I grew quickly. Since then we've been together for over five years and he is the love of my life for who've I evolved into as a year-old woman he is My husband is such an incredible heart and soul, whom I will love forever, but our lifestyles as we were older looked so different from each other of what was ideal.

I haven't been sexual or romantic with my husband since my boyfriend came into the picture. The reality is that it's been quite the challenging, yet most amazing dream journey, a lot of hard work, a lot of ups and downs, to allow this arrangement to unfold. But my husband and I have a deep love and bond that is unbreakable, and he is the bravest man to have embarked on the journey with me where we both have landed in places that are most authentically resonating with our deepest truths and desires.

I so am grateful to have been able to experience two great loves at the same time. Knew he was 'The One' right away and told him as much.

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On our first date, we both basically 'grilled' each other on different topics — everything from politics to religion to even how many kids and dogs we wanted. He came to America a few months later to meet my family and our wedding was at his church in Greece the next summer — less than one year from first meeting.


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