Thursday, August 9, 2012

Intention vs. Opportunity

Good evening/afternoon LOVEanese! I'm really excited that I'm blogging again. Stay tuned for more posts to come over the next few weeks, and also even my own article on the Science of Relationships that I mentioned last week!

What I want to do in this post is share a little anecdote of something that recently happened to me, and the lesson that came out of it. Perhaps it's something you experienced/learned a long time ago, but I'm a late bloomer, so go figure, I just figured it out haha.

What exactly was I doing in college?

Anyway, Remember how I talked about "finding your habibi" a few months ago? And even going online to do so? What if the opportunity was there, but you actually accidentally passed it up? Multiple times even? And no I don’t mean your best friend or something like that, or not going out one Friday night when you were tired. What I mean is an opportunity missed because you didn't realize the opportunity was there to begin with.

Let me explain through example:

A few weeks ago, I was sitting with some good friends at a bar in the city where I did my undergrad (Louisville, KY). I was about three beers deep when something happened. As I was talking to my friends, a girl from another table randomly came over, and asked us if she could take an extra chair from our table. Of course we said yes, but then she looked right at me and asked, "Do I know you from somewhere? You look really familiar." Bear in mind a few things:

1. I wasn't exactly in my "going out" clothes. I had just driven there that day.

2. I was already a bit slow because of the beer (I'm kind of a light-weight, ok?)

3. I'm a really social person, and I used to know a lot of people in Louisville and at the university.

So, I'm thinking to myself, "Well, maybe she does know me..." So, I say, "Umm, I don't know. Did we have class together? What's your name?" And she tells me, but I'm still drawing a blank. At that point, my friend whispers to me, "Michael, what are you doing? Go talk to her!" And I'm just so confused, I'm still trying to figure out where she'd know me from! At that point she thanks us for the chair, and goes back to her table.

Now... my friend is kind of disappointed in me: "Dude, what was that!? You should have talked to her!" And this is where the lesson begins:

Me: (I'm still confused, and was flashing a puzzled look) "Why? She just wanted to know if she knew me. And she obviously didn't, what's the big deal?"

Him: "Well, she was obviously interested in you."

Me: "What are you talking about? She was just asking if she knew me" (which to me, in my naivety, was a reasonable conclusion).

Him: "But that's the point. It doesn't really matter if she was interested or not. The fact is, the opportunity presented itself just now, and you completely blew it.

Me: "What!? How!?"

Him: "Simple. When she came over and asked for the chair and if she knew you, what you should have done is gotten up, gone over to her, said something like, "no I don't think we've met, but my name's Michael," and then offered to take the chair back to her table."

At this point I was just amazed.

"Obviously you've never read The Game..."

Me: "How in the world should I have known that?? I thought she really might just know me."

"Ok fine, but you still missed an opportunity."

And that's when it dawned on me. Up until this point, I had never understood the difference between intention and opportunity when it comes to meeting someone. Intention, in this sense, being that she wanted to talk to me. Maybe she did. Maybe she didn't. To me, I always thought that the intention had to be there in order to talk to a girl (quite contrary to practically every movie, ever made, ever). But what I realized is that the opportunity to meet/get-to-know someone is really always there.

Now, you may be thinking, "Come on Ogie, that's like the oldest trick in the book." But analyzing that isn't the point of this post. It's that you may be missing good opportunities all the time because you're not reading the language of the interaction, or as I demonstrated, even realizing that the opportunity is there. As I said, it didn't matter if she came over just to talk to me or not. What mattered is that I should have stood up, introduced myself, talked to her, and offered to help; made something out of that interaction, and maybe meet someone new.

Does this happen to you? Has anything similar ever happened? In Lebanon? Outside Lebanon? Is it cultural? Just to clarify, my friend's girlfriend was sitting next to him, and not only affirmed what he was saying, but also said I should have talked to her, in part, because the "road for interaction" was clear so to speak.

Do you think there's a difference between how men and women perceive this? Ladies, men always say that they want a woman to approach them, but what happens if and when that happens? Do we kinda freeze up because it challenges all of our existing social and relational scripts of how to behave and what to do/say? Is it disrespectful or disingenuous if I assume that there is an "opportunity" to get to know someone there?

Let me know. I'm really looking forward to your comments on this one!

Spread the love,
-Ogie, MA


  1. Ya, she obviously wanted you and you blew it. You'll know better next time ;)

  2. Haha! Maybe. But I'm sure others have been in a position where they didn't realize that there's an opportunity to meet someone. Especially if they aren't acting stereotypically "flirty."

    This kind of situation also brings up the "coming on too strong" cliche. That is, how you engage someone may seem like that on one hand, but if you engage too casually, may send a message that you aren't interested on the other.

    What do you think?

  3. A friend of mine on Facebook wrote this:

    "I dont think there is a huge difference between how men and women perceive intention vs. opportunity. I just had a similar conversation with my friend the other day... I find myself so used to dealing with intention, that I don't see opportunity anymore. I've found most Lebanese men are so direct, that when a guy tries to be stuble and polite, I immediately write it off as, "Oh, he's just being friendly." And then I'm polite back. And then promptly ignore him, lol... So, what I guess I'm saying is that you're not alone :p"

    And I responded:

    "Yeah, I get what you mean! Like we're conditioned to look for intention, that not only do we miss opportunity, but at least I think, "Oh, well maybe she's not interested," or "It's not polite/is disrespectful or something." You know?

    And this happened here, it's even worse in Lebanon I bet. And also, you have to consider sometimes, "Well, what are their expectations. Are there any?""

    What do you all think?

  4. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be dating my current bf if I hadn't approached him at an event and said hi. He asked me out right then. We were both waiting for an opportunity.

  5. I'm sure I miss opportunities all the time...For example, yesterday I went on a walk during my break from work. As I'm walking I pass a guy walking the opposite direction. He had a backpack and a bike. We smiled at each other and continued walking. Halfway down the block, I realized maybe I should've said something...or rather, that I wanted to stop, say hi and introduce myself. Just to see what would happen. To meet someone new. And of course I didn't, blowing another opportunity to at the very least say hi to someone new. It's about the choices you make - I think you can create your own opportunities, which is often more interesting and exciting than simply waiting for things to happen.

  6. I'm reading all most of your blogs.
    I really appreciate your blogs. But (sorry for that but) i want to say in a all most cases that are doing just a literature review.....
    the analysis part is not present. You should add your own analysis.

    Today when tried to do an analysis, it was not sharp.
    I'm sorry for telling that because u'r doing good job, just i want to give advise.

    I really advise you to add your own analysis, so that u can discuss it with friends.

    So sorry for telling that, but your analysis part would be made by a 13 years old guy, not by some one how is a sociologist!!!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your reply!

      I do try to analyze to an extent, but if you refer to the very first post, I try to stay as objective as possible while also letting the reader make his or her own individual connections and analysis.

      What it all comes down to is that I'm not an expert, so it isn't my place to make judgements or prescribe dogma. I can merely educate individuals how to read research, make them aware of the research and resources available, and provide any insight I have.


    2. I'm one member of scientific research team, of math. Since i have a smallidea of what research is and so i'm pretty sure that you are the right personne to share good analysis, just you have to start.
      i do beleive that sharing your own analysis, an analysis of someone how is studying nearly the subjet of relation ship and ..... etc.

      I strongly advise you to do a deep analysis to try to share why? ans how? and for sure you are able to do it!! i know from now that you can do deep analysis, once it helps poeple to succeed their relation ship, to understand why they are not succeding their relation? go on you are the right personne to do that.

      Don't horry I'll be there to share a lot of problems hhhhh.