On October 20, 2012, I met my wife Alena for the first time at a Michael Jackson Thriller dance class at Ultrabar in Washington, DC. I taught the class and Alena was one of my students.
We Almost Never Met
When my friend J.T. (who organized the class as part of his 20s and 30s Going Out Meetup group) approached me about teaching Thriller, I initially declined. I was taking a break from teaching dance, and was focusing instead on my work, finding a good relationship, and training as a runner. But after some thought, I said yes as J.T. is a good friend, and decided to professionally film the class, since I didn’t do so with my previous lessons and thought it was my last class at the time. The cool thing is that because of the filming, Alena and I have pictures from the first time we talked, and a video from the night we met:
John: “Wow, she’s hot and has a nice sense of style. I wonder whether she’s with that guy.”
Alena: “He’s good looking, friendly, and confident.”
After class, I asked my friend Tomasz whether he thought the guy that Alena came in with was her boyfriend. He said, “I don’t think so. It looks like she’s been avoiding him all night.” If Tomasz had just said, “probably,” I probably would not have done the next thing…
I approached Alena when she was by herself, made a little small talk, and asked her if the guy she came to the lesson with was her boyfriend. She said, “No, we’re just friends. He’s not looking for a relationship.” I then said without hesitation, “I’m looking for a relationship. Do you want to get a drink or coffee next week and talk some more?” And she said, “Yes.” I then got her number. It was a quick, one minute conversation.
- The best way to meet someone is to get involved in an activity that is enjoyable and enriching for you, and where you can meet potential attractive singles. That way it is a win for you even if you don’t meet anyone. And if you do, even better. That night, I was going to have fun at that class even if I didn’t meet anyone, but I happened to meet Alena there.
- Be brave and just talk to someone you’re interested in – just go for it. I approached Alena after class to chat even though she arrived with a guy. After talking for a little bit, I politely asked her if she was with that guy. The worst thing that could have happened was that she could have said, “Yes, he’s my boyfriend.” And I would just move on and talk to someone else. There is never any harm to say hello, introduce yourself, ask questions, listen, and see if they are interested in talking more, so just be brave and go for it.
- A little note about rejections – shake them off. I can tell you that as a guy who’s been through the rejections and now has found the right person, you don’t remember the rejections. I frankly don’t even remember the name, face, or conversation that I had with the girls who immediately brushed me off. And I don’t remember the girls I turned down. A rejection is temporary and forgettable in the grand scheme of things, so channel your Taylor Swift and shake it off.
- Have a wingman or wingwoman with you. The best wingman or wingwoman brings out the best in you, and gives you a vote of confidence to make the first move, like Tomasz did for me. And a good wingman is willing to take the lesser attractive of the two girls if you both go on a double date. I’ve been a wingman for my guy friends, and I’ve had awesome wingmen.