Yes, you’ve heard every single’s online dating horror story (the no-show, the psycho, the loser). Despite algorithms, without question, dating a mix of anonymous strangers doesn’t always convert to a feasible and authentic romance. Following that logic, chances are the odds of meeting a mate in your own social circle would run even higher. When birds of a feather flock together, naturally compatibility ensues. Isn’t that how it goes? Not necessarily according to a recent study conducted by a Cornell University researcher and Facebook engineer. Based on data from 1.3 million Facebook users who declared themselves “in a relationship,” the study shows that more romantic connections blossom when both partners have a diverse group of friends, even if the connections within their circles aren’t very strong. In other words, the more friends two people have in common, the more likely the chances of a break up.
We as singles can learn a lesson from these findings. Stepping out of your network may require veering out of your comfort zone, but if you’re not encountering quality people and building lasting relationships, going the extra mile—and enduring some initial discomfort--will reap rewards. Try an activity or go to an event you may not typically join, say wander over to a museum even if you’re not a fan of Picassos or say yes to a happy hour with an acquaintance whom you don’t think you have much in common. A little exploration can go far; and looking in the most unlikely places may yield unexpected connections.