Wednesday, November 18, 2009

If dating is networking then you need to get some networks

Jeff and I were talking about how weird slash hard it is to date while you're in medical school.  "To date" here being defined as "to find people to date, go on said dates, and make plans for additional dates following." And "when you're in medical school" meaning, when you're Jeff.

I would think that medical school, business school, really any kind of higher education would be a hot bed for post-college relationships.  You have hundreds of people of like age with like interests living in close quarters where there are usually lots of bars and restaurants.  It's just like college except you're old enough to realize that you can't get away with calling a flip-cup tournament your first date. 

Then I remembered how dating went for me slash everyone I knew in college...

Having given it proper analysis (because he is a doctor) Jeff had deduced that the issue is a lack of networks.  If dating is a numbers game (which it is) then you need maximum opportunities to find those numbers.  And opportunities - he had found - only expand when you have multiple pools of people to from which to date - making it a numbers and networks game (which is still technically just numbers, but much better sounding).

Take your typical med school class - he explained:  
  • Say it's 300 people. 
  • For argument's sake say 40% of those are in long-term, committed relationships.  (I know, WOW, but I've asked other doctor friends and apparently that's an accurate number across the boards). 
  • So now we have roughly half the class that's unavailable.  
  • Now cut that half in half because only roughly 50% are women, and that's what you're after (well may not you, and definitely not me, but Jeff).  
  • So if we were originally at a student body of 300 you're now around maybe 50 available and eligible women (that's my math, so it's probably wrong, so just assume "not a lot")
  • Then you have to factor in compatibility, attractiveness, general interest in dating, personalities, etc.
  • Long story short - there are about 5 maybe 7 people you actually want to date throughout your entire 4 years of medical school.
But the nurses? I asked.  Awkward because you're not really a doctor yet and it's sort of taboo.  But the underclassmen at the school? I thought.  Yes, maybe, if you bump into one in the library, but you're so busy with school and studying and the hospital that you rarely see anyone outside your class.  Bars in the town?  Yeah, also maybe, but you only go to a few, and it usually ends up being a med school crew.

At that point I gave up.  Yes, I believe there were instances where Jeff could meet people while in med school (and for the record Jeff did), but the issue of this lack of networks was true and problematic. 

I thought back to my first year in Manhattan - I'd just fully committed to skinny jeans and was experimenting with the over-sized knit beret... 

I had my work network ( - a weddings website...), my Boston College alumni network (a group of people I graduated with and some older alumni we'd bump into at game watches), and my high school slash family network (kids from home who moved to the city, family friends who moved to the city, etc.).  I went out, and there were new people to be met, but my access points - my "ins" - if you will, were only within those three pools of people.  And in the numbers game of dating, that's not very many. 

Can you meet someone in medical school? Yes.  Can you meet someone if you move to Manhattan with only two networks to speak of? Yes.  But if you're not meeting someone and you're not expanding your networks - joining something, going with a work friend to an event you typically wouldn't, getting back in touch with old friends from camp, whatever - you're not broadening the base of people you can meet.  

Dating is a numbers game, but there are a lot of ways you can play it.  Wait for your card to come up in the one deck you're playing off, or start playing with more than one deck. 

Jeff recommends the former, and he's a doctor. 


  1. This all really makes sense! You should have some kind of a mixer at a bar or something where we can all meet and expand our network. This could really work!! I would love to help you plan something...

  2. YES! I always tell my friends that when they feel like the dating pool is empty, that they really need to get back in touch with old friends or join a running/biking/pottery/whatever club because meeting new friends of friends is the best way to meet new dates.