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The Meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.–Carl Jung

One of the great things about working in a wine tasting room in the second most visited tourist location in Arizona is that you meet, over the course of a month or so, many different people. Many couples visit Jerome on their honeymoon, or go to the town for a romantic day/weekend getaway. Over wine, people are open to discuss their histories together. Taking advantage of this over the last few weeks, I’ve been asking couples how they met, and under what circumstances. Namely, were they actively dating or passively dating at the time they met?

First, definition time: 

Active dating is where you are actively seeking out new people, and often times while you are seeking, you are going out with less than perfect people fairly often simply because dating can be fun. (No, really, it can be. Honest. Going on dates once a week pretty much let me discover Boston, while I was there, and it was a great excuse to explore.) Active dating may or may not involve multiple profiles on multiple dating sites, along with simply being open and meeting people wherever you go. (Most memorably, I ended up dating someone for a little while whom I met while on an airplane flight.) You leave no stone unturned, and often go purposely to places specifically to meet them.

Passive dating, on the other hand, is the opposite. Generally you’re…indifferent. Not actively searching. You have, perhaps, one profile on a dating site that’s occasionally updated, that you poke at perhaps once a week. If someone interesting walks by, you’ll chat them up, but you’re not seeking and talking to every woman with the explicit goal of dating them in mind. You’re not purposely going to places specifically to meet new people. You’re going about your life, being your awesome self, and happen to bump into people you find interesting, and then date them. In many cases, you’re entirely indifferent (or seemingly so), before you bump into someone.

(For the record, I’ve done both approaches, and both have ended with relationships, eventually. Currently I’m in passive mode, for a whole host of reasons. Passive mode is great if you’re working on a self-image, or working on fixing what you consider to be issues and problems. Active mode is great if you’ve got your self-image problems under control, or, incidentally, if you’ve just moved into a new place, or are seeking to get to know the place in which you find yourself. It’s also up to your personality, when you get down to it. I would argue that the most gentlemanly approach would be the passive, since we’re all focusing on trying to be better men here, but to each their own.)

Here’s what I’ve discovered from my inquiry: Both approaches work equally well when it comes to finding a paramour. There doesn’t seem to be a difference one way or the other in terms of success; out of the thirty couples I’ve surveyed in the last two weeks, half met while at least one member of the party was passively dating. It seems, however, that the key would be choosing the method which best suits you and your personality, so, why not experiment and see which method works best for you?

 (Well, and the stories I got from those couples who met whilst passively dating on how they met were much more interesting than those who met actively dating… so there IS that.)