Why it’s safe to make choices

Last Saturday I was at my 20 year class reunion (the graduation meeting, Abiturtreffen). I wanted to connect with the people I went to school with, see how their lives developed (and yes compare how my life has developed).

There was only one problem: a “Munich Singles Club Meetup” was happening on the same evening. This is the event at which I’ve met my only girlfriend so far. This Meetup has over 6000 members, and I really wanted to give it another go.

I discussed this with my friend T., and he was open to coming along. We agreed that I would get a feeling for the class reunion first, and then decide whether I wanted to stay there or go to the Singles Meetup.

Initially, I did not have any interesting conversations at the class reunion, so it felt a bit boring to me. However, after about 1 1/2 hours I found myself talking to a couple of former classmates about interesting topics (relationships, and how their life was unfolding). It was really fascinating to see, how some people had gained in self-confidence, and how I saw some people being on the people-pleasing side, behaviorally speaking.

I was tempted to stay at the class meeting, on the other hand, T. was waiting and I had postponed going once already, as I was enjoying the conversations. I didn’t want to keep him waiting, also I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to meet a nice single woman.

Or so I thought!

The Singles Meetup

I called up T., and we went to the Singles Meetup. It was happening at a Karaoke bar near Ostbahnhof in Munich.

Immediately several things became obvious to me:

  • There were a lot of men and only 2 women
  • I was not interested in any of the 2 women who were there
  • The location was a bad choice for getting to know people, as the music was very loud.

The event had been advertising “bring a lady friend for free”. Now I understood why – there were many more men there, than women.

After a little while I whispered “It’s a dud” to my friend.

The group was playing a game, where everyone would write two questions on little slips of paper, and then others would randomly draw these questions and answer them. One of my questions got picked as well: “Where did you last travel to, that really touched your heart?”

A challenge about this game was that the group was rather too large to understand the others while the music was blasting through the speakers. I even asked one of the attractive waitresses to turn the music down a notch, which she did. It was still too loud, though!

The event was supposed to go on for at least another hour.


Suddenly, two additional women arrived – both also not a match for me. The woman organizing the event (who was the most attractive of the women there) split the group into two parts – my friend and me were now in two separate groups.

I thought to myself, “this is the opportunity / possibility to leave – I need to act”. Here I was talking to complete strangers and having a hard time even understanding their answers to random questions, while I was missing out on my graduation meeting!

Going to the Munich Singles Meetup had clearly been the wrong choice for me on that evening. However, until actually going, I could not have seen that this was indeed the wrong choice. If I would have stayed at the graduation meeting, I probably would have wondered if I had missed out on really gorgeous and exciting women, possibly even if I had missed out on another relationship.

I came up with a plan. I checked my phone, as if I had received a message, excused myself from my sub-group, and pulled T. to the side. I explained that I didn’t really “feel it”, and that I would very much prefer to go back to my graduation meeting, or even watch a movie with T., than staying at the Munich Singles Club event. T. felt the same way, he had resigned himself to his fate, but was not really enjoying it either. I then went to the organizer, and told her that suddenly we had been called away on an urgent matter, where we needed to go immediately. She said: “but you didn’t even meet your girlfriend yet!” – I had shared my reasons and past history for attending the event earlier with the group.

I lied that we might be back, if everything went smoothly, but that we were not sure yet.

Of course, there was no way we would be coming back to the event – I had just saved ourselves at least an hour we would have wasted otherwise.

The happy end

We went back to the class reunion, T., who knew several other people in my school also joined it. He definitely enjoyed the class reunion more, and so did I. I ended up staying on until about 3 am in the morning with some guys. It was also easy to understand my class mates, as there was no loud music blaring from the loudspeakers. These were also people I shared some history with. And I was genuinely curious about them.

Why that matters

Making choices is fraught with uncertainty. You stand at a crossroad, where you can choose to go to the left, or to the right. Which path do you take? “It depends on where you want to go”, would be the wise advice of the Cheshire cat.

But indeed, what you are really afraid of is making the wrong choice – so sometimes you end up not making a choice at all.

In my story, I ended up making a wrong choice, going to the Munich Club Singles Meetup – an event I shall never attend again. In the past, it had been a good choice for me, as I had met my only girlfriend so far through it. On that Saturday a week ago, it was wasted time.

However, I needed to make the wrong choice to understand that it was the wrong choice.

If I would not have made the choice, I would have regretted that I did not go and give myself a chance of meeting a wonderful woman.

I went down the wrong path, and took T. along on it.

But – once I understood that it’s not useful to stay on that path, both T. and me literally backtracked, and took the right path, the better path for that evening.

On every path which you take, you will find nuggets of information telling you whether that path is worth walking and continuing on.

Listen to the path and what it tells you. You can always turn back to the decision which you made – and that is what makes making decisions safe: you will get additional information once you have committed to a decision, and now you can make a new decision.

Go on, give that relationship you’re unsure about a chance – see if it is working out for you. Give it some time. If it doesn’t, backtrack and look for other opportunities.

All the best in your travels!

Photo by Richard Stachmann on Unsplash

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