On my first weekend in New York, who do you think sat across from me at brunch? That's right -- my first love's current girlfriend.
FYI: I’m from California.
My best friend from college is from Texas. Who was in his kindergarten class? My best friend from high school. (She moved to California when she was 7).
A New York friend just introduced me to her boyfriend. And who was his college frat brother? My childhood neighbor. In fact, my friend's boyfriend spent two weeks last summer on my street, visiting his friend.
I could go on, but I’ll spare you. The point is that my life is an endless collection of small-world stories. No matter where I go in the world, I seem to find -- and stick with -- the same types of people.
I'm speaking from personal experience when I tell you the 10 things that happen when your world is just too f*cking small.
1. You meet the same people no matter where you go.
You're drawn to people who meet your standard of normal. But do you define that standard? Normal is comfortable. Normal is familiar.
Normal is every other person you've ever known. Being drawn to the same type means finding mutual friends around the world.
2. Your growth is stunted.
The problem with associating only with people who match your type is that you never challenge yourself.
You have nobody to challenge your way of life and your value system -- because everybody you associate with shares your way of life and value system.
What happens when you don’t get challenged? You don’t grow.
3. You’re content but never happy.
Honestly, I have no problem with being content. I mean, any sane person would rather be content than miserable, right?
But even I have to admit that there’s a difference between simply being content and being really, truly happy.
It’s the difference between “I’m fine, thanks -- how are you?” and “OMG, so happy you asked — I just got my dream job in Australia, where I will coincidentally also be hosting the destination wedding to the man of my dreams. Life ROCKS.”
4. You never feel extreme emotion.
Why would you? Nothing in your life is extreme. Things have gone wrong before, but time has showed you that even the most terrifying “crisis” will blow over eventually.
As I mentioned above, misery is not ideal. But it's a necessary evil. We need to let ourselves feel the whole range of emotions.
Without misery, we can’t appreciate joy; without joy, we can’t recognize misery. The constant state of contentment in your too-small world leaves you numb to extremes.
5. You spend the majority of your time listening to different versions of the same problem.
Ryan cheated on Becky again, and this time she’s done with him for good. She blocked his number and everything! Chris thought he was finally gonna tell Jess at her birthday party how he felt.
But when he saw how happy she was with Garrett, he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Lauren is still in love with Roy even though he's so blatantly gay.
Basically, everyone you know (including yourself) is into someone who’s not interested. And you’ve spent eternity analyzing screenshots and hearing your loved ones blabber on about them.
6. You become naive.
Safety makes you soft. Every time you fell, there was someone there to catch you. You never developed a necessary fear of falling.
You coast through life believing that you can afford that extra drink and go home with that slightly sketchy guy -- because you’ve done it before, and it turned out OK.
Odds are that your friends will take you home if you’re too drunk, and the guy really is a friend of a friend (and not a creep).
7. You lose perspective.
Insignificant problems are HUGE. Yes, the small voice in the back of your head reminds you that there are people in this country who are stressing about how they’re going to get their next meal.
But your best friend from home is coming into town tomorrow, and last time she was here she hooked up with half your guy friends. You just know it’s going to be so awkward, and the anxiety is literally eating you alive.
This whole problem could be easily avoided by just not hanging out with those guys for one weekend. But then what would you do?
8. You constantly recycle lovers.
You’ve been going through the same roster of about five familiar exes (or three bonafide exes and two long-term booty calls) as long as you can remember.
In fact, you’d rather go back to someone who shattered your heart into a million pieces than start all over again with someone who might be perfectly nice. Why?
Because starting all over again takes energy. Yeah, Mark is a douche. But you know Mark is a douche, and you’re comfortable with Mark.
You don’t have it in you to meet up with Josh from Bumble and discover all of the new and innovative ways in which he, too, can be a douche.
9. You have a hard time keeping your private life private.
You’re not quite ready to tell everyone about your parents’ divorce, but your mom is best friends with your friends' moms.
And obviously your mom’s gonna tell her friends, and her friends are gonna tell their kids ... and before you know it, everyone knows about your family problems before you've even had the chance to process them.
By the same token, you find yourself getting PISSED when you hear that Becky (who swore she was done with Ryan for good this time) spent last night at Ryan's and didn’t tell any of you.
How could she think she could possibly keep this a secret? I mean, everyone saw her and Ryan leaving the bar together.
There simply are no secrets in your world.
10. You find it hard to give new people a fair chance.
Everybody you associate with is essentially the same. It’s not that your acquaintances aren't fantastic, fabulous people. But they're all you know, and they act how you believe people should.
They're the definition of normal. In fact, thinking about new people actually puts a nervous pit in your stomach. Anyone who doesn’t align with your definition of normal doesn’t really stand a chance with you.