As far as I know, I haven’t had any “real” Missed Connections posts written about me. A couple of friends have written me posts as a joke, and someone I met at a party wrote one after I’d told him about my research. Years ago, I wrote a brief post about a guy at the grocery store carrying a vinyl copy of “White Blood Cells,” mostly just to see what it would be like to write one.
None of these really count, as far as I’m concerned, and I’d otherwise never been compelled to consider writing a real one based on meeting a stranger.
I’d assumed that when people have some kind of notable interaction, there were pretty much just two options:
- Boy/girl meets girl/boy, forgets about their encounter and moves on;
- Or, boy/girl meets girl/boy, and one of them goes home and writes a Missed Connections post, usually explaining why they would’ve/could’ve/should’ve asked for the person’s name and number, but didn’t.
I’ve spent countless hours analyzing the content of Missed Connections – for fun and under the guise of research – yet had neglected an important angle.
What goes through someone’s mind in between having this memorable interaction, and deciding to write or not write the post?
I had figured someone would know instantly whether they wanted to try to reconnect, and would just write the post, but I realized there might be much more ambiguity in interpreting what actually happened.
A hypothetical girl/boy might wonder: was that actually an unusually great conversation? Did the other person actually also seem interested?
How can you know if it was an actual Missed Connection, and not just a friendly chat?
Let’s say, sort of hypothetically, that I was one of the parties involved in a would-be Missed Connection. If you’re me, of course, you would have an extra layer of “overthinking it” that is nearly guaranteed when you’ve been reading and researching Missed Connections for so long. Nonetheless, I hadn’t fully considered how you would know if you were in the midst of a possible Missed Connection. It seemed as though it would be obvious.
For the sake of this post, it doesn’t much matter who this fellow was, although he and I exchanged an unusual level of detail in the 20 minutes between waiting at Wellesley station and on the bus. Maybe I was just surprised to have an actual, enjoyable conversation with a stranger on the TTC. But there was no handy flowchart to help me determine whether a Missed Connection just happened.
In hindsight, it might have been a Missed Connection if this someone invited you to an event scheduled for the following day (although perhaps you declined, not out of disinterest, but due to of other obligations, and you communicated this ineffectively).
It may have been a Missed Connection if you definitely made a point of seeing if there was a post about you. Or if you considered whether you had enough information to seek out the person, through Missed Connections or otherwise.
In the end, though – and this is just the clichéd “if a tree falls in a forest…” line of thinking, clearly – if neither of you actually wrote a Missed Connections post – was it actually a Missed Connection?
[Update, 10:04 pm March 21st: The reason I didn’t include all the details about the guy from the bus is that, well, I guess I would’ve included that in the Missed Connections post, had I actually written one. Should I have written one??]