You've just made a new friend or met a co-worker. You sit down and start talking and the topic turns to background and hometowns. In the course of the next five minutes, you find out ten different ways in which you have mutuals with this person.
The best part about making a new friend is figuring out the different channels through which you know them.
Although this does nothing much more than help you gain more insight into their backgrounds, the idea of just one degree of separation, forget six, is particularly fascinating. I believe this is because of our love of making our worlds smaller.
It also helps to have a basis of a conversation because you have a shared common ground that you can refer back to when you don't know what to talk about.
I recently started a new job and I have been making discoveries of strange relationships I have with my new co-workers. What makes this more fun is when you find commonalities between yourself and a previously unknown person although they are from the other side of the country or through some crazy, random connection.
For example, I once learned that one of my mutuals with a new friend was someone that I once went to camp with, for one week, six summers ago. Here are some more examples of unexpected degrees of separation between two strangers.
1. Friends from childhoodGiphy
Figuring out that you're from the same town as somebody else is an insane feeling because you might have never noticed them before or you might suddenly be hit with a memory of a mousy looking kid in your first grade class. These are the best realizations because you can unlock memories from years past and bond over a place that you might not even have seen for a couple decades.
2. College acquaintancesGiphy
Learning that you have a mutual based on college is the most common way that I learn more about people at my new workplace because we are all around the same age and have friends that went to colleges across the country. In fact, one of my co-workers brought a friend to work today and it turned out that I went to high school with this friend, who in turn, went top college with my co-worker. You also get to get to hear all the college stories about this new friend and maybe even catch up on what's going on with the mutual.
3. Co-workers from the pastGiphy
Once you learn that you both worked with the same person, you can relate with to working at the same company and get to know them better in the context of the job that you're both in now.
4. High school connectionsGiphy
High school connections are very similar to college connections in that you get to learn more about your friends antics in high school if you didn't know them then. If you did go to high school together, then you get to learn about your friend during high school, but in the context of extracurriculars.
5. Someone you once spent a summer withGiphy
This relates to my camp stories because these surprises are far and few in between. When I made that connection with a new acquaintance, I had so much fun remembering that small time in my life that I hadn't remembered until that moment.
If they went to high school or college, you may have some interesting stories about your mutual friend you can share with them. Or, if you were from the same hometown then you can bond over the shared loved (or horrors).
These degrees of separation can become those conversation drivers you need in a lull. Just start asking and you never know what you'll find out.
How about you? What are some crazy connections you've made with a brand new friend or acquaintance?