There are plenty more fish in the sea.
This is a common adage, usually used as a relationship advice for people who’ve just experienced a breakup.
Words are often easier said than done. And when we see the same people in our lives over and over again, it doesn’t take long to lose belief in the popular saying. New fish? Where? The lake is dried up!
In fourth grade, I had my first crush. I still remember his name: Ryan. Ryan had cute blond hair and blue eyes, and he was smart and nice.
Then my family moved a few years later, and I had to attend a new school. Before entering my new class, I was convinced I’d never meet another boy like Ryan again.
Of course, my sixth grade self was proven wrong.
Throughout middle school and high school, I went through a slew of different crushes as I changed schools a few times again. (My family moved around a bit before we finally got settled. On the bright side, I can say I’ve lived in more than 5 different states. Not many people can say that.)
Each time I changed schools, one of my gloomiest thoughts would be, Man, I would never meet another guy as funny/nice/awesome as (insert crush’s name here) again. NEVER! Then I’d be proven wrong less than 2 months later.
But those were my teen years. Now that I’m a full-grown adult (more or less), it takes more than just good looks and innate ability to win me over. Infatuation is not the same as real love. But even so, the adage still applies to everyday situations outside of the romance box. It’s not the end of the world if you have to move to the other side of the country and possibly never see that inspiring counselor from summer camp again. It’s okay if you have to leave behind a wonderful community soccer team. It’s all right if it didn’t work out between you and Susie, because there are plenty more fish in the lake. And if not, try the sea. Seriously, have you been to an aquarium before?
And exploring the wider sea is beneficial not only because it allows you to meet new people, but also because it gives you a wider perspective on the world.
Example: Every school year, I get cooped up in the bubble of academia and end up seeing the same faces in my acquaintance circle over and over. One specific guy comes to mind from last year: he’s kind of obnoxious, hogs conversations, and gives three-minute monologues on his viewpoints.
It gets worse.
You might think someone who’s the epitome of an argumentative attention hog wouldn’t be very popular. The scary part is, after 275 days of having to be in the same proximity all the time, he became the ‘king’ of our acquaintance circle. In our limited acquaintance circle, he was the most outgoing and gregarious. Plus he was a top engineer and the most athletic. So naturally, he was Mr. Popular among my acquaintances.
(Probably only among my acquaintances. This is what closed-off academia life does to your judgment.)
It wasn’t until I went to my summer internship that I realized: oh yeah, there are hundreds of people out there who can balance gregariousness and fitness… and also respectfulness! And in the workplace, all types of education shine, not just engineers.
Fish in the sea adage: +1
Psychology has shown that people we’re familiar with are more attractive to us. That’s probably why people tend to date people in their acquaintance circles, whether it’s from school, work, or book club. We’re just more comfortable with people we already know.
But you know, why only eat bass when you can try salmon?