His Perspective: When it comes to dating, step out of your comfort zone

The Daily Trojan set up a blind date between two USC students to explore the ways that love can find its start. The two participants were told to meet at the Starbucks in the USC Village at a given time and day, but were given no further instructions other than to write about how the date unfolded for this issue. What follows is an account of the date from each person’s perspective. The participants’ identities are kept anonymous. Read the other perspective here.

Yasmin Davis/Daily Trojan

A few weeks ago, a friend who used to work at the Daily Trojan sent me a posting for this blind date feature and encouraged me to sign up. Without giving it much thought, I figured it couldn’t hurt to send an email expressing my interest. I was half expecting to receive a reply saying that a lot of people had applied already and that the spots had been filled, but at least I could say I tried.

Several days later, I was sent a questionnaire asking for a basic profile of myself which I submitted it, again not expecting it to amount to anything. Then, on the Friday prior to the date, I was asked to meet with the Daily Trojan editors in person, and that’s when I realized this was actually going to happen. The meeting was a quick briefing with details on where and when I was supposed to meet my date. I remember just sitting there, wondering if it was too late for me to back out. The thought of meeting up with a complete stranger for a blind date with zero information about them was very intimidating, but at the same time I knew that I had to do it because it was so out of my comfort zone.

The only information I was given beforehand was to meet her at USC Village Starbucks at noon. I had no idea what her name was, what she looked like or even how I was expected to dress. There were obviously other concerns as well, such as the fear that we wouldn’t find any common ground and that the date would be an awkward disaster. But after running through all the possible worst-case scenarios in my head, I figured it would, at the very least, be a valuable learning experience.

On the day of, I showed up at the Starbucks a few minutes before noon and realized that I had no way of identifying who I was supposed to meet. I texted my Daily Trojan contact asking who I should be looking for and received a helpful answer of, “She should be there by 12! If you’re having trouble finding her lmk.” I decided to just sit by one of the tables outside the entrance and hope my date pick up on my clueless expression and figure out who I was. I guess it worked because several minutes later, I saw her round the corner and we made eye contact.

“Um … Daily Trojan?” she asked. “Yep,” I responded, and we proceeded to introduce ourselves as we entered the Starbucks. After about 10 seconds in line, I asked if she had had eaten yet, and she said she had just woken up and was hungry, so we decided to get brunch at BBCM next door.

We started talking about our experiences growing up. We came from pretty different backgrounds, me having grown up abroad in China and she in a small town in New Jersey. The conversation was engaging and transitioned smoothly from topic to topic — we covered everything from personal interests and the places we’d traveled to our aspirations for the future. Before I knew it, two hours had already passed. I had promised to be at my friend’s Super Bowl party that afternoon and she had work to do, so we decided it was time for the date to end. We hugged and parted ways, and that was that.

If you had told me a few years ago that I would be going on a blind date with someone, I would have been doubtful and skeptical. Even looking back now, I’m a bit surprised that I actually went through with the whole process. However, I definitely enjoyed the experience.

Before the date, I spent a lot of time worrying about what could go wrong, but in reality, it was a great time to just meet a new person and get to know them over a meal. My biggest takeaway from this experience is that I should step out of my comfort zone more often because even though it can be daunting, the rewards are much greater than the risks.