Daily Archives: December 20, 2009

Expected Value and Meeting New People

Another poker and life analogy coming your way: It is stupid to expect to win every hand. When I play poker, I know that I will lose hands. I will fold and lose money, or I will call and sometimes lose money. I won’t have the right cards; I won’t get the right flop; I won’t make my draw; My opponent will make his draw (whether he was getting correct value or not). Losses will happen. However, if I have enough skill, then I’ll be playing with positive expected value. It makes sense to play because I should make money in the long run. I don’t let the bad hands bother me because they’re an inevitable part of the game.

I think the same thing applies to meeting people. I can’t expect to make fast friends with every person I meet. There will be people with whom I don’t get along, or people with whom I have nothing in common. It’s inevitable that there will be failures. However, if I have good social skills, if I am an interesting person, and if I have genuine interest in people, then I’ll be playing with positive expected value, so to speak. I can expect to make friends despite the failures.

Not that I’ve had any failures yet, but I’m in a new environment. I need to remind myself of this fact to quell fears I have when I meet people and to not let disappointment rattle me when it inevitably occurs.

When I was busy meeting people that first year of college, I had very little fear. I knew that there were so many people that if I failed to charm one person, I could move on and charm other persons. In fact, I could console myself with the fact that I had already charmed several people (probably from earlier that day). Even though I won’t face that same open first-year college environment, the world is big — the pool of people is even bigger than my old college.

I want to be the type of person who is good at meeting people. A good poker player will lose hands. Someone good at meeting people will fail to charm some. It’s just part of the game.