Stop and think for a minute. How many people, on average, do you meet in one day? Perhaps one or two? Maybe you're feeling particularly friendly, or find yourself at a party, and meet a dozen. For simplicity's sake, let say that the average person meets about 1,000 people a year. That's a lot of people, right?
For Edmonton social butterfly Brittney Le Blanc 1,000 people is passe. Old news. That's how many people she met last year. This year her goal is to meet 5,000.
Her ambitious foray into endless handshakes and small talk first started as a conversation about the frustrations of the dating scene.
"I'd tried online dating, I'd tried meeting people at the events I was attending. But I still hadn't found someone I wanted to date."
So Le Blanc enlisted the help of her friend Jessica Holt - a "wing woman," if you will - and the two of them decided the best way to up Le Blanc's chances of connecting with someone special was to increase the amount of people she meets.
To fulfill the goals of project 5k365, Le Blanc estimates she will have to meet approximately 15 people per day.
That shouldn't be hard for the outgoing Edmontonian, however. As lover of new media and an employee of the Edmonton Journal's Capital Ideas project, Le Blanc is always on the go attending events, organizing dinners and connecting with people in her community.
"Now I'm just going to have to push myself harder. I really like to push myself out of my comfort zone, so this seems like a really good way to do that," says Le Blanc.
Her strategy is to attend more events and become more connected to those around her. If that means talking to strangers on the bus or at the grocery store, so be it. Her strategy does not include bar hopping on the weekends to increase her tally.
"Bars aren't where I go to to meet people in the first place, so I hope I don't have to resort to going to bars."
Le Blanc and her project partner, Holt, will mutually challenge each other. For Holt, meeting new people can be difficult and awkward, so she's relying on the project to help her out of her shell.
“By doing this project, I hope to not only help Brittney but also face and overcome some of my own fears around meeting new people. I’ll be blogging about my own social anxieties and how I can learn to be more confident from Brittney,” Holt told Metro Edmonton.
But meeting that many people will get exhausting, right?
"I know there will be days when I'm sick of meeting people or I'll want some time to myself," says Le Blanc. To combat stranger fatigue, she's allowing herself 25 days off. (For the record, the project started on Sept. 15. Nine days in, with a few days off, Le Blanc had met 114 people.)
And, like any project worth doing, Le Blanc has set out some clear ground rules for herself:
- Although the goal is to meet a date-worthy man, she won't limit herself to meeting fellas. Anyone, any age, from anywhere is fair game.
- In order to count someone as "met" Le Blanc must truly be meeting them for the first time.
- All 5,000 people must be documented and accounted for. This will happen on a private spreadsheet with first names and last initials only.
- A "meeting" only counts if there is an introduction and conversation.
So, what if Le Blanc connects with 5,000 people, but still doesn't find someone to set her heart a-flutter?
"Ideally, I'd like to see the project achieve its goal, but if not that's ok, too. I'm going to meet some amazing people and hopefully try new things and learn something about myself."
You can read about Le Blanc and Holt's adventure on their blog.
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