When meeting people the “get to know you process” can be clunky and awkward or smooth and steady. But as we learn more about someone we tend to assess them as potential dates or friends through a strange weeding out process. For me, if someone is not comfortable sharing food or eating family style this is an automatic strike against him or her. I make a grand assumption based on a very specific culinary quality and bam! Strike one. While many say we are in this proverbial game of life and love is there really a need for a strict strikeout policy? Why do we treat potential candidates for companionship as vessels who must fit into the rules of regulation play? If a baseball reference is not something you lean on there are many other similar examples in which we rate each other. “She/He’s a real knockout,” what does boxing have to do with anything? Why am I trying to get a KO out of this when really there are a lot more than 12 rounds to go? Strikeouts, knockouts, home runs first base, second base, blindsided and many other words are all tossed around like we are in a huge competition to meet people and create lasting relationships. While we all have automatic prejudices that affect our response to one another it might be time to soften the criteria. People are always saying, “do not lower your standards” and they say it quite fiercely as if there are major consequences if we disobey. Yet, phrases like “he’s out of my league” continue the dreary sports analogies as well as perpetuate a sort of caste system of dating and friendship. Perhaps what you are looking for may be nowhere in sight of the club you usually associate with. Whatever age you are I think it is pretty difficult to pin down exactly what your standards should be. If we ease up on our rules, dole out less strikes, and venture off the reservation a little bit, we’ll find a host of enticing and interesting individuals we never thought garnered consideration.