Coincidences can make great stories. Telling them can be entertaining both for the teller and the listener. The surprise factor adds juice to the tale. Talking about a coincidence can also help initiate difficult discussions.
A reader sent this one:
“A work colleague said he wanted to get to know me better. I thought it might be fun so we arranged to meet on a Friday at 2PM at a coffee shop in a shopping mall about a mile from our office building. Punctual person that I am, I was there a few minutes before 2, got a coffee and waited. By 2:15 he had not shown up. I emailed him by phone. No response. We had not exchanged phone numbers. By 2:20, hurt and angry, I wandered off to a nearby bookstore where my phone did not register a signal for some reason. After leaving the bookstore and regaining the signal, I saw an email from him. “En route,” it said. The time was 2:25.
“At 2PM on the same Friday, my wife was waiting for a work colleague at a different coffee shop. They too wanted to get to know each other better having had only brief conversations in their office building. By 2:30, the woman had not shown up.
“My wife and I were involved in the same pattern: Meeting work colleagues at a coffee shop at 2PM on the same Friday to get to know them better. And neither showed up at the agreed upon time.
“My wife contacted the woman who apologized profusely. She had forgotten.
“I ran into my work colleague a few days later. I did not realize how upset I was. When he implied that it was my fault that we did not get together, I got mad. He then stormed off. No apology.
“After too much deliberation and much anxiety, I arranged to meet with him to discuss what happened between us. I was trying to be a mature adult. I was very anxious when we started. So I told him about the 2PM coffee-shop-no-show coincidence. That broke the ice for me. Smooth sailing. We have since met for lunch and are thoroughly enjoying getting to know each other.”
Intense emotion marks memory. Our amygdalae (almond shaped organs deep in both sides of the brain) fire when recognizing something to be feared or something new. This firing tells their nearby cousins, the hippocampi, to store the event in memory. The surprise of coincidences marks them for storage in your memory. Recall and tell your story! Something positive can happen.