One day, a man went to the top of a mountain to see a wise man. The man had a problem that he could not solve on his own.
After a day and a half of climbing, he saw a thin figure sitting in an old chair. His clothes, though clean, were ragged around the cuffs. He was mostly bald, save for the back of his head which was covered in steel gray hair.
The man spoke to the sitter, his voice truncated by deep breaths-he had exerted himself more than he thought he had…
“Are… are you the wise man?” He asked.
“I am a man,” came the reply, followed by “whether I am wise, I don’t know.”
The man shrugged. “Whatever. I got a problem…”
“So do a lot of people who come up here,” the wise man scratched his head. “Seen five others this week. Must be a rough one down there…”
“Listen,” the man interjected to keep to the subject. “I am a very lonely man. I have been all around the singles scene, been to every bar and even tried speed dating…”
“And…?” The wise man asked.
“And nothing! I feel isolated, like a damn leper!!” The man kicked a rock in frustration. “What am I doing wrong?!”
“Hmmm…” the wise man thought on that for a second. “What do you say to these women?”
The man tilted his head. “Uh… what?”
“Pretend I am an attractive woman. What would you say to me?”
The man understood, then went into his player mode. “Hey girl,” he rolled the ‘r’ in girl; the wise man was not amused. “How you doing? What’s your—
“Stop there,” the wise man held up his hand. “What’s your sign? You aren’t serious, are you?”
“Umm…” the man blushed.
“You can’t go around making passes on people like that.” The wise man explained. “In fact, you’re going about this all wrong. Everyone tried the bar scene. Heck, I tried it in my youth, and it never worked for me or anyone!!”
The man listened intently. The wise man continued: “It wasn’t until I found someone with the same interests as me that I learned the secret to finding love…”
The man leaned in so close he was ready to fall over. “What is it…?” He whispered.
“Follow me on this now,” the wise man leaned close to the man and said, “you need to stop prowling and start connecting.”
The man’s head titled again. “…huh?”
“You see, you go looking for empty, meaningless sex. If you did succeed- and that’s a huge ‘if’- you would feel nothing. You need to look for more than sex: you need to look first for a friend, then a place, and finally, if whoever you find deems it worthy, find love.”
“I don’t understand,” the man tried to clarify; “you saying that I should LOOK to be friend zoned?!”
“Not exactly,” the wise man put up a finger. “Look for someone who shares your interests and hobbies. You have those, don’t you?”
The man nodded. “I like playing video games and I like to go bird watching.”
“That’s where you should start, then.” The wise man explained. “Find people who share those interests and get to know them. Eventually you will find your place.”
The man tried to press for more explanation but the wise man was tired. His climb down, he pondered what the old man had told him.
Eventually, he tried to look for others who shared his interests. It wasn’t easy but eventually he made friends. After a while those friends allowed him into their clique and he found his place.
It took a longer time to find love, but when he did, it was through bird watching. On the weekend before the wedding, the man made one last trip up the mountain to pay his respects to the final resting place of the wisest man he knew.