In 2005, I briefly worked as a real estate agent in New York City, renting downtown luxury apartments to European pioneers, entitled college grads from Long Island, and investment bankers with trophy wives. The job, which I took merely as a means to support myself while pursuing more "noble" efforts as a rock musician, was truly f'ing miserable. I was charging extra fees for products already available to anyone willing to spend two hours moseying through the Wall Street area on his or her own. My soul atrophying from the lack of creativity, I was as useful as a condom at a nursing home.
But I learned a lot that year – not only about the real estate industry, but about the psychology of investing. I discovered what comforts people and encourages them to commit, and what causes them to jump ship.
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Six years later, in the midst of my longest romantic relationship to date, flashes of my real estate past began flooding my overwhelmed mind. Familiar emotions such as fear, desire, anxiety and consolation were reminiscent of those I had read on the faces of many potential clients years earlier. That's when I realized that falling in love is, in many ways, just like investing in real estate. In essence, both processes are held together by checkpoints which are as stressful as they are gratifying:
Pre-Checkpoint: Playing the Field
The first stage of dating is more casually referred to as "hooking up" (or "banging," if you're looser with the goods). If you were shopping for an apartment, this would be akin to couch surfing – staying with various acquaintances as you explore new neighborhoods and search for a place of your own. With zero responsibility attached, many find playing 'Musical Chairs: Sleepover Edition' the most fun part of the entire journey and, perhaps for good reason, never grow out of it. However, the majority of us eventually desire a deeper level of connection and a more permanent "residence." Can a Friends With Benefits Relationship Really Work?