The 8 slice pizza proposal: A fresh relationship perspective for those single and dating
“It’s just so hard,” Sally said. “To keep up my motivation after he’s gone. You know?” I nodded, sitting across from my teary eyed friend, and shoveling the final forkful of our oat pancakes in my mouth. So they broke up; everything looked hollow, and Sally’s experience is not rare. For many people, the presence, or even just the idea, of that special someone can serve as the spark which ignites a flame of purpose and passion into the rest of their daily live’s.
“Do you have any ideas as to how to stay excited about life while I’m single?” she asked.
I nodded again. I don’t always have solutions, but you can almost always count on me for ideas. “Did I tell you about my 8 slice pizza approach?” I said with excitement.
“Um no,” she sounded intrigued. “But please do.”
Indeed, one’s approach to their singleness or dating life can look surprisingly similar to a pizza. Below I will outline the three most common categories, and end with my personal favorite pizza advice.
Group I: The Pizza Delivery Fantasy
Desperately wishing for deliverance of loneliness and simultaneously fearing awkward moments of rejection, members of this group rarely step foot outside their home. You can count on them to meditate on a long lists of ideal spousal qualities during solitary meditative prayer sessions, but all effort stops there. Despite their lack of social interaction with the world, they harbor high hopes that one day the pizza delivery person will arrive on horseback, ring the doorbell, knock them off their feet like a domino, and gallop away for a sunset picnic.
Pros: The pizza picnic. On a more serious note, waiting for good reasons can produce perseverance of character.
Cons: Passively wishing for a fantasy encourages a “delay in living” mindset, until a rescuer steps in.
Group II: The Pizza Runners
On the other hand, those irritable and inpatient with their stubbornly single status have launched a counter-movement to the delivery fantasy: the pizza run. Pizza runners are on the hunt. Relentless, they gather as many dates as possible and track their options in formulaic excel spreadsheets as they go. Typically pizza runners hold their standards on one of two ends of an extreme continuum . Either they keep the bar so low that anyone possessing a pulse is considered eligible. Or, more commonly, the volume of their options induces a choice anxiety so severe that they never arrive at a committal decision.
*Note to those engaging in excel spreadsheet behavior: The practical application of your computer statistics skills is quite commendable! However, unless you wish to provoke repeated face palms among the entirety of your dating data pool, than try to keep your excel documents under strict a password lock down.
Pros: By meeting a variety of people you will get to know yourself and others better in the process.
Cons: Paralysis by the “paradox of choice” is a rampant condition among millennials that can leach away gratitude for opportunities in front of you. Also you risk turning away the kind and sensitive people who would rather be a date than a data point.
Group III: The Cheese Stands Alone
Single and fiercely proud of it, members of this group broadcast their said joy over instagram memes about sleeping diagonally, and spotify playlists of Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independent” on repeat. As a disclaimer, I hold nothing against those with a personal choice or genuine need for independent seasons. Medical school course loads and healing hearts are among the first to come to mind. But in my observation, often times these group members–even the most fiercely proud– actually do want someone in their life. However, the pain of being alone in their unmet relational expectations is so great, that they attempt to anesthetize it by staying busy and denying the desire all together. Afterall, it’s considered much more culturally acceptable to fake apathy than it is to vulnerably admit effort or rejection.
Pros: You will become personally established in your skills of self sufficiency. You can eat a lovely cheese pizza all by yourself.
Cons: The denial will catch up to you.
Pizza my Heart and The 8 Slice Proposal
Now, let’s return to the brunch table where I was about to share the idea with recently single Sally.
Pushing the remainder of my syrupy soaked oats aside, I laid a butter knife straight across the center of the big blue plate before giving her four action steps of advice.
- “Picture your life as an 8 slice pizza, with each section representing a dream or goal for your future.” I quartered the plate with my fork, granted myself permission to reach for her knife, and kept talking.
“Make ONE of your slices marriage and family. Go ahead: write down and pray for all those specific qualities you’ve always wanted.” She nodded, almost like she had done this before.
“But then, ask yourself what you want for your life in the other seven slices. So maybe you have a career slice, a friendship slice, and a Hawaiian pizza slice, just because you like tropical travel and rest– write that down too.” Her eyes widened.
- “Give each slice an equal measure of effort, thought, and attention.”
A moment of silence passed as Sally stared down at the plate which now resembled a wheel of serving utensils.
“So what you’re saying,” she started, “is that I gave this guy about 6 slices of the pizza, my heart, and he never wanted anything serious, and now I feel like my life is just a slice of going to work, and that’s it?”
Yes, that’s correct. To help prevent this all too common phenomenon, practice portion control, especially (as was Sally’s case) in undefined early stages. Excessive focus on the “single missing piece” only expands it and creates a crushing expectation on the other person. Just think about how would you feel if you met someone who said, “Hey Sally, I really like you, and from now on I expect you to fill 80% of my internal emptiness.” Um, please take the pizza and run.
Why the 8 Slice Strategy?
At first Sally worried that by allowing herself to pursue the other seven slices of her life, she could miss out someone special, and she’s not alone in her concern. But ironically, when the time comes, her future spouse will thank her for arriving into the relationship with a life full of interesting slices to share. Also, the 8 slice proposal does NOT deny your hopes and desires. But rather, it enriches the vision of your life by infusing purpose and motivation regardless of status.
Practical Application: Let’s just say you dream of an Argentinian honeymoon excursion involving southern hemispherical spooned stargazing, fluent Spanish language conversing among the locals, and trekking the Andes mountains. Well, you could hold out for the pizza delivery fantasy. But you could also prepare for the adventure, whether or not the honeymoon is in the near future. Three years down the road if you still happen to be single, but you’ve mastered a second language, paid off your student loans, and developed a fitness ready to climb a mountain, I highly doubt you would deem the efforts a waste. Besides, you could still travel there anyway, and you might even meet a gaucho muy guapo en route.
Happy pizza party everyone!