Social networks – the red thread

May 8, 2012

How many times have you heard “it’s such a small world”?  Every time we make a link to someone through someone else, it seems like a miracle that we know them.  When we realize that our interests create social networks that bring those with similar interests in focus and increase the chances of knowing someone within that world, it makes a bit more sense and doesn’t seem like such a crazy coincidence.  I think the size of someone’s world (their social network) is directly proportional to the person’s willingness to communicate and make connections.

I work with someone that has incredible stories of connections regularly – so many you start to wonder how she could connect with so many people so often.  But when you get to know her, you understand why.  She is so friendly and caring and is always going out of her way to help others and get to know them by making connections with them.  She is a definite people person!  I have to relay the most amazing connection I have heard her tell me, which really had nothing to do with her, but rather with her husband, Peter, (who is also a people person) and her son, Kyle (who by association is likely social as well).

Her son was living in Vancouver and was invited to a birthday party one evening.  He didn’t really feel like going, but felt he should probably make an appearance.  Unbeknownst to him, a girl named Danielle was also invited to that party and had considered not going, but decided she needed a break from her studies so would go for an hour or so.  Well needless to say, Danielle and Kyle met – the birthday boy was known to both of them for different reasons.  They hit it off and started dating.  After their first official date, they started making connections that seemed unbelievable.  It turns out that Kyle’s Dad had stayed with Danielle’s parents in Hong Kong over 25 years ago.  The link was that they were all missionaries.  While Kyle knew his Dad had been to Hong Kong, he didn’t know anything about the people he had stayed with.  Kyle’s Dad hadn’t stayed in touch with Danielle’s parents and had no contact with them following his visit.  Danielle was raised in Hong Kong and had come to Vancouver to attend post secondary.  Long story short, Kyle and Danielle were married this past January and  Kyle’s Dad was reunited with Danielle’s parents at the wedding.  They even found a picture of Danielle and Kyle’s Dad – she was a toddler helping him pack his suitcase for his return back to Canada 25 years ago.  A coincidence?  No.  A robust social network? Yes!

Danielle and Kyle may have both been raised in different countries, however, the red string that tied them together was their common religious faith background.  Their faith background had them socializing in the same circles.  Their meeting may have been a chance meeting, however, not chance as we might first think considering they lived in a big city and were raised half a world apart. Propinquity and homophily definitely played a role in this meet up!


  1. Hi Heather!

    I found your blog via your LinkedIn profile.

    Randi and I were just talking about the red string of fate not too long ago.

    Kyle and Danielle’s story is pretty cool. It reminds me of one I saw on TV once about an engaged couple who was looking at some old photos. There was one of the girl at Disney World when she was a toddler. The man noticed that he recognized someone in the background of the shot and realized that it was his dad, pushing him in a stroller! Pretty amazing that the exact instant in time when their paths first crossed was captured on film.

    • Ken,
      Thanks for following – do you blog as well? Your story has given me goosebumps! Incredible!! I believe things happen for a reason and that includes crossing paths with people – especially when they cross multiple times!

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