Love Beyond Awkward First Impressions

Turning an Odd, Unconventional Start Into a Beautiful Love Story

First impressions are important, but they’re not everything. Nobody knows that better than this week’s featured couple celebrating the 14th anniversary of their wedding today.

Sheel and Rick first met in 2005, but thanks to an awkward approach by Sheel, they didn’t start talking – let alone dating – until years later. But as the Lexington, Kentucky-based lovebirds can tell you, even the most unusual introductions can be overcome with a little bit of perseverance and some luck.

Let’s dive in.

How did the two of you meet?

Sheel: The story actually starts before we met. My grandmother is an OBGYN in rural eastern Kentucky close to where Rick grew up. His mom had been a patient of my grandmother's for 20 years, and one day she came in for a regular checkup and was just making small talk with my grandmother and mentioned her son had gotten into pharmacy school.

And so my grandmother was like, “oh, where's he gonna go because my granddaughter is looking into going into pharmacy and is applying to schools right now.” So my grandmother calls me that night and is like, “Hey, there's this new school opening up and it'd be great if you wanted to apply there, you'd be close to us.”

I was going to the Appalachian Mountains from Chicago and didn't know anybody. A lot of the kids at the school were from that area, so they knew each other. My grandmother, being an OBGYN, had delivered thousands of kids, so she knew a couple people that were going to that school. She told me a couple of people's names, including Rick because she knew his mom.

And so I walked up to him in the library, and I tapped him on the shoulder. And the first thing I said to him was, “hey , my grandmother delivered you.” And he turned around and he said, “No, I don't think so.”

That’s a bold opening line. Rick, what did you think of that?

Rick: Well, in all fairness, I thought she was extremely weird. First of all, I don't know my mother's doctor. I had no clue who she was. I mean, this random stranger walks up to me inside the school library was like, out of the blue “Hey, my grandmother delivered you.” I wanted to end the conversation there. That was the last time we really spoke for about two years.

Sheel: I eventually found out my grandmother did not deliver him. She started seeing his mom a year or two after he was born. I assumed my grandmother did his delivery because she had delivered a lot of other kids in the area.

Two years later, Sheel had a mutual friend arrange a dinner between the three of them so that she could make a better impression.

 Rick: [Our friend] gets up to go to the restroom and it's just me and her talking. And the next words out of her mouth were just “I’m here because of you.” And I was just like “What? This the second interaction I've had with you.” And it was just weird.

Even though they didn’t hit it off from the start, fate placed the two in the same town for their pharmacy school rotations, forcing them to spend time together and get to know each other. Soon, they started to click.

Rick: We eventually went on a date. We went on a hike, went to Subway and then watched a movie at her place.

Sheel: And Wednesday is our anniversary. We’ve been married for 14 years.

Sheel, do you have any advice for people who feel like they might not have made the best first impression?

Sheel: I feel like even though that was an odd interaction, it’s also something I would do and it showed my personality. So continue to be yourself, eventually you’ll win people over. I wouldn’t try to purposefully be someone you’re not. And then it all works out in the end!

Rick, how do you feel about giving someone who didn’t make a great first impression another chance?

Rick: Don’t stick to your first impressions. People are people, they’re going to say things and make mistakes and do things that are out of character, or maybe that are out of your character.

You need to give people a chance and get to know them for who they are. Once I got to know Sheel, that is such a Sheel thing to do. She’s super quirky and hilarious. She keeps you on your toes.

Give somebody a chance, talk to them a little bit more and you might realize that quirky thing is one of the things you actually really like about them.

Today’s Quote: 

First impression is unfair because a first impression of somebody is guarded, and you don’t know the person. 

Frank Oz; Actor and Puppeteer

🤔 Poll of The Day:

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📊 Last Week We Asked…

Can animals (wildlife or pets) play a significant role in strengthening a relationship?

  • 76% said “Yes, they bring us closer and teach us important life lessons.”

  • 24% said “I think it depends on the couple.”

And one meet-cuter shared: “Yes they bring us closer together. The happiness can be shared, the disappointment can be shared. We are going through a fair bit of the latter with our dog at the moment with her troublesome behaviors. But we talk about it, and that’s the important thing, to bounce off each other, good or bad, which brings us closer and to have a deeper knowledge of each other in how we feel. I would say it might not take a pet to do this, but perhaps another experience.”

Interviewed and transcribed by Nicolas Vega. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.