What a coinkydink

Olive catnapping on the back of the sofa this morning.

Do you notice coincidences in your daily life?

A year ago, we had a visit from some friends from our old neighborhood. They asked “Do you spend much time with Bob and Julie?” Bob and Julie were another couple from our Palm Springs life. They lived a few blocks from us, our kids went to school together and Julie and I golfed together once a week.

“No, why would we see Bob and Julie?” We had lost touch when they became a hockey family and we were immersed in swimming.

The friends said “They live close by.”‘

Now that’s a coinkydink as my daughter would say.

My daughter keeps having them about a friend who committed suicide in December. He was a big McDonald’s fan. There are many photos of him proudly showing off a Big Mac. On his birthday, she opened her front door to find a Big Mac wrapper on her doormat.

I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal called “The Hidden Power of Coincidences — Surprising concurrent events can help us reach decisions, soothe us in grief and tighten our connections to others” by Elizabeth Bernstein.

She explains in the article that people and scholars have different views about coincidences. Some see them as spiritual, others see them as completely random. Others say it’s our subconscious making connections.

In any case, some people view coincidences as comforting or adding meaning to their lives.

Here’s an excerpt:

Dr. Beitman, who founded a nonprofit called the Coincidence Project, to encourage people to share their stories, has identified four types of meaningful coincidences. 

One is serendipity, which is a sort of happy accident, such as when you’re looking for your keys and you find the earring you’ve been searching for. Another is synchronicity, a term introduced into psychotherapy by psychiatrist Carl Jung, which he described as events that seem meaningfully related but have no apparent causal connection. You’re thinking of someone you miss and their favorite song comes on the radio, for example. Seriality is what happens when you see the same number or symbol over and over again. And simulpathity is a term Dr. Beitman coined to describe the experience of feeling a loved one’s pain or distress from a distance. 

If you’d like to boost your ability to notice coincidences, there are several strategies, says Lisa Miller, a clinical psychologist who is founder of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University: Be open to them. Write them down. Talk about them with others. 


What coincidences have you noticed lately? Which category does it fall into? What are your thoughts about coincidences?

21 thoughts on “What a coinkydink

  1. Wow- for your daughter and the Big Mac wrapper. I believe that coincidences happen for a reason. Years ago, I read this book, “There Are No Accidents: Synchronicity and the Stories of Our Lives,” by Robert H. Hopke. It’s really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Although I don’t see them often, I think coincidences are messages asking us to be aware of something. That initial moment of awareness, when they occur, should be noted.

  3. This is indeed thought provoking. There haven’t been any coincidences lately that I remember, but I’m sure there were some of the type you’ve described.

  4. For a mainly logical person, I read into coincidences as signs. I’m not above thinking that there often things at play to make you recognize something you may not have noticed or though about

  5. I enjoyed your story about your daughter discovering the Big Mac wrapper. That strikes me as more of a sign than a coincidence. Did seeing the wrapper bring her any comfort?
    I also saw your initial commenter’s book recommendation and will add it to my TBR list.

  6. I don’t see a lot of coincidences in my life but when I do notice them they can be comforting. Did your daughter feel better seeing the wrapper? I feel like that was an interesting coincidence or perhaps a sign.

  7. I notice interesting coincidences at the time, then forget about them. I may write them down before forgetting. I’m most likely in the “subconscious connection” camp. They are fun, though!

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