Friday, October 24, 2014
Like They Were Dating
Out in the field today they were talking about two people we know who worked together and tried to keep their relationship secret from their colleagues. Their colleagues figured it out because, and I quote, "They started fighting like they were dating."
Labels: observations, psychology
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It's something of a cliche, but I think it holds true - couples tend to argue in a certain way.
Now, personally I actually view this as a good thing. Communication is important, and different people, no matter how much they love each other, see the world in different ways and have different beliefs and values. Now, when you spend a lot of time with someone, naturally those disconnects are going to cause friction, but I'd far rather see a couple fighting a bit too frequently than never at all.
Why? Because I believe one's willingness to discuss difficult topics and face potential cognitive dissonance in the face of differing beliefs and values is a sign of one's affections for others. Dismissing a dissenting opinion wholesale and out of hand is easy, but actually trying to listen to someone else's views and try to find a middle ground with them takes effort and personal investment.
The simple truth is we're more willing to put up with bigger annoyances, frustrations, and general unplesantries from the people we care about most. The fact that we're willing to "fight" with our loved ones is evidence our of desire to understand and respect them.
Things can be taken too far, of course, and sometimes people tear each other apart by fighting out of selfish motivations - but there's a reason "bickering like an old married couple" holds true.
I would say these things are very personal and individual. If one doesn't like this sort of fighting, there's no reason to try to fight in order to meet some Fighting Standard of Relationship Excellence. I've been in relationships where the other person immediately started bickering and fighting, as though that were a natural concomitant of intimacy. But to me such fighting is a complete turn-off. Those relationships didn't last very long. I've also been flummoxed when I've had a bickering interaction with someone, and third parties have concluded we were about to start dating. Arguing is NOT a romance universal.
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