Thursday, February 11, 2010

Reflections on Relationships

I think interpersonal interactions are some of the most interesting aspects of being human, and have spent something like thousands of hours over the last several years analyzing and dissecting every aspect of guy-girl relationships. My sophomore year at Wheaton, there would times when I would spend eight hours a day going over every new detail or potential development in a certain situation with my group of relational advisors. I had about 15 guys and a number of girls as well that I would confide in, and with any new development I would make my rounds, getting feedback and advice. People have told me that I overanalyze things, so if you’re reading this and thinking um I need to say something…don’t worry, it’s been said. After a while I decided this was becoming a little ridiculous, and did cut down on the time spent in this area. I have often wondered how much higher my gpa could have been if I had arranged my time slightly differently... But hey, there was a whole lot that I learned in college that didn’t take place in class.

It wasn’t only my own situation that we would discuss, but a lot of people would also come to me and bring their questions and problems. I was always interested to hear what was going on and offer my interpretation and sometimes suggestions for the way forward. My first year at NEGST, I made a decision that I would avoid all the problems I faced at Wheaton, with the hope that my academic performance would adjust accordingly. I decided I wouldn’t become good friends with girls, wouldn’t spend a lot of time talking to them, and wouldn’t become close. I was coming here to study, and my primary goal in coming here was not to find girls, which I did not necessary expect to find here. I was somewhat surprised when I was met at the airport….but that’s another story. Since when I first came I didn’t know how flirting and such things are perceived in this context, there were some girls I was afraid to look at. I remember sitting in one of the first events of the single’s community here, when we all introduced ourselves. People went around and introduced themselves: name is “ –“, and I’m single and praying. Name is “ – “, and I’m single and waiting. Name is “ – “, and I don’t want to become the Pope.

Now I’m fairly sure I am as interested in getting married as any of them, but I would never put it in those terms. I guess in my particular American conservative-Christian cultural background being discreet and avoiding being obvious is prized above all else. I made note of any such female personages and was extra distant with them…just to be sure. Possibly I was too careful, but it worked, and I never had any problems in this arena last year. So if you want to know how to avoid such drama, that’s how you do it. This is very debatable, but I personally tend to feel that a close guy-girl friendship is by definition impossible. Yes, there are some exceptions, and I can think of a few examples in my life of that, but it is for all practical purposes impossible. Now in my definition, I would say that if at any point either one of them becomes interested in the other it is no longer merely a friendship. It may appear to be such, but that is not actually the case. So you can fairly easily have a functional friendship, but it most likely will shift at some point.

It often amazes me that anything ever works out. I have so much respect for all the married couples I know, especially those that have made it work for like a long time. It’s impressive to me. Now I have thought about this a fair amount, and I do really feel that if you both make the commitment, then there is no reason it wouldn’t work out. The key as I see it to recognize that the person you’re with is almost certainly not the best possible person for you. The goal is not to find the best possible person, that “one” this is idly waiting out there for you. The goal is to find someone that is compatible enough with you, and then commit to being with them.

I think if you’re trying to find the most ideal person, you’ll find someone and be so excited. Yeah, this is great, and this is the person I’m supposed to be with. But then, when things start not going so well, or you meet someone else, you realize, wow, that other person is actually a lot better for me. So you end it, and that attitude will not stop once you’re married. I question that very premise. You will never find the person you are best suited for. Like seriously, there are six billion people in this world. So don’t try! I’m fairly sure there are a number of girls somewhere I could marry and have it work. The key now becomes to have high enough standards that the person you choose fits into that category. For example, when I was dating, I made the decision: I’m pretty sure if I spent the next fifty years full-time just looking, I could find someone I’m more compatible with than you (now that could take like thirty-five years, because I was pretty happy with her, but eventually, it’s a pretty good chance). So I don’t care. You’re not the best person for me. But I’ve chosen you, which means I do not care who else I meet. It becomes utterly irrelevant to the decision that has been made. But not everyone thinks that way, as I found out. However, I maintain that attitude, which is what I will bring into my next relationship. Now the goal is to find someone else who thinks that way…and I hope it doesn’t actually take thirty two more years.


m.peter.chang said...

Oh, Dave...

Andrew in America said...

haha actually dave i agree with almost everything you're saying here... i mean, it's totally true that what will make a marriage work (i think!) is just commitment, and all the stuff about being "the one" is just kinda dumb... as if you're not ever gonna have any problems.

although i think where we disagree is that i think it's good to take a bit of time together (you could say "dating" if you want i guess) and get to know each other better before you decide for sure that they are the one you're gonna choose. i think you can get to know someone.. differently than when you are just friends, and that's important too.

so basically i don't think you have to decide that he/she is the person you're going to pick right away. or if that's not what ur saying, then like, nvm lol