Tungtide

Know Thyself

Posted by tungtide on May 26, 2008, 10:08 am

There’s an article over at Yahoo that I found while randomly surfing this morning. It’s entitled “A Dozen Ways to get to Know Your Real Partner” and includes some decent advice, but oversimplifies many of the issues. As a way for readers to get to know me a littler better, and to point out where I think the list falls short, I’ll take the items point by point.

1. Protocol: First or Second – The author asks whether one person in the relationship needs to dominate and be the first to do everything. From walking through doors to getting the first bite of a batch of cookies, she feels that this is an indication of self-absorption and possibly an excessive ego. Personally, I think this is a good indicator depending upon the situation. I’ve been called a control freak in some situations – usually relating to being late for something. I have an unnatural need to be on time – but for the most part I couldn’t care about whether or not I’m the first person to do something in or out of a relationship.

2. Politics: Liberal or Conservative – While I agree that political disagreements can quickly divide a relationship or a family, there’s always more to the issue than the left and right labels. I’ve commented over on The Fletcher Memorial (If Only History Class Taught History) saying that I think both liberals and conservatives have, what they believe to be, the best interests of other people and the country in mind. There are smaller sub-segments of both groups with more “sinister” plans but those are often only the most vocal and not the majority.

3. Television: Sitcoms or News – This was the first point on the list where I felt the author was grandly oversimplifying. There are obviously most than just those two genres of television available, and despite her claim, viewing sitcoms does not mean an ignorance of world issues or a lower intelligence. I get most of my news online and hate watching most of the nightly newscasts. They are filled with fluff pieces, human interest stories, and rarely touch on issues that I feel are important. I’d rather watch a Simpson’s rerun than waste the same 30 minutes hearing a recap of stories I read about online that morning.

4. Money: Flash or Stash – Rhyming scheme aside, I don’t think that the amount of money spent on the first few dates is indicative of a guy’s financial views. Better to see how he lives, whether he’s always maxing out credit cards (or getting new ones all the time), buying the newest and greatest gadgets, basically whether he’s living within his means. This in no way means that only guys are doing this, but since they are often the ones shelling out money early in a relationship, it’s easier to find these things out about him first.

5. Stress: Freak or Peak – Again, there’s no need for the rhyming. Mellow is good, take the time to assess a situation and react and respond rationally. A partner needs to have a compatible level of stress response. I tend to be easygoing about most issues. About a year ago my sister fell during a dance practice and I was the closest emergency contact. She had fallen on her head and possibly had injured her neck. Paramedics were called and she was taken to the hospital. Her dance instructor was amazed that I didn’t freak out and start yelling and blaming him. (Apparently he’s dealt with some crazy parents before.) I asked questions, found out her status, and with the information available I determined that there was nothing else that I could do. Stressing would have been pointless. She was fine, which made my calm response all the more appropriate.

6. Conversation: You or Him/Her – Well, that depends upon the flow of the conversation. Some will focus more on me, others will focus more on you.

7. Pets – The author believes that the way someone treats pets is a direct indicator of how they will treat children. Probably true, but not all people want children. The types and number of pets are also an issue. A house with a single dog or cat will have a profoundly different effect than one with a dozen assorted critters.

8. Communication – This can’t just be broken down into listening or ignoring. If there’s a problem in the relationship, tell me. If I appear to be ignoring you, I am likely just not paying attention (get my attention and I’ll be happy to listen). On average, guys like to be problem solvers. They like to hear a problem and come up with a solution. I realize that this is a gross over-generalization of the subject, but the biggest issues in communication stem from expectations and the approach. If all you want is an ear to listen for a while, make that clear.

9. Strangers: Kind or Rude – the article mentions people such as grocery baggers and waiters as deserving of kindness. I try to be as friendly as I can to those people. I tip well (at least 20%) and will often converse with the checkers and baggers at the supermarket. If these people are rude to me first, they get no sympathy. There are other strangers that are less deserving of kindness – telemarketers and solicitors. If you are calling me or knocking on my door without prior permission to try to sell me a product/service/religion/Buick I am not going to be happy. I will be rude, ungrateful, and at times downright nasty.

10. Priorities: Family or Work  – If the only way to provide for the family is to work (or take that business trip) while the kids are sick, I’d say your priorities are still in place. Family should come first, but providing for them is equally important.

11. Appearance – Honestly, this one’s all subjective. Know that you’re not likely to change the things you don’t like about the other person (and this goes for many of his/her habits as well) unless the person wants to change.

12. Faith: Strong or Weak – The title of this one annoyed me, because there are many options besides strong and weak (such as none). The rest of the response is pretty spot on though, saying that you can learn a lot about someone by learning their core beliefs. Faith need not be one of those core beliefs, but it is important to know where someone stands on the issue.

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