Why Talk About Relationships?


A couple of weeks ago, I saw an online post complaining about how all the two women (sitting behind the poster) would talk about was relationships. Essentially, the complaint was, “of all the things to talk about in the world—why talk about relationships?”

This is not the first time I’ve seen the complaint. In fact, I used to hear it all the time when people used to complain about “Sex and the City” (the series, not the movies). It’s as though the people complaining think that discussing relationships makes a woman seem less intellectually curious, vapid, desperate, etc.

Now, you may have noticed that on occasion, I discuss relationships—often the male/female dynamic, but I’ve also waded into the friendship pool, as well. Clearly, I don’t think this makes me less engaged with the world. I’m guessing that the authors of the over 230,000 books/e-books on Amazon.com don’t believe themselves to be somehow less intelligent than their neighbors. Still, I hear the complaint, and it makes me wonder.

Why do so many people talk about relationships?

Personally, I think it’s because it is the one thing we’ll never truly understand. I have a background in Development Economics. While the theory could sometimes be dense, with enough study and practical experience, I could understand it. I could predict it. I might not always have been right, but there was a method to it.

Relationships will always keep me guessing because every person interacts with every other person based on a different set of experiences, beliefs and brain chemistries. What worked before will not necessarily work again. What went wrong before will not necessarily go wrong again (thank God). Do our behaviors have patterns? Yes (sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes not so much). But can we always find a harmonious balance between partners the way we can using a production possibilities frontier? Sadly, not (though, it might be fun to try).

Relationships will continue to mystify us long after science has found a way for us to travel faster than the speed of light. And we will continue to ask, “What did he mean by that?”

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