There’s family, and then there’s everyone else…
The All-Or-Nothing Strategy
Either you get married, or it’s a no. Me.
A radical way to make a decision is to consider the long term. Are you ready to be friends with this person for life, or does the idea make you hesitate? If you feel a hint of hesitation, the answer is no, and you should not waste your time building something with that person. This thought should apply to all things in life. After all, time is limited, and it’s regrettable to waste it. If you don’t feel a deep joy or enthusiasm for something, you should refrain from doing it. Of course, this thought is mainly applicable to the major life decisions (career, friends, spouse, place of living, etc.).
Time and energy are limited resources. The biggest regrets of adults often boil down to the time wasted with the wrong people and wrong activities.
If we tolerate others’ flaws, it’s because we’re afraid of loneliness. Once the fear of loneliness is permanently removed, we tend to reconsider the people around us. This is a mistake. It’s far better to accept loneliness rather than to associate with people whose flaws we disapprove of internally. Of course, it’s not possible to find perfect friends or surroundings, are we perfect ourselves? What’s wise is to have defined the red lines we don’t want our acquaintances to cross. That’s why it’s important not to get too involved at the beginning when getting to know someone. Observing others’ flaws and motivations takes time. It would be unwise to create deep bonds with someone who doesn’t quite share our values.
The Sunk Cost Fallacy
There’s a cognitive bias that is often criticized. It’s about sunk costs. It states that it’s difficult to disengage from a project or a relationship when we’ve invested time or energy. This negative phenomenon is particularly observable in the stock market or at the casino, for example. Of course, it’s a bias that can be negative in relationships: for example, we tend to stay close to our family even if it’s toxic because we’ve invested so much time with it.
Inertia Isn’t Always Bad
However, this bias is positive when we’ve made good decisions. Imagine now that you’ve chosen a professional vocation that makes you happy, you’ve spent a lot of time studying it, and you’ve worked several years to perfect your art. When you encounter difficulties in your job, the sunk costs you’ve invested encourage you to persevere. Here, they play a positive role because you’ve chosen the right vocation at the base, and your passing dissatisfactions should not stray you from the essential.
Sunk Costs Also Help Good Relationships
Imagine now that you got married for the right reasons with the right person. The sunk costs invested will help you overcome the difficulties inherent in any couple relationship because they will give you patience and faith in the future of the relationship.
Identify The Weak Signals
What’s difficult to predict is the future by definition because it hasn’t happened yet. Anyone you’re going to meet will send you strong and weak signals. In signal theory, a strong signal refers to an unequivocal result whose magnitude is visible. It’s the overall curve of a wave as it appears, for example, on the oscilloscope. Weak signals refer to the residual elements that parasitize the shape of the wave at certain points without modifying the overall curve of the wave in question. Applied to behaviors and real life, strong and weak signals are respectively the manifest and discreet behaviors of a person. Strong signals should be paid attention to because they correspond to what a person is in the present, but weak signals should also be heeded because they are the latent tendencies of the individual that will translate into the future reality of this person. Concretely, a strong signal is, for example, someone who behaves generously openly, and a weak signal is the fact that this person makes discreet reproaches or has particular expectations barely expressed after rendering a service or giving a gift. Both elements are important, and sometimes the weak signal is more important because it indicates a change, a future trajectory, the one towards which you will inevitably go.
The Distillation Technique
To know if a person is good for you, you need to observe them in various situations, preferably situations where you are in a position of weakness or apparent difficulty, and see how they react. A distillation apparatus is a device that allows separating different elements or liquids after heating to collect, for example, an essence. The undifferentiated starting liquid represents your good and bad acquaintances. The fire represents the trials, and the distillation your mental process of selection. The final essence corresponds to your true friends. Obtaining an essence takes time, but everything worth having requires time and effort.
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