Friday, July 26, 2013

Petey's dating manual: Be considerate

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

The golden rule, as it is typically understood, is a reasonable approximation of consideration but does not capture it fully, as how I wish to be treated is not the same as other people wish to be treated.

It's true that we all have the same needs; for example, the needs to learn, to be free, and to love. And yet there are different ways that people can help us with those needs. The fact that our needs must be satisfied differently is the motivating idea behind the love languages theory: I might most naturally express love with my words, but if my date receives it best with service, I'd better roll my sleeves up.

The point is that consideration doesn't mean thinking of how we wish we were treated. It's about figuring out how other people want to be treated and doing that. What are my partner's love languages? What are my friends' pet peeves?

I like to measure my success by the number of times I've caused someone else to smile.

There's more. It's not just what people want – and especially not what people want now. A good parent says no to a child because it's what's best for the child and a good friend sometimes does the same. Of course, we must be very careful as we determine what is or isn't best for our friends. But in the same way that we don't give our alcoholic friends booze, we sometimes must do for our friends what they wish we wouldn't – but what they'll ultimately thank us for.

So be considerate. And by that, I mean do the best you can to contribute to the real, long-term happiness of the people around you by observing carefully and acting lovingly.


Liz said...

observing carefully and acting lovingly.

Liz said...

love it.