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Old 07-05-2008, 12:43 AM
Status: "It's Texas vs TexIZ!" (set 3 days ago)
Location: Dallas, TX
4,888 posts, read 2,759,496 times
Reputation: 4789


Communication in Relationships
or, Waitress Test 2.0 (Beta Version)

Communication is the lifeblood of ANY kind of relationship, but especially romantic ones. You would think this is so obvious that under normal circumstances it doesn’t even need mentioning, but given the high rates of both divorce and nasty break-ups, the evidence points to it not being as obvious as we tend to think. Apparently, it’s not surprising that the most memorable line in Cool Hand Luke is “What we have here is a failure to communicate”, though in a different context..

IMO, the source of many communication problems is that most people confuse communication skills with merely listening to their partner’s opinions politely. While listening politely is important, it by itself isn’t true communication any more than a dictatorship’s showpiece elections are true democracy. Successful communication involves a “meeting of the minds”, or at least agreement to disagree. Both require you and your partner be able to distinguish between the truly important traits from the ultimately trivial ones.

The truly important traits in a relationship are openminded, tolerant, compassionate, generosity, and helpfulness. The trivial traits, in addition to the usual superficial suspects (lots of money, striking beauty, a “hot bod”, smoothness and suaveness, great but superficial personality and sense of humor, etc.) include scorn for helplessness, and non-harmful forms of eccentricity, stupidity, and cowardice. After all, everybody is like this at one time or another - some even display these traits fairly often. Yet, these very things often cause us to be overly critical of our lovers - probably because there is little to nothing in our society to discourage us from scorning people who have these imperfect traits for that reason alone. Result: people don’t tell the full truth to their partners because they learned from the rest of society would ridicule them for any imperfections they perceive they have, which naturally carries over into their relationship…Or perhaps they don’t have the courage to admit it even to themselves (i.e. I won’t admit it because admitting it will prove that I am indeed a loser who isn’t worth the gum that sticks to my shoes). From there, the relationship can easily morph into accusations of lying or half-truthing, which in turn leading to mistrust, hurt feelings, and nasty breakups or divorces. Apparently, a rather cheap form of heartbreak and/or marriage insurance is to make sure your partner is highly forgiving of all the following in the first place: weirdness, oddity, timidity, and stupidity.

So how do you know if your partner (or even you yourself) truly does look past these traits and other unappealing yet harmless ones. I recommend placing them in situations that force them to deal with ideas, people, and lifestyles that are unique, different, weird, controversial, and downright distasteful - if not highly unacceptable- to huge segments of society . Just like the “The Waitress Test”, only taken one or two steps further (“Waitress Test 2.0”, if you like).

Putting Waitress Test 2.0 into Action

Take a look at the tenth (10th) image down on this page (www.zombietime.com/churchill_in_bay_area/ churchill_sf_anarchist_bookfair_march_26_2005 - broken link) Note well the caption at the bottom.

It's impossible to summarize in any succinct way the wide variety of personal and political viewpoints on display at the event. As long as it was extreme, it was OK. This woman, for example, had demonstrated her disdain for "heteronormative beauty standards" by shaving her head and permanently tattooing a mustache on her upper lip(emphases mine)

Also note well the alleged motivations for altering her appearance so radically: “her disdain for ‘heteronormative beauty standards’”.

Question: If you saw a “normal” person having an honest, deep, and (most of all) respectful discussion with this woman about her disdain for “heteronormative beauty standards” AND honestly sympathize with the reasons woman’s alteration of her appearance (extra point if appearance itself is included) -- would that make YOU more likely to admit your most self-consciously believed imperfections to that person? I’d bet the farm you would, for that signals someone who’d welcome and respect you in spite of your most “ridiculous” faults (whether truly ridiculous or merely “ridiculous” to yourself). To buzz-phrase my point “If “THEY” can be respected, then I can be respected”. This clearly encourages a climate of open communication and trust, absolutely vital ingredients to a friendship or loving relationship.

On the other hand, scornful, judgmental people who adhere to society’s rigid, traditional definition of “normal” person, are NOT very likely to encourage others to drop their front and expose their less-than-perfect selves. Indeed, they’re likely to drive away people who, whatever their trivial, non-character faults, would make loyal, heart-felt friends that can contribute wonderfully to their own lives - or make wonderful lovers. Their loss!! THIS is the reason that so many openminded people have loving trusting relationships and so many image-conscious normality-obsessed people DO NOT! While it’s true that an open minded and a lack of picky petty scorn doesn’t guarantee a romantic relationship, it’s impossible to sustain a healthy relationship without them. This is why I consider a more rigorous Waitress Test a relatively cheap form of relationship insurance.
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Old 07-05-2008, 03:55 PM
Location: S. Florida
1,100 posts, read 2,835,651 times
Reputation: 1426
What?? Uh, could you repeat that? I haven't the slightest idea what your talking about?
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Old 07-05-2008, 04:39 PM
Location: Way up high
18,921 posts, read 24,407,188 times
Reputation: 23799
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Old 07-05-2008, 06:49 PM
Location: syracuse ny
2,412 posts, read 4,789,800 times
Reputation: 2036
I caught my future wife in a little white lie on our very first date, and didn't call her on it. There was no need for her to lie, it was a none to important thing. But I simply let it go. It was a pattern that would balloon into many, many lies. I saw her out on a porch smoking a joint with her sister, she denied it.

If they can't be truthful in the initial stages, about even little things , what makes you think they'll change later on?
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