While chatting in the comment section with friends about my Looking Inside post, another subject crept it’s way into the conversation.
In the course of discussing how other people’s annoying behavior mirrors our own, the topic also came up about how we sometimes choose friends with opposite characteristics from ourselves (thanks to Kate).
For example, when I met my husband, his optimism attracted me. At the time, I thought myself to be of the pessimist persuasion and hoped his optimism would rub off on me. As I got to know him and his optimistic family, I was even more drawn to him. It was my goal in life to start thinking positive. I hoped to balance optimism with realism.
Later I learned that the characteristics which attract us to someone in the beginning, are many times the very cause of relationship issues.
I discovered that my new family, wasn’t so much optimists as they were ostriches. In other words, they buried their heads in the sand to uncomfortable situations. They literally pretended like any negative occurrence in life wasn’t really happening. To be fair, it was mostly one person, but the rest usually followed that person’s lead.
When something came up, like a time to grieve, we were supposed to pretend like it didn’t happen and try to think positive. You can imagine how that went over when we were struggling with infertility.
This not only goes for choices in spouses, but also in friends. I noticed that I admire certain attributes of my besties that are not in me. I think we do need some of these opposite attributes in order to balance out relationships. One example might be how my husband stays calm in an emergency and I tend to panic. On the other hand, I’m more assertive, where my husband wouldn’t speak up and may even become a doormat. We help/balance each other out in those areas.
This is not to say that we don’t find friends and partners with things in common. There is no way that I could have a relationship with anyone who doesn’t get my sense of humor. You know, humor can be touchy. People have different kinds and we don’t always find someone’s joke funny. Thankfully, my husband and my besties all “get” each other’s sense of humor. My besties and I giggle like teenagers when we’re together. My husband is the wittiest man I know. I believe humor is what helped us through rough patches.
Despite having some differences that might cause difficulties, there is always a way to work them through, if two people really want to. In my novel, Whit’s End, there are plenty of examples of such issues for two women and their troubled marriages.
Do you have an opposite characteristic from someone in your life?