Sell immediately

July 16, 2008

If it wasn’t already obvious, I increasingly see relationships (romantic and otherwise) in economic terms. I surprise myself at how callous I can be. There was once a time when I’d be much much more generous with my time and affection. But now when the relationship value proposition and the returns are consistently one-sided over a period of time, I’m increasingly willing (and able) to walk away. I wonder what that says about the person I’m becoming.

I was also wondering about what that means for me as a Christian but then for QT yesterday, I read this verse – Matthew 13:58 ” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” And decided that I wasn’t going to guilt-trip myself anymore. I’m a pretty stand up friend by most counts. Past a point, even Jesus didn’t bother.

I suppose that love analysed in economic terms is methodical and almost clinical but I still loved this article in the NYTimes. This passage in particular totally cracked me up.

“In love, the data is even clearer. Stay with high-quality human beings. And once you find you that are in a junk relationship, sell immediately. Junk situations can look appealing and seductive, but junk is junk. Be wary of it unless you control the market. (Or, as I like to tell college students, the absolutely surest way to ruin your life is to have a relationship with someone with many serious problems, and to think that you can change this person.)”

Ha! Tell it like it is. Friends, lovers… Junk is junk. Don’t waste time. “It feels different this time” and other similarly ridiculous statements trigger my reflex eye-roll. There have been situations where I’ve been too sentimental. If I had to do it again, I would have sold much quicker. Much much quicker. Also, am I the only person who thinks it is absurd that people expect me to continue to be charming to them after they’ve been bastards to me? Bizarre.

Anyway, before I get all self-righteous and indignant, I should probably also point out that the inherent assumption underlying the entire article is that just as you are screening for “high-quality bonds”, so is the other person and the value-proposition should probably work both ways.

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