A key to Successful Relationships in All Walks of Life
I was talking to a female friend the other day. She was frazzled, and a bit disgruntled about a conversation she had had with a colleague of hers. It had left her with a conundrum of sorts. She was caught in a philosophical bind after the conversation.
Before I go further, I ought to provide you with some insight regarding her.
She is really a smart girl, one of the smarter girls I’ve known, and she is what some people would refer to as a “do-gooder.” Perhaps, it’s one of my favorite things about her: she is an idealist. She sees the way the world is and wants to somehow make it better. She strives to create a better environment. I mention this because it’ll be relevant momentarily.
She tells me about the conversation she had with her colleague. This colleague/ acquaintance was ranting to her that everyone is selfish. Ultimately, we are all selfish. We do things for ourselves, not for other people. He tells her that there is no difference between what she or he does.
She tells him about the type of work she does, charitable causes she volunteers her time for, and so forth.
“Well, I work with foundation x,y.z, and I put a lot of time and sacrifice and donate a lot of my time to improve this situation..’”
To which, her detractor replied: “Yes, but you do it for them, because it makes you feel good.”
She was visibly upset. It’s a bit of philosophical conundrum. How can such two people be see similarly? Thus, the following conversation took place between us:
“How can he say everyone is selfish? I do so much, and work hard, while he does x,y,z…. He compares those together and makes it sound like we are completely similar? It makes me mad, and it’s f*cked up.” (And this is someone who usually doesn’t curse)
Yeah, I’ve heard that argument before.
It’s bullshit. How can people say I’m selfish when I do for others?
Well, he is right in some ways. We all do things because in some way they make us feel good. Even the sacrifices we make server a greater purpose within us.
Come on! You can’t compare….
—You’re right. You can’t. I’ve heard that argument before and it was from a sleazy boss that I had.
what did you say?
Nothing at the time. It wasn’t the right situation to argue. I’ve realized though, it comes down to values. We all have core values.
So then, what do I mean by core-values?
If you figuratively stripped away all of the layers off of someone’s personality, you’d get to their essence, their core Values. These are values that govern their lives, and they’re the fundamental building blocks of what follows.
Let me put it this way; take someone who has dedicated themselves to charitable causes. Mother Theresa is the prominent and cliché example that pops into mind. She helped people because it made her feel good. She certainly didn’t do it because it made her feel bad.
On the other extreme, take as an example someone like Hitler. Committed genocide, atrocities, killed millions of people, some of them his own. Wanted to rule the world, etc, etc…. Why? It also made him feel good at the end of the day. He certainly didn’t do it because it made him feel bad.
Both people did it to make themselves feel good. It’s WHAT they felt good about, that’s key here.
One felt good helping other people live a better life. The other felt good by ruling as a dictator, committing murder, and conducting ethnic cleansing of men, women and children of all ages.
They just had different core values. It’s that simple. Now, those are two extreme examples but they help blatantly in illustrating the point. We all do things that make us feel good, and those are governed by our core values.
I did tell my friend that, “And by the way, for future reference, anyone who ever brings up that argument in a discussion is someone who wants to screw u over. It’s usually a scumbag type, who is looking for a way to rationalize his own behavior so he can sleep better at night.”
Don’t encourage it. Better to have identified a scumbag and move on. Interestingly enough, con men and swindlers also use similar type of faulty logic to justify what they do. Even they don’t want to feel bad about what they’re doing.
Well, all of this sounds like a wonderful philosophical discussion I had with a friend, but what’s the point of this article, you may be wondering.
Simple: When it comes to dating, relationships, and friendships, it’s best to seek people who haves similar core-values. Just as mother Theresa and Hitler wouldn’t make good friends, neither do people with less striking polarities.
If you’re the ambitious type who also likes to discover new places, learn about new people and cultures, you’ll have a hard time working a relationship where the other individual lacks those values. Your relationship will inevitably fail.
It’s only a matter of time.
If it’s one axiom I’VE COME TO know by heart in terms of relationships, it is this importance of sharing similar core values with friends, girlfriends, lovers and so forth.
People often make the mistake of thinking that friendships are built solely on commonalities. Even more so, some people mistakenly assume that strong relationships are formed only because of shared hobbies. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Nowhere is this discourse or idiosyncrasy, more apparent than in large groups brought together by a commonality.
Core values form deep friendship. Whether it’s a college fraternity/sorority, social club, or the ski club, people can be definitely brought together through a common hobby. People who share the same common hobby can possess vastly different core values. What you’ll observe is that over the course of time, people with similar core-values WITHIN those common groups will be bound together.
This was part of the experience of the infamous Project Hollywood that you may have read about. People were brought together by a common hobby. That’s all it was, a hobby, and yet quickly, people of similar values bonded and eventually, the entire thing imploded.
On the surface, everyone pretended to get along, but underneath something deeper and darker was brewing. In the famous words of Morgan Freeman from “The Shawshank Redemption” it was like geology: “Study of pressure and time.”
That’s what that is: when you have dissimilar core values, it’s pressure through time and that will disintegrate.
Irrespective of age, gender and ethnicity, people of polarized core-values will inevitable clash. Oliver Stone’s epic Vietnam movie, “Platoon” does an extraordinary job depicting this amongst American soldiers who are essentially on the same side. (PS. If you haven’t seen “Platoon”, well, you’re probably missing one of the greatest war movies ever made.)
College fraternities/sororities, business partnerships, corporate boardrooms, marriages, relationships, sports teams, friendships, and the military will bring people together for a common cause per se. Even then, the people fighting for the same military will either attract or repel each other based on core values. Again, Platoon does a superb job of clearly depicting the sheer conflict that rises out of clashing core-values even amongst people fighting on the same side.
Core values can range from loyalty and integrity to being ambitious and being progressive. As an example, liking to travel is a hobby. Even it’s your favorite thing in the world, it’s still a hobby. On the other hand, having a deep rooted desire to constantly evolve and learn new things could be considered a core-value.
In the dating world, you’re better off recognizing it early, and choosing close friends and lovers carefully. Divorce lawyers make a killing off of people who haven’t.
While this blog is mostly concerned with dating, it’s good to be reminded of some of the most fundamental principles in human relationships: That it comes down to sharing similar Core-Values.