Thursday, August 09, 2007

Giving 50%

A friend passed on the following advice from their psychiatrist: Practice giving 50%. In a world of 110% expectations, that sounds kind of silly, but here's what it means.

Some people have a tendency to completely throw themselves into a relationship (friendly, romantic, whatever) 100%. This isn't in and of itself a bad thing, especially if they're around lots of other people like themselves. But it can get to the point where such a person meets too many "zero percenters" and they become primarily responsible for the majority of the relationships in their lives, and everything that makes a relationship "work" depends on them. Even for people who are inherently relationship-oriented this way, this can become a huge pressure and a burden. So you practice giving 50%. Practice letting other people meet you halfway and appreciating that balance.

I've been thinking a bit about how I relate to this. I sometimes feel like I tend to be very much at the extremes: you get all or nothing with me. Maybe not nothing nothing all the time, but there's definitely a gap in the middle. Odd, since in so much of my life I strive for balance and a happy medium. But it's true that I have very few good friends, and lots of acquaintances. And there are even a great many people whom I quite like but that I don't really feel as close to as might make sense. So for me this advice would be geared more towards having a wider range of relationship types. Good for quality of life in general, I think, but also as a cushion of sorts if anything goes awry in one of the "100%" areas.

I think I'm kind of taking the percentage concept in a couple slightly different ways here, but it's an interesting one to mull over and apply in different ways.

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