When we first meet someone, and maybe for the first 3-6 months of dating, we’re on our best behaviour. We put our best self forward, act as loving and kind as we can, and generally let a respectable amount of time lapse before allowing those icky habits and less-likable parts of our personalities shine through.
But what if you flipped that on its head and came clean right from the start about ALL your insanities? Instead of trying to sell yourself and your good points?
That’s the notion Alain de Botton has anyway, which I came across in his highly entertaining talk On Love.
“If I was running the world, one of the key questions we would always ask one another on an early dinner date is, ‘How are you crazy? I’m crazy like this – how about you?'” he says.
Then, the idea is, you’d have a calm, well-thought-out, non-hysterical discussion about all those nutty, turn-off aspects of your personality. Thereby preparing you (and your beloved) for the day when the shit hits the fan and feelings are hurt. The ‘calm discussion of one’s insanities’ to a person you’re falling in love with is, de Botton believes, one of the greatest gifts you can give them.
Who knows: maybe many break-ups could be avoided by actually being totally upfront from the start about who we are, how batshit crazy we are, and exactly what the other person is signing on for. (And vice versa).
“We don’t need people in relationships to be perfect,” he explains. “Rather, we need them to have a handle on their imperfections, and be able to warn us and prepare us for the noxious sides of their personalities … I think the best wedding present we could give one another is a large book called ‘My Insanities’ to the other person. Think of the time we would save!”
I’m married, but I still think it’s not too late to give a book like this to my husband. It would include things like, ‘I’m crazy in that toast must be buttered right to the edges’ and ‘I’m crazy in that dishes cannot be left in the sink but rather HAVE to be put straight in the dishwasher’ and, ‘I’m crazy in that I create entire issues and problems in my head, convince myself they are quite possibly real, and then try to discuss them with my partner, hence making him crazy as well’.
Yeah, I can see how such a book might help.
How are you crazy? If you were going to write an Insanities Book for future partners, what kinds of insanities would you be putting in it?