Opening the lines of communication on March 9, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
There’s a lot said about not pushing people to change and just accepting differences. Yet, good relationships are supposed to involve lots of communicating, which suggests it is for working out differences. How do you know which issues are important and which ones are simply annoying?
Brilliant question. Practical answer: it’s all relative. Here’s a project for everyone wondering the same thing: make a list of all the issues in your relationship. All of them. Even the dumb stuff. Everything. From “We have different styles of handling money” to “”How can she not think that what the President does under his desk is his own business?” to “Ketchup on eggs?” Don’t worry, you’re not going to have to show it to anyone (though Breakup Girl is always curious about these things). Now put it away for a day (you may wish to encrypt it in Navajo). Take it out and add more. Put it away again for a few days. Now take it out one more time, curl up with some chamomile and a highlighter, and read. Now that you see all the issues together in one context, you tell me: which ones are important and which ones are just annoying? My sense is that since you thought to ask this question in the first place, you’ll know what’s worth highlighting.