What do we like about people?

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Hey friends,

I was having dinner with some friends the other night. The conversation turned to theorising about friends and relationships and what we like about people.

There’s this girl I’ve been hanging out with recently, and my friend Ron asked “what do you like about her?”

I found it really hard to answer that question. I said as much. What I like about someone doesn’t feel like something I could list. I probably could, if I had to write an essay about it, but it would feel disingenuous because when I like someone, or enjoy their company, it’s more of a gut instinct that “we vibe” and “we get along” and “I like hanging out with them” rather than a logical analysis of “this person has these specific traits and that’s why I enjoy spending time with them”.

But I think I’ve changed my mind about this based on what Ron said next.

He said that’s all well and good, but it’s generally good for our own self-awareness to know what we do actually like about the people in our lives. The overall ‘gut feeling’ of a “good vibe”, or the feeling of “we get along really well” isn’t some mysterious energy that can’t be analysed. It’s instead an interaction between their personality traits, our personality traits, similarity of interests and a bunch of other things.

If we can put words to those traits that we like or admire in people (whether it’s friends or romantic partners) it helps us (a) know ourselves better, and (b) helps us make decisions about the people we want to keep in our lives, now and in the future. At least that’s the theory.

I’ll try it out and report back :) In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. What do you like or admire about your friends? What do you like or admire about your partner? Does stuff immediately come to mind? Or are you like me in that you’ve never seriously tried to answer that question? If you’ve got a few minutes, do hit the <reply> button and let me know.

Have a great week!

Ali

❤️ My Favourite Things

🎧 Audiobook - Listening to The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. It’s a book about the idea of 'Wholehearted living' that Brown concluded after years of research into shame, vulnerability, and self-worth. I’m finding that I’m pausing the audiobook at so many points during each chapter when she says something powerful and I need a few minutes to absorb it. Super interesting listen so far, would recommend.

🎙 Podcast - Listening to episode #1309 of The Joe Rogan Experience with Naval Ravikant. Can’t believe I’ve never listened to this before...

🎧 Audiobook - Continuing to listen to Radical Candor about building strong relationships within your team and creating inspirational culture that brings the best out of all the members. Really useful in a work context but also some good lessons for personal life.

✍️ Quote of the Week

"Somehow we realise that great stories are told in conflict, but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in. We think God is unjust, rather than a master storyteller."

From A Million Miles in a Thousand Years - Donal Miller. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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