Why Do I Like You?

April 1, 2009

Some weeks back, The Wife and I drove up to Portland, Maine. We ate, met folks, danced, drank, saw a fantabulous show, had a great time, and for good measure, solved all sorts of world problems. But along the way there and back, we talked. Primarily, we talked about you. And you and you and you. Most especially you.

“Why do we like like the people we do?” “What about them separates them from the many people we don’t really like–or even more so, the people we really don’t like?” “Why do I just want to be in the audience for some people, yet others I want to know and befriend?”

We can’t just feel some way–we have to know why we feel as we do. We have to analyze and understand. Did someone just whisper “INTP”? Don’t judge!

So on this drive, we didn’t just talk, we actually figured out the answer. At least for the people I like. The answer may work for you too, though I make no representations whatever. And of course it’s not a complete answer. Even for the most analytic types, the process of human attraction, identification, and affection are idiosyncratic. Our interactions are based as much on an elusive “chemistry” as on rational principles. But there are strong correlations. Drumroll, please…

The people I like most have a sort of completeness.

They marry a sophisticated, mature, savvy view of the world with a joyous embrace of informality and humor. They’re adults that are happy to play. They’re grown-ups who are well in touch with–and thoroughly encourage and embrace–their inner children. They may vent, but they don’t whine. Not everything is about them. But they’re not unhappy for things to be about them, either.

They are adult and child simultaneously, and shift between the roles and facets in their lives as the situation demands. They are high art and erudite science one moment, lowbrow humor the next. Or maybe even at the same time. They are dented but unblemished; frayed but fresh; confident but not certain; brilliant but common-sense. If they are hot they don’t act like it, or if they’re not, they do act it. They are alloys.

They punch high and kick low simultaneously, and they’ll sweep you, joint-lock you, and slap you in one fluid motion while they’re at it. They combine and interweave, duck and bob. They are unwitting Daoist alchemists mixing yin and yang in suitable proportions. I love them for their balancing acts, and for the balance they achieve.

Oh, I’m sorry! Were we talking about you?



  1. You said that with such incredible eloquence. THAT’S IT EXACTLY. Ding, ding, ding. You win the internets.

  2. Nailed.

  3. Wow, well put. I really love this. I agree, you win at internet.

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