“Great relationships are created, not discovered.” ~ Logan Ury,
Flashback: The situation before I picked up the book
I must confess that I was a socially inept person to some extent. The impact of this weakness was exacerbated whenever I went out for a date. Over-dependence on my ‘intelligence’ and my cocky expectation that women ought to like me because I was (and still am) smart were probably responsible for my initial dead ends in dating life. In addition to that, I believed that dressing well was only for shallow people (and not for philosophical dudes like me).
Though I don’t remember the exact moment when I dropped this prima donna attitude, I did improved on the empathy part from 2018 onwards. Gradually, I started dressing well. Slowly I learnt the meaning of ‘ghosting’, ‘bread-crumbing’, ‘casual dating’, ‘hookups’, ‘vibes’ and ‘rebound relationships’. All of these terms were absolutely new to me. For a guy who had derived relationship goals from Ramayana, all this stuff sounded like Greek and Latin when I cam across them for the first time.
I was amused when I came across women who were into zodiac shit and astrology. Though I judged and criticised such women, I failed to realise the larger problem I was up against. I had the misconception that once I found love, life would automatically become awesome.
The reality, however, is everything that matters (clarity about career, mental health, physical health, general satisfaction with oneself) needs to be in the right place for an individual to build a stable relationship. So, I worked on that for a couple of years before getting into the dating pool again.
Also, one needs to bounce off thoughts on such topics. So, I talked to my college senior. Initially, we used to talk about politics, careers, and our shared passion for writing. During our later conversations, I ended up talking about everything in my life during our conversations. I realised the importance of knowing the feminine perspective only during these conversations.
Eventually, after watching me crash through two breakups, my college senior recommended the book “How Not To Die Alone” by Logan Ury. The title sounded corny. I was not motivated to read the book. But then I thought about the alternative.
According to a survey, 93% of the dudes in India marry the girl identified by their family. A random sample from any part of India would still yield the same results.
When you mix a business deal with a ritualistic drama you get an Indian marriage. This system is what we call an “arranged marriage”. It would not be entirely wrong if we say that it is a pretty dehumanising process. But somehow it’s the norm. It is the lousiest way to find a partner, in my opinion. I was never gonna take that route anyway. So, I decided to budge and read “How Not To Die Alone“. I bought a copy on Kindle.
The actual reading experience.
Logan Ury has a stellar resume and has the experience of working at Hinge as a director of relationship science. “How Not To Die Alone” is written in a very simple and engaging tone. It is filled with stories from the author’s relationship coaching experiences and research findings.
“How Not To Die Alone” is a fascinating read because the author has a firm grasp of the behavioural science involved in dating. She clearly explains how social media, dating apps and the expansion of choices for individuals (who have not chosen an arranged marriage :P) have made it quite difficult for anyone to settle down with a person.
The paradox of choice, in a way, has reduced the percentage of people putting effort and thoughtfulness into their relationships. The explosion of cinematic content and corny storylines has also messed up people’s expectations in their dating lives. I am not sure how much it has affected me in the first place.
Anyway, I learned a few interesting frameworks from this book. These frameworks are quite helpful to anyone who is navigating the modern dating scene.
- Dating tendencies: People tend to be one among the three in their dating lives : romanticizers, maximisers and hesitaters. Romanticisers have unrealistic expectations from the relationship. Maximisers have unrealistic expectations from the other person. And hesitaters have unrealistic expectations from themselves.
- Attachment styles: This idea helps one gauge how secure or insecure a person is in the relationship. There are four types of attachment styles: Anxious, Avoidant, Disorganized and Secure. You can guess what these styles could be (or just google it).
- Love languages: This helped me realise that different people wish to be loved in different ways. They also express love in different ways. The five broad categories are : acts of service, spending quality time, physical touch, gifts and words of affirmation.
- Relation-shopping : People, who are maximisers tend to date multiple people to find the best match. It’s important to know where to draw the line and how it impacts emotions of people involved. It also prevents people from settling down for a good person when they meet one.
- Acceptable pet peeves and dealbreakers : One should not fuss over minor issues like bad texting grammar. It’s important to ensure that the other person is aligned on major issues like values, importance of career, location and the issue of procreation. If not, it’s a good idea to move on.
- Matching energies: It is a no-brainer. But I did realise that neither of the people in a relationship should go overboard/ move faster in the journey. Otherwise, everything breaks down.
- Ditching vs Hitching : If you believe that something isn’t working, how long should you be waiting for you to be sure that the relationship should end? Ditchers give up too soon which hitchers stay in too long. Both approaches are bad.
These are brief notes. If you wanna dig deep, you can google the terms or just read the book cover to cover.
Ury helps you understand how to pace a relationship and prioritise important traits in the long run. She explains how one can communicate and meet the right kind of people. Those who can bring happiness to your personal life. Overall, the book makes a lot of sense.
The world definitely needs a well-researched, readable book on the topic of relationships. The youth of this generation does need a dating coach in their lives. At least the ones with decent jobs. And I highly recommend this book to any single dude or single woman if they are struggling with modern dating.