In a conversation last week, talking with a friend, he mentioned that he thought that people were attracted to instability and drama. I thought about that, and -- he's right, there is that charm to the instable person. There's something to the energy of a person who honestly reveals their weaknesses; and perhaps there's some ego-flattering going on, when you're drawn into the melodramatic person's inner thoughts. There's something about proving yourself, helping someone else out, too. I've been pulled into that before.
I've also been the person who was screwed up in the head, who pulled in people and dragged them down with her, who took and took and didn't even bother to say thank you. And to be honest, I had a lot -- too many -- people who loved me much more than I was worth, then. (I think I'm better these days, preserving the instinct to be honest about my weaknesses, but hopefully I'm more reliable than I was in college.)
My friend is also probably correct in saying that there isn't the same instant attraction to the boring, to the stable people. "Boring" people: people who put a lot more work into maintaining a routine, into knowing themselves, into staying nice to people when the world is full of assholes. I think there's something else going on here, though -- it's not the same
attraction, but it's an attraction nonetheless.
Like tends to draw like. Stable people tend to draw other stable people -- there are three Williams couples getting married this summer, and clearly they all had their priorities straight when looking for love. And they're all genuinely nice people, who're "boring."
(Here, the ghosts of Matt and of Lil
mutter, "the only consistent factor in your unhappy relationships is you." Nobody is doomed to loneliness unless they choose to be.)
Instability, similarly, draws out our instabilities. Obviously, our negative & instable emotions are more overwhelming and in some ways more immediate than our better emotions; hence the instant attraction. But I think stable people also inspire a kind of quietness and peace that's really attractive, too; it may not be immediately recognized as romantic interest, but I know that I, for one, am drawn by stable people. (I'm vowing no more high-strung artistic types anymore. I swear.) It's not a privilege, after all, to have to put in the hard work of helping someone else drag themselves out a rut. To watch helplessly when they don't take their own initiative to fix themselves. (I can't imagine ginnunggap
's patience and grit, and those of my other dear friends, to have stuck by anyway.)
It's a pleasure to be around "boring" people.