by Matthew Boulton: Student of human flourishing and proponent of objective optimism
We can derive tremendous benefit from associating with other people, but only under certain conditions. We can learn from, trade with, enjoy the company of, and share romantic love with others. Here, I share ideas, stories, experiences, and other content related to defining and choosing the kinds of people who add to our flourishing, helping us each think about what are healthy versus unhealthy relationships.
My father said he would come to pick me up. I had made it from my junior high school to my friend’s house, but it was still kind of a long way home, so I thought it was a big score. It might take him several minutes to arrive, so my friend and I happily went downstairs and played mini hockey to pass the time.
“Beeeep!” (Was there something in that?) “Oh, he’s here!” I ran up the stairs and rushed to get my shoes on and my stuff together as I saw my dad’s car out the window. I had a smile on my face on saying goodbye to my friend, and I was feeling pretty light as I had just had fun and now didn’t have to walk home.
As I approached the car, however, something was changing inside my stomach.
I talk a lot. Ask anyone who knows me. I just now asked my wife, and she almost choked laughing and said, “Yeeees. In the all-time stupidest questions, that one is second.” (I didn’t inquire as to the first.) During a recent discussion of a hypothetical son and some aspects of how we would raise him, she at one point stared ahead into space and said, “Oh, god. I’d have two Boulton boys talking at me all day.”
But she has also added very recently, kidding aside, that she is actually very grateful for my disposition, no matter how tedious it may get. Reading some posts on social media of some women complaining of their husbands, she was bewildered at what she considered the impossibility of such impasses in her own life (not to mention her incredulity that anyone would share these grievances publicly). And these types of posts are typical, as we’ve seen over the years, and these issues are the themes of talk shows, TV dramas, and countless conversations among women in coffee shops and pubs across Korea and the world.