Details

Most humans enjoy precision-work. If you have a hobby that you’re at all serious about, you probably know what I mean.

If you’re into riding motorcycles, you probably spend significant time and energy tuning up your machine, all the while paying great attention to very small details. You may enjoy discussing at length with other motorcycle aficionados topics like what is the perfect tire pressure. You may even enjoy massaging your bike with a super-soft microfiber cloth to remove the tiniest smudges.

If you’re a writer, you probably take great care in choosing your words and constructing your sentences. You probably have a dictionary and thesaurus on hand and refer to them often. Many writers enjoy having others look at their work so they can get useful feedback and suggestions. I would be surprised if there’s a writer out there who doesn’t read over their work numerous times before they consider it done.

If you’re a clothing designer, you have probably agonized over such things as: Mauve or dusty rose? Scallop or picot edging? 3/4-sleeve or full-length? You may have called up a fellow enthusiast at some weird hour to consult with them on how to execute such-and-such a stitch perfectly. Of course your sewing machine is oiled on a regular basis.

You get the idea.

So the problem is not that humans don’t enjoy examining and discussing small details. The problem is that we have not learned to apply our detail-orientedness to the realm of interpersonal communication.

Strangely, it seems that there is nothing we humans are more terrified of than the prospect of asking that person who is supposed to be our beloved, “what was in your mind when you said that?” or “why did you choose that word?” And yet we’ll express great curiosity as to why so-and-so from our gardening club prefers to grow amish paste tomatoes over san marzanos. We are willing and eager to discuss such matters in depth.

Why does it never seem to occur to us that we might treat communication with our beloved more as we treat our beloved hobbies?

Eschewing FIML-type analysis and attention to detail in our interpersonal communication and choosing instead to groove on feelings of love might seem good enough or even wonderful. And perhaps it is. But FIML says there’s more available.

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