snake oil

I keep seeing these posts scroll by, from various clickbait sites with headlines like “20 Signs (S)He’s The One!” or “10 Secrets To A Healthy Relationship” or some other such nonsense. All of which imply we are a simple enough species that our social dynamics can be “solved” by some formula hitherto unknown to mankind, despite millennia searching for these very answers.

It’s all bullshit, no better than snake oil or that blogger who (falsely) claimed to have cured her own cancer. The thing is, we are a complex species, and we’ve been trying to figure ourselves out for thousands of years. I’d like to think that if there were a single, simple formula that works for everyone, then it would have been discovered long before the advent of Buzzfeed.

Do you want to know if your parter is “the one”, or how to know if your relationship will last? Invent a time machine, because there’s no way you’ll be able to make an accurate prediction without it. Until then, all any of us can do is love each other with as much compassion and honesty as we have in us, accept our failures with grace and forgiveness, learn from our mistakes, and hope for the best. 

Seems like a good plan to me.

(Originally written April 2015)