Protection and Support
For starters, one should stick up for a friend, even when the friend isn't around. For example, let's say you and Judy are close friends who work together. One day, Judy is home sick, and everyone in the office says she's just faking it. According to our theory, you should speak up and come to Judy's defense. To not do so would fly in the face of the friendship rules. Imagine how hurt Judy would be to find out you stayed silent while her name was tossed around in the mud.
Closely linked to sticking up for one another, our next rules states that friends should offer help when a friend is in need. They should also support each other emotionally. So, according to our theory, not only should you stick up for poor Judy when she's the subject of office caterwauling, you could also offer to pick up some chicken noodle soup for her on your way home. Then when she returns to work, you can offer a compassionate ear or a shoulder to cry on, if and when she finds out everyone in the office had labeled her a faker!
Happiness, Sharing, and Trust
Taking this a step further, our theory tells us that friends should strive to make one another happy. So, rather than sitting around bemoaning office politics, you could suggest going to Judy's favorite restaurant or going to see her favorite movie. If that doesn't work, you could always try a gallon of ice cream and some potato chips!
Putting more of an uplifting spin on your friendship with Judy, the relationship rules theory tells us friends should feel free to share their successes, hopes, and dreams with one another. For instance, say the corner office opens up, and you really want it and the promotion that comes with it! If Judy is really your friend, she will willingly listen as you go on and on about it.
Of course, if Judy gets the promotion and you don't, odds are you're going to be a bit sad. Even if you're truly happy for Judy, you still are probably going to be a bit melancholy, and you should be able to share this with Judy. According to our theory, one of the rules of friendship is that friends should be able to confide in each other. Even if the topic is a difficult one, you and Judy should be able to trust each other with your emotions. Of course, this rule is just as appropriate for romantic relationships as it is friendships, so we'll use it as a segue into matters of love and infatuation.
Authenticity and Self-Worth
According to the relationship rules theory, romantic partners should be authentic and open with one another. Lovers must drop their defenses and take off their masks. Keeping with our office theme, if you did get passed over for the promotion and the corner office, you should feel free to share your disappointment with your significant other. True romance means you can forego the whole stiff upper lip charade. Despite what the song preaches, it's okay to cry out loud. There's no need to keep it inside. There's no need to hide your feelings.
This leads us to some more rules.
While you're feeling glum, your romantic partner should prop you up. Whether in the form of a 'You'll get 'em next time' pep talk, or words like, 'What, they're crazy! You're brilliant,' romantic partners should seek to enhance each other's feelings of self-worth. In saying things like this, your partner is helping to show that they are on your team. They've got your back. Quite serendipitously, this is another one of our relationship rules: romantic partners should be faithful and loyal to one another.
Commonality, Connection, and Freedom
Of course, obeying all these romance rules can get pretty difficult. To keep them all, you've really got to like a person. You better have lots in common, and you really have to feel that special something. Interestingly, these are two of the actual rules found in our theory. Romance requires partners have shared values, view points, and beliefs. It also requires partners have unexplained feelings of magic and connection. In other words, it requires the whole ga-ga for each other stuff.
Now, if you are all head over heels for each other, this next rule is easy to follow. Romance requires spending time together. Yes, some relationships can handle the long distance thing for a time, but our theory tells us even the most gooey of couples can lose their spark if too much time is spent apart. As the old saying is sometimes rearranged, 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder…..of somebody else!'
However, the relationship rules theory does add a word of caution to lovers. It tells us it is possible to suffocate the romance right out of your bond. Being too clingy can do just as much damage as time spent apart. As our last rule of the day states, romantic partners must allow each other to have an identity and interests outside of the relationship. Case in point, how many times have you heard someone say, 'Uggh, she was just too needy' or 'He wouldn't just give me my space!'
According to the relationships rules theory, relationships are held together by the observance of definite rules, and when these rules are not complied with, our connections might weaken or end.
In platonic relationships some of these rules are as follows: friends should…
- Stick up for a friend, even when the friend isn't around
- Offer help when they see each other in need
- Support each other emotionally
- Strive to make one another happy
- Feel free to share their successes, hopes, and dreams with one another
- Be able to confide in each other
- Be able to trust each other
When speaking of romance, romantic partners should…
- Be authentic and open with one another
- Seek to enhance each other's feelings of self-worth
- Be faithful and loyal to one another
- Have shared values, view points, and beliefs
- Have that unexplained feeling of magic and connection
- Spend substantial time together
- Allow each other to have an identity and interests outside of the relationship