Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Relationship vs Situationship

Recently, the Belgian newspaper De Standaard published a (Dutch language) article: Do we have a relation? No, a situation. I got curious. Apparently, a situationship is a new buzz word; it’s even already mentioned on Wikipedia: “a portmanteau of situational and relationship“.

“Non-committal relationships are so common, it seems like a new Urban Dictionary term for a casual something-or-other is coined every single day. First, there was “booty call.” Next: “friends with benefits.” And now: “situationship.” So what, exactly, does the buzzy term mean?” Women’s Health (2021)

Actually, I might be in a situationship while not even being aware of it. She and I have consciously chosen not to label what we have. A label creates expectations, by ourselves and/or by others. Expectations often result in disappointments because reality runs its own course.

Why do people need, want and/or believe in defining or labelling anything that we see?

“The tendency to classify and categorize objects is a deeply ingrained aspect of human nature. In many cases, this is a good thing. Without this ability, we’d quickly get overwhelmed in every new encounter. Nevertheless, this fundamental skill can also be extremely damaging, especially when it comes to categorizing people.” Psychology Today, 2012: The Pesky Persistence of Labels

Example: a friendship triggers questions about (not) having a relationship. A relationship triggers questions about (the lack of) cohabitation. Cohabitation triggers questions about (the absence of) marriage. Marriage triggers questions about (not) having children. Almost nobody dares questioning a divorce.

Recently, we went to Bruges. The B&B owner assumed that we were married. She was almost shocked hearing us saying that we were not and that both our marriages had been traumatic. She apologized for (assuming that label and) asking. The assumption is the mother of all mistakes (my 2015 blog).

Probably, labelling is part of making assumptions. A 2020 Medium article argues the opposite: Labels lead to assumptions. The chicken or egg question hardly matters; the habit does. I suppose that a label assists us in memorizing. Hence, our labels are like (computing) attributes for data retrieval purposes.

Essentially, there is nothing wrong with labels: we need them (eg, our memory), and we want them (eg, our identity). Unfortunately, we also believe in them (eg, social stigmas).

“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.” A quote by W.C. Fields (1880-1946), an American comedian and writer.

I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White (2015) by Prince Ea
artist, facebook, video, YouTube, Wiki

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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