Note: This post is equal parts facetious and serious.
I was eating food with a friend earlier this evening, and three quarters of a quesadilla into the meal, we concluded that relationships are a lot like smartphones.
I know. Hear me out.
Most people (read: non-nerds) are uneducated about the smartphone market. They’ve heard of the iPhone, but they don’t know anything about operating systems, RAM, or megapixels. As such, when they go into the phone store, they’re vulnerable to this: “Here. This is an Android phone. It’s pretty much the same thing as the iPhone, but it has a bigger touchscreen. And it’s only [a cheaper price than the iPhone].”
But, as most iPhone owners know, it’s not pretty much the same thing as an iPhone.
This scenario comes down to one thing: not knowing any better.
Sure, there are some solid Android phones out there. Maybe they only have a few annoyances. Maybe the scrolling isn’t perfectly smooth, or an app crashes here or there, or the email application is kind of a pain. But it’s totally useable. It’s good enough.
Most people are like Android phones. There are a ton of them out there.
Similarly, there are over six billion people on the planet. That means it’s impossible to know everybody. Since the human brain can only manage a finite amount of relationships at one time, making sure each one counts is essential. Each relationship should contribute something positive and amazing to your life.
Those people, who you love and keep closest to you, are like iPhones. These relationships don’t cause you stress or anxiety. They’re loyal and reliable, and they provide nothing but love and support. They are awesome.
Now, the iPhone only has 5% of the mobile phone market. That figure is analogous to the amount of awesome people on Earth. Most people are not awesome. I mean, they’re fine. They’re good enough. But, you’re not going to gain much from having relationships with them. And that’s OK. You can’t know everybody.
This is going to sound dumb, but listen, because this article isn’t about cellphones.
Making the switch from an Android phone to an iPhone is like meeting your future wife/husband after years of tried-and-failed relationships. When you meet that person, you realize how much better they are than anything you’ve ever had before. All that fighting and compromising and struggling fades away with a tremendous sigh of relief. A feeling of “Finally! This is how it should be.” A feeling of “Why didn’t I find you sooner?” A feeling of “This just feels right.” The relationship just works.
Up until that point, we often settle because we don’t know for certain that someone better is out there. We’re comfortable with what we have now, and even though it’s not perfect, we fight for it because it’s all we know. We’re afraid that maybe this is the best we can do.
We don’t know any better.
I’m assuming that you, being a reader of this site, are like an iPhone: awesome. The problem with being awesome, though, is that we’re outnumbered. There are way more dumb people out there than awesome people. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the tradeoff for not being average.
Dumb people are a dime-a-dozen. You can walk down the street and bump into fifty dumb people. That’s why that guy (“THAT guy?!”) is happy and you’re still single. There’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just easy for one dumb person to find another dumb person. It takes a lot more effort and luck for two awesome people to meet because there are fewer of us out there. It takes longer for us to find one another.
Again, this is not about cellphones or which one is better. If you think the iPhone is stupid, that’s fine. Just replace “iPhone” with something else you love.
The lesson here is simple: “Keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Using your phone does not have to be a pain in the ass, and you don’t have to bend over backwards to make a relationship work. Don’t waste your time and energy fighting for something that’s flawed just because it’s familiar.
You can find something better if you have the confidence and the courage to look for it. There is someone out there who is as awesome as you are. Finding them requires patience, and it takes having faith in the fact that it’s only a matter of time.