Dear Readers: The Bitter Single Guy occasionally trots out an alter ego to help shed light on a particularly bumpy issue. Boundary Boy (!) has often come to the rescue of readers unable to set their own boundaries. Today, the BSG is delighted to re-invoke the spirit of his more cerebral alter ego: Bitter Science Guy. The Bitter Science Guy (BSG) helps us understand the wacky dynamics of relationships through scientific principles (which undoubtedly irritates real scientists).
Today’s lesson: Occam’s Razor. The Bitter Science Guy first heard of this sublimely simple rule on The Simpsons; a constant source of enlightenment for the BSG (particularly Lisa Simpson).
Occam’s Razor states that the simplest explanation is likely the true one. You are wondering how this matters for your current relationship, and the BSG is glad you asked.
Recently, a dear friend of the BSG realized that his relationship had gone somewhat lukewarm. The BSG’s friend, who we’ll call Robbie, realized that he had not shared more than a warm handshake with his Delicate Flower for several weeks, so asked her about this anomaly.
Delicate Flower assured him that all was well. “Pshaw!” she blustered. “I care for you just as much as ever, Robbie! In fact, I’m just so thrilled that we communicate as well as we do and I’m sure glad that we’ll always have our friendship no matter what happens. The good thing is that everything is just perfect now!”
Despite this handy reassurance, Robbie found himself feeling more and more low and more and more rejected as his formerly amorous Delicate Flower pulled more of her petals out of his grasp. He knew however, that everything was just fine because well…she had TOLD him that it was all just fine!
Obliviously, Robbie shared all this, whereupon the BSG invoked Occam’s Razor, or what in more recent times has been called “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck”.
So the BSG asked Robbie more about the nature of their relationship. Turns out they go to the movies sometimes, but don’t hold hands. They have coffee together and laugh and laugh about friends in common and stories from work. Sometimes they even share a peck on the cheek and at these times, Robbie’s Delicate Flower often tells him how much she appreciates his friendship and devotion.
At this point, it became the BSG’s responsibility to tell Robbie what all you gentle readers have figured out, but what still eluded him. “Walks like a friendship, quacks like a friendship? Robbie, the romance has skee-daddled out of your relationship and you are what your Delicate Flower wanted you to become: friends. There was no pesky break-up, no need to separate belongings, or to be unhappy at all! Isn’t that GREAT!”
It’s been a month since the BSG has seen Robbie and he knows that Occam’s Razor may have cut Robbie a little closely. Once the cold light of reality shone on Robbie’s relationship, that duck quacked and Robbie couldn’t believe his silliness.
Here’s the word, Dear Readers. You’ve heard the BSG say that if it’s too good to be true it probably IS too good to be true. Hear it again. If it seems like you’re only friends, you are. Sorry Robbie.