What’s In A Value?

My friend was describing what his perfect girl would be like the other day as we strolled around the university grounds. He asked of my equivalent.

I don’t, I said. I suppose it all boils down to a few key things. I have to be able to have a conversation with them. I have to be able to sit in comfortable silence with them. Compatibility is important, as is wanting the same thing out of the relationship. And values. We’d have to have the same values in life.

This warranted further explanation. I tried to elaborate. Like, if someone was homophobic or racist, I wouldn’t be able to deal with that.

That’s a really obvious one, Kate. Not many would be able to deal with that.

I’ve been trying to think of a way to verbalise what I mean all weekend, but I think I’ve finally cracked it. You don’t need to have everything in common with someone. You can have different interests, different beliefs, different opinions, even on hot topics like abortion, and I still think that it could work as long as there was respect and love. But values, for me, are so difficult to get around.

For example, my work values revolve around the sense of giving everything my best effort and doing things that give me a sense of meaning a raison d’etre. Others are driven by a sense of injustice, others again by financial security and money, some do things just for the sheer craic and curiosity of it. None of these things are better or worse than other, none of them right nor wrong.

Work is a small example, but you catch my drift. It could be your attitudes towards morals, acceptability, or a number of other issues. Of course, I may be completely and utterly incorrect in my belief. But to commit to someone, to truly connect, I worry sometimes that if you can’t even share your values, then what’s left?

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