Human beings are high maintenance.

No one wants to be burdened by someone who is constantly unstable or barnacle-esque, however I am wondering if the concept of “low maintenance” as a positive thing in relationships is unhealthy.  I am sure that to be happy, a great many of us need lots of affirmation and warmth.  Our friends and significant others are well equipped to provide this.  Furthermore, I think this “low maintenance” thing discourages communication and vulnerability.


About alanatkins

I am using this blog to experiment with collective conversations and crowd wisdom.
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3 Responses to Human beings are high maintenance.

  1. Grant Barnes says:

    “Low” and “high” maintenance aren’t in and of themselves descriptive adjectives and are generally used in a negative, evaluational sense, comparing two very different people or two very different expectations of time and intimacy spent together. When “high” is used to describe another, it’s a sign that there is a discrepancy in the expectations each of the people have about the other. How often do we hear of a person describing a close intimate as “high maintenance” as a way of saying “I’m challenged and learning how to grow by facing that challenge”? When a therapist is confronted with the use of “high” or “low” to describe relational intimacy, the goal has to be probe the self-evaluation that is implied, with the goal to increase understanding that relationships necessarily consist of overlapping and discordant continua of empathy and toleration and thus work with the person in the specific area(s) another person is described as requiring “high maintenance.” There may need to be an intervention to accept that even in the closest of relationships, there may need to be less closeness on a specific continuum. At the same time, the partner said to be “high maintenance” may benefit from counseling to correct any acting out that comes from an obsessive attention to one’s own feelings. (I would expect that whether the attention paid to one’s own feelings results from a lack of self-esteem or instead very high self-esteem would be different in therapy, but I haven’t thought through that. Can a counselor really judge what’s “obsessive” in anything other than socially normal settings?)

  2. BockerMike says:

    high maintenance can also mean they want you to spend lots of $$ on them.

  3. diana says:

    very thought-provoking post. when we’re happy, well-adjusted, and established in our own lives then it’s easy and natural to love and support others, especially when they’re struggling. at the same time, in the process of learning to be happy and well-adjusted we’ve all received affirmation, love and support from somewhere, at some time. withholding these things and judging others as “high maintenance” for wanting them not only makes it harder for them to evolve, but in the process we rob ourselves of the opportunity to learn, grow, and enrich our lives through learning about their experience and practicing love, patience, compassion, etc. if we really love our friends/family/partner, then it’s important to love them wholly, even when it’s not particularly pretty or exciting. of course, sometimes boundaries are necessary in barnacle-esque relationships. but is the boundary being drawn because we’re annoyed and don’t want to deal with it, or because drawing the boundary ultimately supports the evolution of both individuals and the relationship?

    also, check out this ted talk about how tech is changing our ability to interact and be with each other, how it makes people more connected and more prone to loneliness (i.e. feeling needy for attention) at the same time:

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