Are you curious? Curiosity is defined as the desire to learn or know about anything. It is also described as inquisitiveness. Do you have an interest in learning about anything? If someone presents an idea to you, do you wish to learn more? If you meet someone new, do you like learning about them? More importantly, do you have people in your life that are curious about you and are you curious about the people in your life? Curiosity is a lifelong pursuit, and it is a great virtue to seek in your friends and significant other.
You are going to grow and change, and so are the people in your life. If you want to have long lasting meaningful relationships with them, you are going to want to be curious about them, and vice versa. Let’s focus just on your significant other. If you think you know who they are without continuing to learn and understand them, then you are going to lose sight of who they become. Likewise, if your partner is not inquiring about you, your thoughts and feelings, your preferences and why you have them, then your relationship is not going to work out.
Curiosity is more than simply asking, “How are you doing today?” or “How are you feeling.” It is asking, “When you learned how to play guitar, what was the hardest chord for you to learn and why?” And then it is asking, perhaps at another time, “What is your favorite chord to play, why, and how has that changed as you have improved in skill?” These seem like college essay questions, and they are composed as such here for the sake of brevity. The idea is that the questions will be broken into parts as you have a dialogue with your partner or prospective partner.
The goal should not be simply to learn the answers to the questions, but to understand your partner’s preferences and how they arrived there. If you are having a conversation about a challenge your partner overcame, you learn not just about their struggles but how they deal with them. If you are discussing a time in which your partner was extremely happy, you learn about what makes them happy as well as why it does. If you discuss causes or pursuits that are important to your partner, you learn about what matters, why it matters, and you start to understand their values. From this, you can start to understand their virtues as you spend time with them and experience the choices they make and actions they take. This is what leads to a meaningful connection and relationship.
It is possible that you will learn things about your prospective partner that are a turn off to you, but that is OK. You are not obligated to marry, or even like the person once you start to understand who they are. Curiosity can save you from making big mistakes in the dating world as well as help you find deep, meaningful connection. If the person you are dating is not consistent with their answers and actions, curiosity will help you figure this out really quickly. Likewise, if the person is very consistent, and perhaps more insightful than you would have imagined, curiosity will bring this to light. Additionally, if your prospective partner lacks any curiosity about you, it is at the least an issue that needs addressed and at most, a reason to end the dating.
Curiosity will also help you navigate the rest of the world around you. We live in a big, complex place, and the more you think you know, the less you will learn. Curiosity will help you understand the systems that are in place and if they are the best possible solution to the problems we face. It will help you assert yourself and find success on your own terms. You will notice curiosity as a recurring theme in my writing as my inquisitiveness helps me understand the topics about which I write, and hopefully it will help you understand them as well. Curiosity will also help you understand anarchy, so I hope you pursue curiosity as a meaningful virtue. Then, together, we can help humanity flourish!