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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Relationships: Just a bunch of bank transactions

Oh, how I love my parents, so full of inspirational stories, philosophical theories, and most of all, always having a very objective view of everything subjective.

Background: My dad received his bachelors in Electrical Engineering and my mom in Business Finance, so I come from a very logical-reasoning and business-savvy family, and have been taught to think that way. About everything. All the time.

What I've learned: Relationships are just a bunch of bank transactions --deposits and withdrawals. We make small deposits into a relationship and save up for a withdrawal. If the withdrawal exceeds our available balance, an overdraft occurs, a possible fee is charged, and the interest rate may be increased until the negative balance is paid.

Of course, there is initial paperwork involved in opening an account --you have to sign the terms of agreement. Every relationship has them. We agree to trust, respect, and be loyal upon the initiation of a friendship. Although these words may not be spoken, they are the assumptions in the start of any relationship.

After the terms of agreement, relationships become an investment and experience a series of deposits and withdrawals. Favors for favors. The interest rate of a relationship may start high at first in order to overcome the risk factor. Is this person trustworthy? Are they going to be a true friend? Will they betray me? The relationships are then tested to ensure that the benefits will outweigh the risks and then the interest rate declines overtime as we accrue deposits.

When an overdraft occurs, we put up our defenses and increase the interest rate in order for the charged party to earn back our trust/respect/loyalty. Fines vary between relationship to relationship. Some may just require an apology, while others may require time. Whatever the fine, if the investment is worthy, we pay it and continue to invest.

Of course, every relationship is susceptible to bankruptcy. We've attempted to withdrawal more than our balance and we can't afford the fine or the increased interest, and the investment has reached the point of diminishing returns --every output costs more than the input. Often times the best solution to this situation is to cut your loses, file bankruptcy, liquidate the assets and use the remaining funds to invest in another venture.

It's just as basic as this.

But we don't often think of it consciously this way.

And we shouldn't.

Because then we would have no souls.

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