As the month of February comes to a close, love has been on my mind. After getting into my first real relationship about five months ago, I found myself, the nerd I am, applying journalistic concepts to my and Cory’s relationship. I realized that many of the things I learned in my high school yearbook class and beyond are completely relevant to getting and keeping a significant other.
1. SHOW DON'T TELL
Talk is cheap and words can be powerful. In a microlead, don’t say “The man cared for his dog” but rather describe how he never left her side, rushed her to a hospital when she was hurt, etc. and let readers come to a conclusion themselves. In relationships, prove yourself and live up to your words. If you care about someone, let you actions speak for yourself and make decisions that show, in large or small ways, that you care about him or her. Bring them thoughtful gifts for no reason, plan surprise dates, make breakfast in bed and other little things that can mean a whole lot.
2. KEEP IT SIMPLE AND UNDERSTANDABLE
Be straightforward with your feelings in a relationship and don’t make your significant other guess how you’re feeling or why. You are two different people with two immensely different trains of thoughts and it is foolish, for even the most seasoned couple, to assume your significant other knows you to a T. Only through direct and honest communication are the strongest relationships built. In journalism, there’s no need for flowery language and complex diction. We are trying to get a point across to a large audience and need ensure that it makes sense to everyone.
3. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
You may have a preconceived idea of what you want in a significant other based on family values, media manipulation or a multitude of other reasons. Don’t let them hold you back from getting to know someone for who they are. My boyfriend Cory is laidback, Type B and logical, as opposed to my on-the-go, Type A, emotional self. If I had closed myself off to a strict checklist of traits, I would have never even give him a shot. Likewise, people who get out of their comfort zone in journalism often produce the best work. Ask the hard questions. Get closer to your subject for a better picture. Don’t let any feelings of awkwardness hinder you from getting the best work and telling the best story possible.
4. KNOW YOUR INTERVIEWEE
Study up on your interview subject before even formulating questions. In the interview, you will seem more knowledgeable and professional while also avoiding asking questions that could be answered with a simple Google search or a quick glance at a LinkedIn page. In relationships, it is essential to know who your point of interest is before committing to a relationship. What are her fears? Dreams? What makes her tick? What are the best and worst things about her? Knowing your potential significant other well paves the path for a successful relationship and reduces the chance of hitting roadblocks caused by habits or traits unknown when starting a relationship.
5. RECOGNIZE THAT THE STORY IS ALWAYS CHANGING AND EVOLVING
Don’t be a parachute journalist that simply reports on an event without looking at the broader story. Place your story into context by reporting on events that led up to it and the implications it has for the future. Similarly, know that people can change, circumstances can change and feelings can change. For that reason, love can change. Love is not a promise for forever. I doesn't mean you loved him yesterday or you’ll love him tomorrow. Reaffirm love constantly because it comes slowly but can leave quickly.