The Hoax That You Can Win a Relationship

I originally started writing this article from the point of view of work relationships at technology companies like Amazon, but I realized that everything I was writing applied to relationships with your spouse, kids, and neighbors. Keep in mind that human relationships are just that, connections between people, which exist everywhere.

Photographer — Dave Anderson

Everyone knows the concept of the witty comeback. Repeated in movies and playgrounds alike, someone’s ego is bruised by an insult. Rather than lose the interaction, the victim uses their intelligence to strike back at the aggressor, turning a hurtful situation into victory.

In movies, the hero uses this social weapon to demonstrate their superiority over the villain. Their moral standing ensures that the bystanders in the film (and moviegoers) recognize these words as honorable and justified, in contrast with the aggressive and shameful actions of the antagonist.

Best Intentions vs Reactions

Reality is not a movie script, and we have grown since our playground days. When we end up at odds with others, they are our co-workers, our bosses, our neighbors, our kids, our parents, our spouses. Our relationship battles are not good vs evil. They are instead a tangled web of exhaustion, unintended insults, fear of the future, bruised egos, and careless actions. We all start with best intentions towards others. We all internally believe that we want our spouse happy, our co-workers successful, our children thrilled to see us. Yet our natural reaction to a perceived negative act is to react in kind. We pretend that humans are highly evolved, but we often act to the contrary.

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Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson


Former Head of Technology at Bezos Academy, Director/GM at Amazon. Husband, and Father. Find me at