Last week I listed out “The 7 most frustrating kinds of couples.” From the lushes to the renovators to the social media addicts, there were a lot of familiar faces. But this week I’m going to focus on the faces that make us smile rather than cringe; the ones that motivate, not nauseate. This week I’m celebrating the couples we might think of as the role models of social romance.
So without further ado, here are the seven most admirable kinds of couples. If you and your partner don’t fit into at least one of these categories, you need to get on that fast…
There are few things better than a couple that knows how to entertain. As we get older, we start to remember how awesome house-parties are and how even awesomer the people are that host them with a big fat smile on their face. Couples that facilitate socialization and that encourage us to regularly celebrate our personal relationships—romantic or otherwise—are invaluable. It’s not that we don’t respect people’s desire to spend all their time alone with their partner. We just think that’s a less exciting way to go about this whole “one life on planet earth” thing.
The “Guaranteed to Make You Laugh” Couple
There’s a time for academic discourse and a time for chatting about the hardships and practical decisions we face in life—let’s call that time, “some of the time”. There’s also a time to smile, laugh and lift your spirits, despite the monotony and pressure by which we can all sometimes be consumed—that time is called, “all the time”. Going through funks is totally natural and we don’t need every couple to be Lucy and Ricky. But a couple that consistently makes us slap our knees will consistently get a pat on the back.
The concept of “synergy” isn’t just for MBA students; it is a very real effect in the world of romance and when it hits, it’s glorious for everyone involved. When you could hang out and have fun with either member of a couple, that’s a gift. But when the combined forces spawn an outgoing, exciting team that is somehow better than the sum of its parts—well that’s a straight-up miracle. It’s also a comforting illustration of what happens when people choose wisely.
The “Tells Great Stories About Their Trips” Couple
We all know those couples that we dread asking, “So, how was your trip?” We end up getting cornered into a 15 minute documentary about the stonework in Havana and before we know it, we’re looking at pictures of fog. Hearing a couple tell a great vacation story—nailing the highlights, focusing on unique and exciting events and offering valuable tips—is like reading a great article and feeling like you want to tell everyone you know about what you just found out. We do want to hear about your trip! We really do! But not if it’s going to be lame.
Ok, ok, we get it, Mr. and Mrs. Gates: you have two jobs, a family that has you on retainer and at least 2 spin classes a week. Now can you stop pretending you have a waiting list and just plug in a dinner next Wednesday when we know you don’t have plans? They’re getting more and more rare, but a couple that actually just makes a plan for their next available evening is indescribably refreshing. We understand that lives get busy, especially when kids roll around, but the best couples are the ones that don’t pretend that’s enough to make them treat their friends like their dentist.
The “Never Have to Tip-Toe Around Their Sensitivities” Couple
Hanging out with another couple is supposed to be fun and stimulating, so it’s always great to be able to discuss anything and everything. Whether it’s politics, ethics, religion or raising children, the best nights out are the ones where nobody gets red in the face and awkwardly says, “Maybe we should talk about something else.” Depending on the couple and their situation, there are of course topics that may need to be politely avoided, but the fewer of those, the better.
The “Eternally Considerate of One Another” Couple
There is no shortage of people who have conditioned themselves to simply co-exist with their partner—let alone the millions of couples in which the two treat each other like a pesky rash. What we hope to be surrounded by are couples who inspire optimism and admiration for romance by being true ambassadors of its institutions. It is genuinely rewarding and motivational to see two people whose instincts have developed to primarily support the comfort and confidence of their significant other. Knowing everyone is in good hands, and being reminded that good hands still make a difference, is something with which we’ll never get tired. So while nobody wants to be around the mushy couple that can’t stop fondling and calling each other prepubescent nicknames, more couples one notch below that isn’t what we want to see; it’s what we need to see.
Benjamin Mann is Toronto’s Standard dating columnist. Follow him on Twitter.