The One Theory

Some of you may be wondering what exactly this TWAT category is all about. Well it stands for The World According to Tony.

This is where we’ll talk about life lessons I’ve learned over the years and incorporated into my world perspective. Today I want to discuss a theory I learned from a former boss (let’s call him Candy Man).

One night while Candy Man and I were at a meal, he explained that everyone has a quality they look for in the people in their lives (whether consciously or not). His was loyalty. Seemed like a logical choice, especially considering his rough childhood and how growing up people he loved would abandon/betray him.

When I went home and thought about it some more, I decided I didn’t like loyalty. Candy Man wasn’t rich, but he definitely had money and I would constantly see people come into his life trying to get a piece of the action. He was surrounded by “YES” people who would tell him whatever he wanted to hear to reap the financial benefits of being his friend/employee/romatic interest.

This blind loyalty would never work for me. If I was wrong is any way, I would want my friends and family to call me out on it. I try to offer this service to people in my life which garners me the reputation of being “brutally honest.” That’s for another post I suppose. I digress.

Anyway, when I went thru my roster, I realized at the time my “one” was honesty. I hate liars and I really wanted everyone around me to be truthful about everything, even if it hurt. That pipe dream went away a year later when I realized most people who constantly lie are also lying to themselves.

Then my “one” changed to communication. But I soon realized people often have different preferred modes of communication and this can lead to conflict. For example, I HATE talking on the phone and some people don’t like that. Or if a friend “operates” better in person, but you live on the other side of the country, this can strain a relationship.

Soon after, my “one” became consistency. If I could at least count on someone to do something, even if it was bad (e.g. not return a phone call) it would help me feel better about the situation and consequently the longevity of my relationships. Another losing battle.

Six years after first being introduced to The One Theory, I realize my “one” is now reflexivity. As a researcher, I constantly reflect on what I’m doing, why I am doing it and questioning how the process could be better for everyone involved. I also do this in my personal life.

If my friends and family reflected on their actions, half the donkey BS that has happened over the last couple of months would have been avoided.

I had to recently cut someone off (someone I really care about) because they flaked on me to go make up with someone they flaked on the week before. Like seriously? Just typing that sentence irks me. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to get the gravity of the situation. Any psych major will tell you, people often retain bad habits because they don’t think the behavior is that bad to begin with.


What is your “one”? What quality do you look for in your relationships? What quality is important enough to cut someone off if they don’t have it?

One thought on “The One Theory

  1. I know you’re scoffing at the comment almost a year later but somehow I missed this TWAT post. It’s definately honesty for me. If you’re not honest with yourself(out of avoidance, laziness or ignorance) then I can’t engage you. I don’t do subtext and if you present yourself as X I’ll engage you as X not the Y you really are. If that becomes a problem then we don’t need to be friends. Reflexivity is also important because I’d be much more forgiving if I say represent X mad hard but are really Y and you go…hmm sounds right let me think about that vs being pissed off I engage what you put out vs what you really are. I need the honesty, I need to know my friends will call me out on shit and I need to know I can be honest with them…without honesty in a relationship what the hell do you have?

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