Reviving Relationships with Dinner and a Movie

For anyone subscribed to Subtext, in Season 2, Episode 15 at approx 44 minutes (during the Joker discussion) Jim gives a fantastic overview about the difference between relationships seen objectively vs. relationships seen from the inside, i.e. a relationship perspective.


some new thoughts on relationships

The whole idea of relationships is being in the same boat or the same ship. In what kind of boats are you with people and where are those boats sailing too. The boat has to sail otherwise someone may get out of your boat.

Or the boat has to be on water to be functional.

Being around people doesn’t mean you’re in the same boat sailing to the same place. Relationships are about being on the same boat not being in different boats.

You can sail to the same place in different ships. Make your boat the kind of boat people want to enter…

What kind of boat are you in with those around you and where is your boat sailing?

Do you want to be in the same boat?

It’s best when she comes and climbs into your boat out of her own wishes?

You must be a sailor and sailing somewhere to attract a crew, a lady etc?

Women want to jump on a boat that’s going somewhere?

As a man, what’s the state of your boat/ship?

Is your boat the kind of boat that you’re proud of yourself?

The whole idea of relationships is making a decision to be on the same boat going somewhere? The journey is good when both of you know where you’re going.

People can be forced to be in the same ship.

I can kind of see this, Samuel. The thing that throws it a little is a lot of the descriptions are about you and I.

Really, the relationship is the boat.

So, you’re in a boat (relationship) with someone…

  • Where is the boat headed?
  • How fast is it going? Is the boat sailing with the wind or against the wind.
  • Is the water choppy or a calm?
  • Is it sailing into a clear sky or a storm on the horizon?
  • Is the boat weathering the journey or springing leaks?

My approximation:

Relationships and interactions are vehicles transportation systems. No different from physical transportation system.

It’s better to call it things like relationboat, partnerboat, Friendboat, stewardboat, fellowboat,

A conversation with a friend about this idea:

Mercy James: 🙆🏿‍♂ Sam u have sent me to a new dimension of thought :thinking: surely what kind of boat?

biztechsamuel: We should actually call it a relationboat, a friend boat - not ship for more clarity in our culture here in ug, or call it a friendcanoe, or or a romancecanoe.

Mercy James: :partying_face::joy::joy::joy: is it all the above sink @ a moments notice

biztechsamuel: Yes it can sink

biztechsamuel: Friendboats can sink. Leaks can happen. Storms will come. The friendboat can even capsize. Depends on the quality of your boat. Are you using a raft, a cruise ship, a battleship, a spaceship, a wooden ship.

biztechsamuel: Actually a relationship is really a relation-vessel or a relation-vehicle.

biztechsamuel: What kind of vehicle do you currently have? Footsibishi, public vehicle, private ship, rented ship, second hand ship?

Mercy James: But I thought a relationship is a partnership two way street but in terms of the vessel or vehicle they R driven by one person isn’t that destined to fail

biztechsamuel: You can exchange turns at the drivers seat. It’s a relationboat it’s going somewhere or not going anywhere at all.

You can exchange favors but if the exchange is not heading towards a known destination then then the other individual can become dormat.

The relationship or relationtoyota has to travel whether physically or mentally while you exchange for it to be something.

biztechsamuel: Even a partnercanoe has a canoe.

Mercy James: I get U now

biztechsamuel: Sometimes things can be onesided but as long as the boat is sailing with both of them sometimes one person travelling is not an issue.

biztechsamuel: It’s fun when the two or you can share the wheels.

Relationcanoes need a direction to work. You need to go on a journey together or you need to be heading to a certain destination.

Look at this, some of the best moments you’ve had with people is when you’ve physically travel somewhere together.

The best time to talk to a girl or woo someone could be when you’re in a bus going somewhere.

Travel creates freedom.

Or watch a movie together.

Do something progressive with her, play a game, watch something, don’t allow for static or a pause to happen.

But yourself in a place of growth or change with her.

biztechsamuel: A relationship is a vehicle, a boat, some kind of traveling thingy that’s how you should evaluate your relationships I believe.

Our relationship got an accident.

This is a good analogy. I can really see this.

Also[quote=“samuelogeda, post:15, topic:2516”]
GROWTH with you

that @samuelogeda mentioned.


Relationships that are not built on any degree of agreement are not relationships at all. A relationship requires a degree of agreement. The strength of a relationship is a measure of the degree of agreement.

A relationship with someone is a measure of the degree of agreement. Isolation is a measure of the degree of disagreement.

People are most isolated or feel isolated when there’s no degree of agreement or there’s a very little degree of agreement.

Enemies. They don’t hold to this.

You can spin it to say that there’s a shared agreement to disagree, but fundamentally, the enemy relationship is built on disagreement.


in most cases you just isolate yourself from someone you can’t find a baseline of agreement with. it may not be formally shared…

I think a “relationboat” with no agreement is indifference. Enemies clash or keep clashing because of something shared. An enemy relationship may occur because of the shared desire to dominate each other or dominate the same category. A competition relationship.

I think you’re on a path to wrapping your head around the RS, which is great! I’d like to make a suggestion that might help you get there faster.

A lot of these illustrations use you, I, and people. I can understand what you’re saying but when Dramatica is talking about Relationships is a lot more narrow.

I’d try to think of these illustrations either with ‘we’, ‘the/a relationship’, or, even better, specific relationships (marriage, father/daughter, sibling rivalry, sworn enemies).

The relationship is really best understood (in Dramatica) as a separate thing from the people in it. It’s not the passengers, it’s the boat! :slight_smile:

How about, a sibling rivalry relationship is forced to come together when an agreement is made to take care of a dying relative, but falls right back into it’s old ways over disagreements about bills and arrangements.

I know I still struggle with this (my girlfriend completely gets which has lead to … relationship issues. :laughing: )

It’s a long, hard road but I think challenging yourself with specifics will help you get there faster.


I’m getting you, a relationship can measure the closeness or distance in a relationship based on the degree of agreements or disagreements.

The degree of disagreements or agreements can actually be measured in other throughlines.

@glennbecker - can the RST account for breakups? Maybe more especially in a linear story?

It’s like there’s RST tracks The boat obviously there’s something in the boat already.

1 Like

Absolutely. Just try to focus it on the relationship and not the people in it.

The budding romance decides it can’t take all the bickering and disagreements and agrees to give up.

The marriage gets bored because it’s always in agreement. It needs friction to keep the spark alive.

Right. When you go to actually write, you’re going to have to write about the people and show the problems between them. During the parts of your process when you’re working with Dramatica, it’s more productive to think about the relationship as a thing in it’s own right so you keep your mental context on the relationship and not the people in it.

Glenn is trying to write a great story.

Samuel spends his days coming up with awesome boat metaphors, which makes Glenn want to give up writing and try to figure out how to become a sea captain instead.

The Dramatica Pen Pals are drawn together by a desire to understand the Relationship Throughline.



@glennbecker another one here,

I’ve been toying with this idea.

The reason we call people relatives is because the relations are RELATIVES.

I guess relationships by nature are RELATIVE.

This are always in flux.

If relations are RELATIVE by nature, is it possible to have CONSTANTS.

A good way to begin grasping relations is to realize they are RELATIVE by nature.

Then people can build up towards CONSTANTS but I realize relations are RELATIVE by nature.

RELATIVES and CONSTANTS in relationships.

1 Like

Totally! You can imagine a single relationship developing like :
sworn enemies
working partners
whirlwind romance
old friends

The relationship throughline is all about how the relationship or relationships change and transform over the course of the story. Do you see how thinking about the relationship as it’s own thing makes it easier to think about these changes?


The idea of relationships as a boat gives a good starting point to think about relationships because it gives us a clear spatial image to latch onto, but is, I think, deficient in that it makes some assumptions that don’t always hold.

For instance, a physical boat would force us to be at the wave peaks and troughs (emotional ups and downs) at the same time, which isn’t always the case. And a physical boat doesn’t push us together or pull us apart (emotional distance). It’s the emotional wave that we are floating in, that moves over and through us, that lifts us up and down-not always in tandem-or that moves us closer or further from one another.


100% agree.

It’s such a tricky concept, especially for really linear people, that any foothold is helpful. It’s training wheels, for sure though.

Maybe thinking of closeness and separateness as ports and the conditions of the sea pushing them closer or further away helps extend the metaphor.

There’s a conflict between where the relationship wants to go, and what conditions force/will allow.

I think this is still probably too limiting and too linear though. When it comes to relationships, “nothing ever is, everything is becoming”.


This post is starting to remind me of something I heard a little while ago.

It’s a particular view of the world where everyone is connected by invisible strings. The string between two people can fray, decay, strengthen, lengthen, shorten, give or take slack, etc…, but it can never break. It’s often related to Fate or Destiny, but it inherently includes some ideas of a relationship as defined by Dramatica.

The string between two people would be a visual representation of a good portion of the relationship between them. If the metaphor were to be extended as to represent the emotional consonance or dissonance within the string, perhaps it could be made far more accurate.


What a great image. Beautiful.

1 Like

This made me think, and I thought of my father who left us in his 94th year and had served on the battleship South Dakota in WWII. Lots of complexity in that life. I’d say a relationship is the ocean.


Sorry to hear about your father. Sounds like he lived an incredible life.

This sounds super holistic, which means it’s probably a great way to think about the relationship throughline.

That said, as a really linear person, it kind of melts my brain. :smile:

1 Like