As a way to bump up my readership, I took a dip in the icy, shark-infested waters of Reddit.

I’ve never really spent much time on the platform, only checking in when Google results pushed me that way or if I saw a particularly amazing celebrity (Obama) was sitting in for a chat. NOTE: Miss that guy.

If you haven’t spent much time on Reddit, it’s worth taking a quick gander.

Wow.

Reddit’s an eye-opening cauldron of authenticity, a place that prides itself on radical candor and straight talk, the best and worst of the internet. The conversations are wonderfully honest, but they also seem callous, with frequent direction on what people should do and comments like “your husband is an idiot.”

I hit the Relationships page. The threads voted to the top are Jerry Springer-calibre gooey clickbait:

You could read this stuff forever! It’s the bastard love child of a car crash and a soap opera, minus the visuals.

Two things from my tour stuck with me:

  • People post immensely readable issues/catastrophes when the problems land. We seek help from priests, parents, friends, random guys at airports–only when problems come up. But we rarely take preventative action that shores up our relationship to avoid or withstand the early stages of problems. The stuff we need more of isn’t tales of intrigue filled with adultery and murder, it’s routine small acts of love, the habits that build partnerships.
  • Don’t post problems to Reddit. I’d rather wait a day for a generous hearing from my brother than verging-on-cruel reality punches from people who don’t know you, with random asides about pig farming.

The User Manual is structured to focus on three areas: daily doses of love (habitual kindness), relationship booster shots (big ticket love fests to energize your partnership), and troubleshooting (Reddit catnip). Troubleshooting has always stood out the hot ticket people need RIGHT NOW.

I mean, we’re not digging out the User Manual for the toaster in most cases unless it breaks.

But it’s those daily habits, that preventative maintenance, that ongoing affection, that help us avoid Reddit-level awful. If your toaster was as valuable as your relationship, you’d probably clean out the crumbs more.

In conclusion, I didn’t pick up any readers from Reddit (I don’t think)–! But did pick up some insights, and that’s probably worth more.

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