The #1 Quality to Look for in a Partner

Mark Manson
14 Feb 202400:54


TLDRThe transcript emphasizes flexibility as the key quality for a successful relationship, suggesting that rigidity hinders true connection. It highlights the importance of embracing the 'friction' in relationships, as proposed by Oliver Burkeman, and the idea that accepting people's imperfections is crucial for intimacy. Psychologist Robert Glover reinforces this by stating that falling in love involves appreciating the 'rough edges' of individuals, and that high expectations can prevent us from experiencing the depth of relationships.


  • 🔹 Flexibility is the top quality for a good partner, as rigidity hinders successful relationships.
  • 🌟 Mental health advice often emphasizes the importance of setting boundaries, but balance is key to avoid rigidity.
  • 💡 Oliver Burkeman's concept, 'the friction is the point,' suggests value in embracing the challenges within relationships.
  • 🤔 It's through enduring minor annoyances in others that we often form deeper connections.
  • 👫 Robert Glover's quote highlights falling in love with people's 'rough edges,' indicating the importance of accepting imperfections.
  • 🚫 Inflated expectations in relationships can lead to intolerance for inconvenience or discomfort.
  • 💔 A lack of willingness to tolerate discomfort can prevent the development of intimacy.
  • 💞 Embracing the less appealing aspects of a person can lead to a more genuine and intimate relationship.
  • 🌈 Understanding and accepting the 'rough edges' in relationships allows for a more realistic and fulfilling connection.
  • 🛠️ The concept of 'friction' can be a catalyst for growth and deeper understanding between partners.

Q & A

  • What is the number one quality that predicts a good partner according to the transcript?

    -Flexibility is mentioned as the number one quality predicting whether someone will be a good partner.

  • Why is rigidity considered a negative trait in partners, as discussed in the transcript?

    -Rigidity is viewed negatively because it is synonymous with being overly strict or bound, which can hinder the development of relationships.

  • How does the transcript describe the relationship between boundaries and rigidity?

    -The transcript suggests that being 'super boundary' is synonymous with being rigid, indicating a belief that too strict of boundaries can negatively impact relationships.

  • Who is Oliver Burkeman, and what concept of his does the transcript mention?

    -Oliver Burkeman is mentioned as a guest on the podcast, known for the concept that 'friction is the point', which emphasizes the importance of overcoming small difficulties in relationships.

  • What does 'friction is the point' mean in the context of relationships, according to the transcript?

    -In relationships, 'friction is the point' means that enduring and working through minor annoyances or challenges with people is crucial for building closeness.

  • Who is Robert Glover, and what is his viewpoint on love as mentioned in the transcript?

    -Robert Glover is identified as a psychologist who believes we fall in love with people's rough edges, emphasizing the importance of embracing imperfections in relationships.

  • According to the transcript, how can inflated expectations affect friendships and romantic relationships?

    -Inflated expectations can lead to an unwillingness to tolerate any inconvenience or discomfort, thereby reducing opportunities for intimacy.

  • What does the transcript imply about the role of suffering through obnoxious traits in others?

    -The transcript suggests that enduring the obnoxious traits in others is a crucial part of building intimacy and feeling closer to them.

  • How does the transcript propose one should approach mental health advice regarding rigidity and boundaries?

    -The transcript criticizes the advice to be very rigid and heavily boundaried, suggesting instead that flexibility is key to maintaining healthy relationships.

  • What lesson about relationships can be inferred from the discussed concepts of 'friction' and 'rough edges'?

    -The lesson is that challenges and imperfections in relationships are not only inevitable but also essential for building deeper connections and intimacy.



🤗 Flexibility: The Key to a Healthy Relationship

This paragraph emphasizes the importance of flexibility in relationships. It suggests that being rigid is detrimental to a partnership, as the mental health community often advises against it. The concept of boundaries is discussed, with the assertion that true connection involves embracing friction and the minor annoyances of one another. The idea is supported by Oliver Burkeman's notion that 'the friction is the point,' meaning that navigating these challenges can strengthen bonds. Furthermore, psychologist Robert Glover's insight is highlighted, stating that falling in love involves accepting people's imperfections. The paragraph argues that having unrealistic expectations can lead to intolerance of discomfort, which in turn hinders the development of intimacy.




Flexibility refers to the ability to adapt and change in response to different situations or challenges. In the context of the video, it is highlighted as the top quality for being a good partner, emphasizing the importance of not being rigid in a relationship. A flexible partner is more likely to navigate the complexities of being in a relationship, as they can adjust their expectations and behaviors to maintain harmony and intimacy.

💡Mental Health

Mental health encompasses an individual's emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how one thinks, feels, and acts. In the video, mental health is associated with the advice given for relationships, suggesting that one's mental health perspective can influence their approach to partnerships. It underscores the significance of maintaining a balanced mental state to foster positive relationships.


Boundaries in relationships refer to the limits and personal space that individuals establish to protect their well-being and maintain self-respect. While setting healthy boundaries is important, the video suggests that being overly rigid about them can hinder the development of deep connections. It implies that a balance must be struck between maintaining personal boundaries and being open to the natural give-and-take of a relationship.


Friction, in the context of the video, refers to the conflicts or irritations that naturally arise in relationships. It is presented as a positive force that can lead to a deeper understanding and connection between partners. Embracing friction means accepting the imperfections in others and working through challenges together, which ultimately strengthens the bond between individuals.


Intimacy in relationships refers to the closeness and trust that develops between individuals. It involves emotional and often physical closeness, built on mutual understanding, respect, and communication. The video emphasizes that by not being too rigid or having inflated expectations, one allows for the possibility of experiencing true intimacy, which comes from accepting and embracing each other's rough edges.


Expectations are the anticipated outcomes or behaviors that individuals have for themselves or others. In relationships, managing expectations is crucial as it influences the level of satisfaction and the ability to handle conflicts. The video suggests that having inflated expectations can lead to intolerance for any inconvenience or discomfort, thereby hindering the development of intimacy.

💡Rough Edges

Rough edges symbolize the imperfections and unique characteristics of individuals. In the context of the video, embracing these rough edges is equated with accepting people as they are, including their flaws and idiosyncrasies. This acceptance is a key component in building meaningful relationships, as it fosters a deeper connection and understanding between partners.


Tolerance refers to the capacity to endure or accept feelings, behaviors, or situations that one may find difficult or disagreeable. In relationships, tolerance is essential for navigating through the challenges and differences that arise. The video emphasizes that being tolerant of the minor irritations in others can lead to a stronger bond and a more intimate connection.


Influence in this context refers to the effect that certain ideas, beliefs, or sources have on an individual's behavior or decisions. The video discusses how mental health advice can influence one's approach to relationships, highlighting the importance of being aware of the impact that external sources can have on one's personal life.


Relationships are the connections and interactions between individuals, which can range from casual friendships to romantic partnerships. The video focuses on the dynamics of relationships, particularly the importance of flexibility, tolerance, and embracing each other's imperfections to build strong and intimate connections.

💡Personal Growth

Personal growth refers to the process of self-improvement and development that comes from experiences, challenges, and learning. In the context of the video, personal growth is implied through the idea that embracing friction and imperfections in relationships can lead to a deeper understanding of oneself and others, fostering emotional maturity and stronger connections.


The number one quality that predicts whether somebody's going to be a good partner is flexibility.

Rigidity in a partner is not desirable according to mental health experts.

Being boundaried is synonymous with being rigid, which is not conducive to healthy relationships.

Oliver Burkeman's perspective on friction being the point is particularly relevant in relationships.

Suffering through little obnoxious things about people can ultimately bring you closer to them.

Robert Glover, a psychologist, emphasizes that we fall in love with people's rough edges.

Having inflated expectations of people can make us intolerant of inconvenience or discomfort.

Intimacy is often robbed from relationships when we are not willing to tolerate discomfort.

Flexibility is key to navigating the challenges and frictions that naturally occur in relationships.

Embracing the imperfections in others can lead to deeper connections and understanding.

The concept of boundaries should not be confused with rigidity in a relationship.

Friction in relationships can be a catalyst for growth and stronger bonds.

Accepting and working through discomfort in relationships can enhance intimacy and mutual respect.

Psychologists suggest that a willingness to endure minor irritations can be beneficial for relationship health.

In relationships, it's important to differentiate between healthy boundaries and unnecessary rigidity.

The friction between partners can be a sign of a dynamic and evolving relationship.

Robert Glover's quote highlights the importance of accepting people as they are, with all their imperfections.

Mental health experts advocate for flexibility and tolerance in relationships to foster deeper connections.



the number one quality that predicts


whether somebody's going to be a good


partner is flexibility you don't want to


be with a rigid partner and what the


mental health stuff out there is saying


is be really rigid be super boundar and


boundar is synonymous with rigid you


can't be rigid if you want to have


relationships we had Oliver burkeman on


the podcast he's got this thing that he


says that I love the friction is the


point he uses it in the context of


everything but I think it's especially


true in the context of relationships


that it is kind of suffering through


those little obnoxious things about


people that ultimately makes you feel


closer to them there's a psychologist


named Robert Glover he he has a great


quote where he says we fall in love with


people's rough edges if our expectations


of people both in friendships and


romantic relationships become too


inflated then we're not willing to


tolerate any sort of inconvenience or


discomfort and we rob ourselves of that


the chance of that intimacy

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