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  • - Ross and Rachel, where are you now?

  • - They're in the suburbs with the baby I think.

  • - Oh, they should do a reunion.

  • - Oh, that's an, that's a new idea.

  • Yeah. Nobody's ever thought

  • of a friends reunion before. - [laughing]

  • Hi, I'm Laura Heck.

  • I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist,

  • certified Gottman therapist and cohost,

  • of marriage therapy radio.

  • - Hi, I'm Zach Brittle.

  • I'm a certified Gottman therapist

  • in private practice in Seattle, Washington.

  • I'm also the co-host of marriage therapy radio

  • with Laura Heck.

  • - Zack and I are back with vanity fair,

  • to take a look at the relationship

  • between Ross and Rachel on friends.

  • [upbeat music]

  • Ross has harbored a secret crush on Rachel

  • since the ninth grade.

  • They went to the same high school

  • and their families were friends.

  • As teens, Ross was sort of a nerd

  • and Rachel was quite popular.

  • - As an adult, Ross gets divorced from his wife

  • because she turns out to fall in love with another woman.

  • Rachel leaves her fiance at the alter

  • and they all connect together in this coffee shop

  • and begin this journey

  • that we watched for 10 years called friends.

  • - What are you doing here?

  • Well, you said you couldn't go out,

  • so, - You brought a picnic.

  • Oh, what a boyfriend.

  • That's it. On Monday, I start wearing makeup,

  • [crowd applause]

  • - Ross honey, this is very nice, but I got a crisis.

  • - Yeah , but I've got couscous

  • [crowd applause]

  • - If we're just talking like pure relationship dynamic,

  • it's pretty bad when you can't pick up on your

  • partners explicit cues, and she's doing her best.

  • She's trying, but she's don't got much to work with here.

  • - [audience laughing]

  • - [laughs] Pepper?

  • - I think he's also so focused on what he wants

  • and that can be so frustrating in a relationship

  • when you are so focused on what your desires are,

  • and what you want rather than paying attention

  • to what your partner is literally saying to you.

  • - I think that's actually a really good point,

  • particularly when you think again

  • about the trajectory that the two of them are on.

  • He's been trying to woo her for decades

  • and she's kind of late to the party.

  • So he's actually living into his dream

  • and he's not gonna blow it.

  • So, I'll give him at least that.

  • - Ross, you're not listening to me.

  • I don't have time to stop.

  • - Come on Rachael, you don't have what

  • 10 minutes, - I don't have 10 minutes,

  • - Sophie, does she have

  • 10 minutes, - Ross - I told you I don't.

  • - I have to say when he turns to,

  • the first time I watched this, when he turns to, secretary.

  • I think they called them secretaries back then, and says,

  • "Hey, does she have 10 minutes"?

  • That would send me over the edge.

  • Clearly she's already escalated.

  • She's already stayed feeling like she's internally chaotic.

  • And now he's saying,

  • "Hey, I don't believe what you're saying about yourself".

  • And he turns to her assistant and that I would yell.

  • - Don't yell at me.

  • Okay, this is the most I've seen you all week.

  • - Look I cannot do this right now, Okay.

  • I've got a deadline!

  • - I think there's a very important alignment issue here,

  • that when you're not aligned,

  • you're not going to have effective communication period.

  • To me, when you wanna know what people's priorities are,

  • you follow their time and their money.

  • And so what she's basically saying is,

  • you're not a priority for me,

  • because I don't have 10 minutes for you.

  • And that would be frustrating as well.

  • - I disagree.

  • I think that if someone says,

  • I'm gonna be in the middle of a shit storm right now

  • at work, and I need to get this done.

  • And then you walk in and you say what you just said,

  • you know what?

  • I'm more important, My desires,

  • what I haven't planned for you

  • is more important than this right now.

  • Setting up a boundary and saying

  • I'm in the middle of something

  • and I know that I'm not gonna be able to attune to you,

  • or to be present for you.

  • So when I get home,

  • that's when we can celebrate the anniversary.

  • That's when we can talk.

  • - Would you just go home?

  • I'll talk to you later.

  • - Yeah buy why, - Good bye.

  • [mumbles]

  • - Now I think 100% your right.

  • I don't think this is an appropriate way

  • to request your time,

  • but you gotta remember this other piece too,

  • that he threw in there.

  • He said, this is the most I've seen you all week.

  • So she's made a more comprehensive decision

  • about where she's putting her time

  • than just these 10 minutes.

  • So, I think if couples are gonna thrive,

  • they need to make sure

  • that they create space for one another.

  • Certainly within the context of a week,

  • maybe not within the context of,

  • Hey, I just barged in on your workplace.

  • - Look, about what happened earlier.

  • - [mumbling]

  • I completely understand you were stressed.

  • - I was gonna give you a chance to apologize to me!

  • - For what, for letting you throw me out of your office.

  • You had no rights coming down to my office Ross.

  • You do not bring a picnic basket to somebody's work,

  • unless maybe they were a park ranger.

  • - Excuse me, for wanting to be with my girlfriend

  • on our anniversary.

  • Boy, what an ass am I?

  • - That's defensiveness, FYI, in case you're watching this.

  • Oh, pity me, I did something and I'm not to be at fault.

  • So he's just, he's being defensive at the moment.

  • - Well, and I think the other piece too,

  • is this idea that you talk about a lot, which is kind of,

  • for some reason, she's got on her like a dark lenses.

  • You call them shit covered glasses.

  • - But I told you I didn't have the time.

  • - Yeah, well you never have the time.

  • Shit colored glasses.

  • It's really just this negative perspective.

  • So in the research,

  • you can either be in positive sentiment override where you

  • really look at your relationship,

  • you scan for the positives.

  • You're constantly on the lookout

  • for what you love and appreciate about your partner

  • and about your relationship.

  • Or you can be in negative sentiment override.

  • Negative sentiment override is where,

  • you find yourself really easily interpreting

  • neutral stimuli and your relationship as more negative.

  • Or you find that you're really just like on the lookout

  • for ways that your partner is hurting you

  • or betraying you or missing the Mark.

  • And, and I think in this instance,

  • just this one gesture of Ross showing up

  • with this picnic basket and offering a kind,

  • I think all of us could look at that and go,

  • Oh, that's so sweet.

  • I mean, we even see that with the assistant.

  • - That's it, on Monday I start wearing makeup.

  • [Audience applaud]

  • - Her lenses are more accurate than Rachel's at this point.

  • Cause she goes, that's so sweet.

  • And the way that Rachel looks at it is through negative

  • sentiment override, which takes time

  • to creep in for you to get to the place

  • where your relationship is overdrawn.

  • And you're you're misinterpreting

  • actions in the relationship.

  • - They aren't in a healthy, foundational space,

  • because if they were,

  • and he shows up with the basket,

  • which is effectively, it's an interpretable act,

  • Am I gonna interpret it as an intrusion as a relief.

  • And I'm more likely to interpret it as a relief

  • when the foundation is intact.

  • - For a week, they haven't connected.

  • And if you are feeling like there's been disconnection,

  • you think of like this

  • emotional bank account between the two of you.

  • And all week long, you've just been making

  • all of these withdrawals, Cause you're busy,

  • you're stressed out at work.

  • You're not able to be with your partner.

  • And then all of a sudden Ross

  • shows up with this beautiful gesture.

  • And the lens that she's looking at that through

  • is interpreting that this is him barging in

  • rather than making a sweet gesture and saying,

  • I just wanna spend time with you.

  • Ross, what do you want from me?

  • You want me to quit my job

  • so you can feel like you have a girlfriend.

  • - No, but it would be nice if you'd realize

  • that it's just a job,

  • - Just a job.

  • - Yes.

  • - There's so many things happening here

  • that just make the spiral go down even further.

  • Because, what we know about Rachel is that she had been

  • working at the coffee shop and now she's working in a job

  • that is her dream job.

  • And he says, it's just a job,

  • which completely minimize her dream and her importance.

  • - Ross, do you realize this is the first time in my life.

  • I'm doing something I actually care about.

  • This is the first time in my life,

  • I'm doing something that I'm actually good at.

  • That to me is her saying, you don't know me.

  • Cause if you knew me, if you cared about me,

  • if you were honoring my dreams,

  • then you would recognize that this is a big deal.

  • And when I'm stressed out, and I need to get something done

  • or want to accomplish something at work.

  • It's because it's not just about work.

  • It's about the dream.

  • - We should just take a break.

  • - Okay, fine.

  • You're right, let's take a break.

  • Let's cool off, let's get some frozen yogurt or something.

  • - Perfect idea, take a break.

  • Go get some frozen yogurt separately.

  • - No!

  • - No, this is it.

  • - [exhales deeply]

  • A break from us.

  • - Do you call that stonewalling?

  • He leaves the room.

  • - Yeah, I mean, stonewalling

  • is basically just shutting down from your partner.

  • When you become a Stonewall, you're not engaging.

  • You're not speaking, your non-verbals aren't present.

  • They grab their keys, they leave, they go for a drive.

  • Stonewalling is without agreement.

  • Taking a break however can be incredibly helpful.

  • And that would have been had they followed this and said,

  • you know what, why don't we take a break?

  • And Rachel would have bate her tongue rather than saying,

  • I need a break from us.

  • My guess is that

  • they would have calmed down,

  • cause right now they're in sort of

  • Diffused Physiological Arousal [DPA]

  • of what we consider fight or flight.

  • they're flooded.

  • And you just can't have a good conversation