For many of those born to my generation, finding friendships or romance is all about chemistry. That elusive time in life when things just click with another person, when the conversation comes easily and naturally, and you find yourself feeling as if you’ve known the person for years after only a few days. Or it could be that person you meet who seems to have all the qualities you’ve been searching for, and they’re really attractive too. Of course, this is our romanticized positive notion of chemistry, and the rest of our experiences, both neutral and negative, are the result of chemistry as well. The bonding we experience as human beings encompasses the drama of sublimation that is falling in love and the slow descent into heat death that is the end of a marriage.
One of the most common bonds is the covalent bond. In chemistry, it is the kind of bond in which atoms share their negatively charged electrons in such a way that both their configurations are stable. We have this bond in human relationships as well. It’s the kind of friendship in which we can share our faults with each other in a constructive fashion that leads to healthy psychological development. It’s the kind of marriage in which each spouse is open about the others flaws in a way that doesn’t tear them apart. A common example of this type of bond is water, an incredibly life-giving substance and one that is successful in many forms.
Another type of bond is the ionic bond. In chemistry, it is the kind of bond in which positive and negative ions are attracted to each other. I see this bond pretty routinely in romantic relationships. A person with great positive qualities will want to nurture or save a person with many negative qualities. In many cases, the person who is trying to nurture or save the other will stay closely bonded to the other person despite the fact that they are not losing their negative qualities, not realizing that their positive presence is what enable them to retain those negative qualities. A common example of this type of bond is salt, a compound that preserves and adds flavor, but is best taken in moderation.
Then we have the metallic bond, in which negative electrons roam freely among the constituent atoms. This bond is increasingly common among those of my generation and younger. It’s the kind of bonding that happens when friends get drunk, trash the house, violate that goat on their neighbor’s property, and get arrested. The negative behaviors are shared freely and without regard for the well-being of others. It’s an incredibly strong bond that often lasts many decades, if not a lifetime. A common example of this type of bond is iron, a very strong metal, and one that is often subject to the weakening and ugly effects of oxidization.
If you want to find chemistry with another person, I highly recommend a covalent bond.