READ Thoughts

Familiarity Breeds… Contentment?

Leah takes a look at her love of familiarity, and asks if she is a commitmentphile.

I know you’ve heard the saying before, the old adage of  ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. The simple but logical idea that if you spend too much time with someone or do something too much you will eventually see flaws in the things you once adored. As much as I do appreciate the premise, like the true millennial I am, I’m afraid I would like to give this proverb the remix that absolutely no one asked for. I hear your motto and I raise you ‘familiarity breeds contentment.’

Without a shadow of a doubt I am lazy a creature of habit and I really do get a sick kick out of a good, reliable, unchanging routine. The more futile the routine the better, there’s something about being propped up by the familiarity of a well trodden tradition that just feels right. Like a semi threadbare hoodie that you can’t stop putting on despite it being well past its wear-by date. Therefore I’d have to say either I am the exception to the aforementioned rule or this rule is simply no longer fit for purpose. In a world that is constantly fluctuating between utter chaos and relative insanity I find my self yearning for all things familiar more than ever.

Firstly let’s talk about my viewing habits. Here is a couple of examples for your consideration, have a read and let me know if this is normal behaviour. When I was about sixteen I went through a phase of watching the seminal coming of age blockbuster ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’ every night before bed for about a year. I am extremely proud to admit that I know that film back to front upside down. From the bitterly accurate feminist commentary ‘But Jas, boys don’t like girls for funniness‘ to the empowering but embarrassing ‘In case you haven’t noticed I’m a woman now. I wear a bra!‘.


Almost ten years on and I find myself falling back in to similar routines and I am certain lockdown life has only exacerbated my desire for the same old. At this point Jess, Nick, Winston and Schmidt, are about to file a restraining order to stop me gate crashing their loft again. I’m easily on my fourth re-run of the entire New Girl boxset since it’s launch in 2011. Maybe its nostalgia, maybe it’s bone idleness but rewatching my favourite films and TV shows just feels like home to me. And I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not the only one, why else would Channel 4 be showing ‘Big Brother: Best Shows Ever’ and why else would ITV be showing vintage episodes of Coronation Street?


I’m beginning to wonder if I have subconsciously drifted towards familiarity in the more significant relationships I have formed over the years. Take friendship for example. Despite university, moving away and grown up jobs I have had little to no desire to tear myself away from the core team that have orbited me at varying distances since school days. That’s not to say that at the grand old age of 25 I will be padlocking my proverbial friendship gates. It’s not a total ‘no new friends’ policy but I certainly can’t imagine not having them in my life at some point.

It doesn’t take a genius to guess that yes I am in fact in a long term relationship. Speaking as a wholly unqualified expert on the subject I imagine the so called ‘seven year itch’ is partly rooted in the idea that familiarity breeds contempt. I suppose statistics would suggest that the odd unmade bed or passive aggressive text can be tolerated for seven years tops until your average Joe or Joanna taps out. I on the other hand am celebrating my seventh anniversary this year and my itch is hydrated and moisturised. That sounded at lot less romantic than I had imagined. My point being that the longer I’m with this guy the more content I feel. If anything I feel like we are slipping in to our seven year groove.

I can see how the idea of knowing someone so well that when they cock their head slightly to the left and frown it means all hell is about to break loose or that when they hear that one particular Barry White deep cut the flood gates are about to open could be unappealing or even intimidating to some. But I am quite clearly a commitmentphile. Be it to my favourite podcast, or favourite people you’re not getting rid of me any time soon.



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