Writing in his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell tells the story of a marriage guidance counsellor who is able to predict success or failure of a couple after only a few minutes of interview time. The key he believes is contempt, if couples show contempt then all is lost, the relationship is doomed.
This week I have been speaking to people in primary care and secondary care.
In truth there were times when it did feel like being a marriage guidance counsellor.
All the red flags for relationship arguments were being waved in to the debate. The sin of absolute generalisation-"You always (then insert the apparent sin) in primary/secondary care" - really?- We always send out letters late? We always fail to refer appropriately? The sin of dragging in the in-laws "social care doesn't do its job and that's your responsibility to commission" is guaranteed to raise hackles.
Once absolute generalisation is used it tends to suggest that a fight is on the cards and that ignorance of each others feelings and functions is the underlying cause.
The main tragedy this week is that there is starting be be a little hint of contempt. "I never take my child to the GP he's rubbish- I don't know why any parent would."
Really? All GPs are rubbish?
Perhaps we should take a leaf out of the marriage guidance book and concentrate of creating a conversation in every health community which might just avert contempt, otherwise we will really find Irreconcilable Differences