John did not understand the difference between sympathy and empathy, much to the frustration of his wife, Jane.
“Don’t patronize me, John,” she spat at him, after a particularly bad day at the the office. “I don’t need your sympathy.”
“At least, I’m not trying to solve the problem” he protested. “I've learned that much, at least.”
Jane sighed and kissed him on the forehead. “Yes, you've learned that much, at least.” As she headed to the bedroom, she spoke over her shoulder, “Who is going to order the food?”
John had also learned to understand when a question was, in fact, a command. “I will. What do you want?”
“I don’t know. Surprise me. Something new.” The door slammed with exclamation point authority.
John had also learned to recognize when a test had been set for him that he had to pass. He moved quickly to the dining room table and his laptop.
He typed, “New res...” and Google suggested, “New ways to please your spouse.”
He deleted the letters and tried again, typing, “Fast deliv...” and Google suggested, “Fast and easy ways to a happier marriage.”
Perplexed, John randomly ran his fingers over the keyboard. Google decided to show the results for “What every man needs to know to keep his partner happy.”
Clearly, John realized, Google’s predictive algorithms had evolved to the next level.
He reflected for a moment and then typed, “Surprise me. Something new.”
Google displayed only one link. It was titled, “Sympathy vs. Empathy.” The only ad on the page was for a new Thai-Ukrainian fusion restaurant that delivered and had a special on its "Dinner for Two." John called the restaurant, ordered a "Dinner for Two," and then returned to his laptop and followed the link.
After reading the article, John changed his habits immediately. From that day on, he saw an immediate improvement in his relationship with Jane. She soon mirrored his new behavior and John discovered it made a big difference to his own well-being, as well. From then on, everything in life seemed a little easier.
The curried perogies were also very good.