BOUNDARIES, parameters, labels, definitions, names. Conventions. Expectations.
To some, these are the stuff of constraint and unnecessary binding. They make for suffocation, for premature commitment - and represent the gamut of constrictive inflexibility and rigidity.
To others, they are what enable them to define and neatly compartmentalise the elements of life, to provide meaning and to give a tangible and sense of reality. In this, there is comfort, security and peace of mind.
I fall into the latter category. Fairly and squarely. There is no use denying it and as much as I try, the spontaneity and cool that goes with a wait-and-see approach is something that has always been lost on me.
I am well aware I am not the kind to throw caution to the wind, seize the moment and just see where life takes me. In relationships - all relationships - the same applies as in all facets of my life.
It can be thwarting, I will concede. However, I respond best to structure, and well-defined parameters. I don't do wait and see very well at all.
And if there is no structure to fit into, I'll just go and make one. Such is life.
The comfort in this, is knowing I am not alone. Does it mean we who seek definition and structure are all control freaks? Almost certainly. But it also means things are a lot more black and white. We are as cut and dried as we are plain and simple.
Grey area is tolerated in small measure - celebrated even - where appropriate.
But in all, it's clear-cut simplicity we crave.
So understandably, when confronted with our counter, it can be achingly, head-scratchingly difficult for us to deal with. Just as it is for them to understand us.
In equal measure, there is benefit in both. Too little flexibility can leave you blinded to opportunity and the chance to enjoy some of life's most cherished delights. Too much, however, and let's face it, nothing would get done.
Like everything in life, things are best when there is balance. So let the rigidity be tempered by spontaneity, the boundaries with flexibility and give permission to yourself to see what it's like on the other side of the divide.
It'll undoubtedly scare the wits out of you, but there is nothing more fabulous than stepping out of your emotional comfort zone.