Your Arguments In IKEA Are Really About Everything Else In Your Relationship

Image courtesy of Nicholas Eckhart

In a deeply unscientific experiment, Vice’s Yasmin Jeffery went to IKEA to eavesdrop on strangers and try to draw wider conclusions about their relationships. While she was prowling in the UK, the feeling of wanting to argue with your partner in an IKEA, much like the feeling of being trapped in a parking garage with no way out, is a universal part of the human condition, even in places where there is no IKEA, because the arguments aren’t really about IKEA at all.

What are they about, then? Everything else in your relationship.

“IKEA makes you visualize what it would be like to consume their products by presenting ready-made kitchens, model bedrooms and bathrooms,” an expert in business psychology explains. Seeing an entire room set up catalog-perfect that they could have leads people to make inevitable comparisons to their own significantly crappier homes.

Can you get a snapshot of the problems in someone’s relationship just from a conversational snippet overheard while shopping? It turns out that you can. From single exchanges about a copper lamp, a spatula, gift wrap, or a laundry basket, a therapist who specializes in working with couples extrapolates problems with power dynamics, with one partner’s generosity, and a lack of shared vision about their home and their life together.

The experts’ advice for shopping at IKEA? Make a shopping list before you leave home. Stick to it, and don’t get distracted by visions of homes that aren’t yours.

I Creeped Around My Local IKEA to Find Out What Couples Argued About [VICE]

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