Reacher vs. Settler

Posted on October 27, 2010


In every relationship, there is a reacher [stage right] and there is a settler [stage left].

Image Via Google Images

Listen for yourself: REACHER OR SETTLER?

Interesting concept, huh?

According to this writer, the reacher and settler’s definitions are as follows:

The Reacher: Someone who reaches beyond his/her looks and dates above his/her own looks.

The Settler: Someone who settles for some one less good looking than his/herself.


The “Better” View

When I watched the scene in the HIMYM episode, however, I took the concept farther than the whole “looks” side of it. I was thinking more into “who’s better than the other.” Because when you really think about it (well, if you actually decide to think about something from HIMYM!?), isn’t there a reacher and settler in every type of relationhip–not just romantic?

Think of two really good guy friends. Maybe one is more talented than the other. He’s taller, better with the ladies, better athlete, etc. So is he “settling” for the shorter, less athletic, not-good-with-the-ladies man?

Or what about two girl best friends? One is academically gifted and more of a people person, while the other is better looking. Which one is “reaching” and which one is “settling”? Or are either really “reaching” or “settling” at all?

The “Looks” View

OK, let’s look at it from the angle the HIMYM writers did. Let’s say there are “reachers” and “settlers” in relationships when it comes to “looks.”

In Marshall and Lily’s case, (for those of you who watch HIMYM), it would make sense to view Marshall as the reacher and Lily as the settler. Obviously, Lily is gorgeous, and Marshal is just so-so when it comes to looks.

I mean, it’s not only in HIMYM. I can’t tell you how many times I’m sitting in a restaurant, and this couple walks by, and all I’m thinking is, How the heck did that girl end up with that guy? Or vice versa.

My View

All right, people. Here’s my view.

Reachers and settlers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the concept. It all boils down to the amount of care two people put into a relationship. Whether it’s romantic, familial, or friendly, a person in a relationship will tend to “reach” or “settle” more than the other one.

The person who “reaches” more typically cares more than the one who is “settling.”

Let me scrap that–I’m going to screw these terms for a moment.

One person will put more effort into the relationship than the other. Often, it’s this particular person in the relationship who doesn’t realize at the beginning that he or she is the one who cares more. This person will forgive more easily and more often, be willing to share more, and is willing to make things more convenient for the other person.

On the other side, you have the–yes, I’m going to take the term again–the settler. This person is still a great [friend, family member, significant other]. But that person typically isn’t willing to give up as much as the other. He or she doesn’t say yes as much, isn’t willing to go out of their way as much, and is usually more comfortable with the relationship because he or she is getting more out of it than the other person.

No matter what way you look at it, the HIMYM writers were on to something when they put the entire “Reacher vs. Settler” concept in that script.

So next time you’re thinking about your relationships, maybe you should ask yourself whether you’re the reacher or settler.

Then again, maybe you should just reach a conclusion on your own to settle on.

I never was good at telling jokes.

Reacher and a settler sound clip