It’s quite a common phrase, isn’t it? People say it for different reasons, but they often mean similar things. “Put in just a pinch of salt”, “It’ll be done in a pinch”, “Oh no, I’m in a bit of a pinch”– something small occurs. The first two statements gives the sense that said pinch will resolve a problem and create a balanced solution. However, what happens in the last statement? The connotation is not outwardly positive and it obviously sounds like a problem is at hand.
Imagine this, you find yourself in a bit of a pinch with your significant other. What kind of pinch? Your significant other offhandedly criticized your outfit for the day; something you thought was planned out well and looked really nice. “Oh, change your shirt, it doesn’t work with the rest of your clothes and it seems a bit small for you,” sounds like it might not mean much, but it can.
What happens afterwards? What happens if you take offense to the statement no matter how little it seemed to mean to them? You may be in a pinch with your partner for the rest of the day, feeling a little miffed at what they said. You never said anything back in the moment, but you ended up wondering what they meant in the first place. Did they mean you have no sense of style? Did they mean you don’t know how to choose your clothes? Did they mean something weight related or there was something visually off-putting about you? The questions grow and your emotions stir into something grey causing you to feel worse throughout the day.
You meet with a friend and they notice your sad demeanour. They ask you about it and you say you’re simply in a pinch with your significant other; nothing too big. Your friend may say otherwise depending on how much you display your emotions. They offer you advice such as talking it out with your significant other just to avoid a huge conflict, but in your mind it’s nothing big and it won’t be catastrophic. It’s simply a pinch that will go away, or so you tell yourself.
As you return home and see your partner again, you notice that the sentiment towards them aren’t as positive anymore. You may or may not talk to them about the earlier situation or even your feelings. Say you don’t speak to each other about it and continue on as usual, but now you’ve become a bit more sensitive to your partner’s words and actions. Every once in a while you might make an offhand comment that are little jabs that momentarily make you feel better. Your partner doesn’t say anything and takes it, but ends up returning those same jabs.
It’s clear you and your partner are going to get into a heavy argument once that cycle of repeated attacks get out of hand. You were in a pinch and now you’re in a crunch— both of you are angry at each other, refuse to talk to each other, and it’s a mess of actions and emotions simply because no one wanted to clarify what was happening.
The argument eventually settles down, but the question now is how far did that original pinch take you and your significant other? Do you two eventually sit down and talk about what caused all the havoc, or is it too late that both of you need to separate your ways (temporarily or permanently) because of how much has happened between the pinch and the crunch?
What exactly happened in this scenario? How did something small grow into something so big? It may seem obvious, but there is a theory to this. It’s called The Pinch Theory as represented by this picture. In a nutshell, the theory shows that not addressing the original pinch (and communicating with the other party) will lead to a crunch that may ruin the relationship.
You and your partner have defined your roles as especially significant to one another. You live a good life together that is happy and enjoyable, but you have the odd conflict that you can easily get through. Unfortunately, there was that one day that put you off and put the both of you in a pinch. You left it unattended, let your emotions get the better of you and your relationship with your partner gets strained to the point that you have an explosive argument that becomes the ‘big moment’. You try to work things out with your partner and you may resolve the problem, but the two of you may end the relationship due to the growth of resentment during the entire conflict. You may or may not get back together later on, but you wish you settled things earlier.
Pinches in this case may be small to begin with, but they can grow into something wild and ridiculous when left unattended. Pinches should always remain small, that is why they are called pinches in the first place. Communicate and clarify your thoughts no matter how small you think they are because the goal is to prevent these big crunches in any relationship. If you’re on the other side and believe you may have started the pinch, continue to communicate to ensure everything is open between you and the other party.
Leave the pinch as just a pinch.