The 'Let Them' Theory Can Change How You Approach Relationships (& Unveil The Truth About People)

Isaac Newton's third law of motion states, "To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction." This applies in the world of physics, where if one object exerts a push or pull on another object, then the second object must respond with a push or pull of the same scale (via Khan Academy). But the law of action and reaction doesn't fly so well when it comes to relationships.

It's difficult to sit back and allow people to do things that you perceive to be wrong, but romantic relationships aren't like the two objects in the physics hypothesis. In reality, not everything does require an immediate reaction.

The "let them" theory, which is currently making the rounds on TikTok, is setting a new standard in responding to transgressions. Rather than getting angry or trying to persuade people when they don't do right by you, simply allow them to carry on with whatever they're doing. Mel Robbins of "The Mel Robbins Podcast" explains in her video posted to TikTok that this technique can make you happier and less stressed in the long run while improving the quality of your relationships (and note: It doesn't actually involve letting people walk all over you).

Why you should 'let them'

Most of us have a signature way of responding to behavior that we don't like. You might be the type to confront your partner and bluntly state what the problem is. Maybe you're passive-aggressive or try to guilt the other person into doing the right thing. No matter what your go-to moves are, Mel Robbins recommends taking a step back and allowing people to make up their own minds about how they're going to act.

It's important to recognize that you'll never truly be able to control someone else. The sooner you give up trying to control someone, or trying to change your partner, the less frustrated and disappointed you'll be. By letting them do whatever they're doing, you are accepting that the other person has free will and you're no longer wasting time and effort trying to change that.

Along with protecting your mental health, letting people behave as they will always shows you who they really are. Everyone can make mistakes, but if their intentions are pure and they genuinely care about you, they won't continue to act in blatant ways that hurt you. When you try to police your date or partner's behavior, you'll never know whether they're treating you well out of affection for you, or because you're making them act a certain way. So letting people do things without responding or interfering can quickly show you which relationships you might need to walk away from.

It's not about letting people walk all over you

The theory might be difficult to swallow for self-respecting adults because it can seem like you're just allowing people to treat you like dirt. To be clear, this method isn't actually a lack of response altogether; technically, it's an informed delayed response, after you've given people the space to choose their own path.

Say you're dating someone and they keep canceling on you. Letting them in this case means that you don't force them to schedule another date. Instead, you step back and leave the ball in their court. Whether they have genuine excuses or they're just wasting your time, their true colors will come to the light, and then you can act accordingly. As Mel Robbins says in her TikTok video, "And when they reveal who they truly are to you, you now know what you can choose next that's right for you."

Ultimately, the theory is about letting people be who they are without forcing them into molds they'll never fit into. Relinquishing that control will bring you peace, along with the knowledge and freedom to decide what your next move will be.