A person is not a character. You can’t know their motivation. You can’t cut out the bits that don’t fit just to simplify their story (he wants to get the girl, she wants to get the job, he would rather be right than kind). They won’t follow the script you wrote or serve as a vehicle to prove your point. They might not grow, they might not help you grow and there won’t always be a tidy resolution, or even a vague artistic one.
A person is not spackle. You can’t spread them over your cracks and rough patches, wait for them to set and leave you shiny and perfect and new. Chances are they’re already stretched too thin.
A person is not a prize. You can’t earn or win them by being good enough, fast enough, smart enough or special enough. You can’t keep them on the mantle to remind you of how good, fast, smart or special you were. They do not prove your worth.
A person is not an answer. Not to “why am I unhappy?” Not to “what do I need?” Not to “what is the meaning of life?” Not to “how did I get here?” and not to “where do I go now?”
A person is not a work of art. You can frame them or put them on a pedestal, but they can’t be contained in an observable space. You can shape them and chip away bit by bit at the rough edges of their humanity, until you have the perfect marble angel you always wanted, but it will be just as untouchable and just as dead.
A person is not a rescue dog. You can’t take them home, patiently tolerate their issues and slather them with affection with the expectation that they will one day love you in return.
A person is not sorbet. They might be a great palate cleanser, and leave you feeling lighter than if you went ahead and committed to the ice cream, but a person rarely goes down quite as easily.
A person is not a play. They won’t project their feelings so you can hear them all the way in the back. There are no helpful sound or lighting cues to help you understand them. The clues you find in Act I don’t necessarily foreshadow the ending. Sometimes the gun on the mantle doesn’t go off. Sometimes everyone has a regular, boring evening, goes home and never talks about the gun again.