It has its own rules, its own language, and requires a level of emotional and practical understanding that is unmatched in most other professions.

So every workplace has its soap operas, but, subjectively speaking, I don't think I have ever seen an industry as inbred as ours.

I would argue that our numbers are higher--way higher. EMS and, by extension, emergency services in general, is such a unique environment that it requires its own skill-set to successfully navigate.

I will give you all a few minutes to compose yourselves.

If EMS relationships are so bad for us, why do we keep doing it? Ok, it's cliché, but hot damn if it isn't the truth.

Partners know each other intimately on a personal and emotional level.

There are inside jokes, good days and bad, highs and lows that often have no real parallel in "outside" life.

Well, we can--most of us clean up pretty well--but inevitably someone asks about work, usually during the entrée.

Even if the person you're seeing is not in the middle of EMS, he or she can usually see it from the police, fire or emergency department.

This particular tidbit is obviously not isolated to EMS; it extends to our brethren in the other services.