What is WAF? And how do you get it?

A woman holding a sign

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Any audiophile who has spent time in AV forums or Hi-Fi communities or Reddit groups for audiophiles, headphone lovers, and Hi-Fi lovers, will be familiar with seeing the term WAF. 

More commonly seen in Hi-Fi circles, WAF simply stands for Wife Acceptance Factor.

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you’ll know that I have made this more inclusive by coining the term PAF which is Partner Acceptance Factor.

Without WAF, you only have Wrath. Follow me as I guide you through the process of achieving WAF and how to avoid pitfalls and failure.

The fundamental principle of achieving WAF is simply that one must obtain a partner’s approval before renovating one’s living room or studio into an audiovisual cornucopia. 

The three typical methodologies for achieving such audio bliss are to either:

  • A, discuss planned purchases with one’s partner before purchasing, possibly to the extent of some 3D renderings of what new speakers, Hi-Fi components, or a turntable stand will look like in this shared space. 
  • Or B, arriving home and surprising one’s partner with many boxes of large Hi-Fi equipment and therefore, typically incurring Wrath (see earlier definition for more details). 
  • Or C, which is a hybrid approach where you gain approval for some items but return with more than expected exclaiming you “didn’t realise the speakers were so big” or ”there was a great deal on”.

My general guidance for you is that it is better to achieve WAF rather than Wrath, which can be defined as a sustained and prolonged uncomfortable silence, and in extreme cases, may result in the repackaging of said purchased boxes and a return to the Hi-Fi store for an embarrassing refund, unless there is a no questions asked policy.

Also called the drive of shame.

I have little doubt that most Hi-Fi stores are quite familiar with the returning partner arriving with their tail between their legs after being rejected at the door to the home because of unapproved Hi-Fi purchases. 

One’s quest for audio file greatness can only come balanced with the approval of the special people in one’s life. And no quest for audio perfection can be reached without a common agreement between those sharing common spaces.

A man and a woman fighting

Unfortunately, this can mean compromise.

We cannot assume, however, that WAF is a singular one-way exchange, for there are many times in a partnership where compromise goes both ways. 

When the purchase desires of your partner conflict with your own – it is in that conflict that the chance for negotiation arises.

You see, if one is willing to entertain one person’s purchase intent, one must also accept the others. 

This compromise might occur between an Art purchase and your Hi-Fi or new furniture and your HiFi. It could even be a partner’s desire for fashion and apparel that gives the opportunity to negotiate the purchase of Hi-Fi accessories into your own collection. 

This means that there are times when patience is key. In the words of John Lennon, just give peace a chance. 

While it may feel painful to put off the mellifluous sonic beauty that you know you will achieve with new Hi-Fi equipment it won’t be long until your partner has a desire for something which opens up this road to negotiation.

WAF at its core is about keeping the peace, staying balanced, and ensuring that you don’t have to take the drive of shame back to the Hi-Fi store or spend time sleeping on the couch.

This theory is the fundamental definition of WAF. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with WAF please don’t hesitate to share your story below so that we, the audio community, can gather around and support you through this time.

Stay strong people. Stay strong.

Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.

Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.

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