Form Meaningful Relationships
With the ever expanding world of social media many new relationships are made every day. For some, the need and desire to get out to meet people is dwindling however, I would argue that nothing compares to getting out and meeting people face to face. It’s this personal interaction that can form and solidify a real, deep and meaningful connection, but these types of relationships are difficult to find.
There are many types of relationships. There are intimate relationships you have with loved ones, family and very close friends, these types of relationships are generally few and far between. Acquaintances are a little easier to come by. You may touch base with these people from time to time but don’t really know them all that well and in general they fade fast. Building, nurturing and maintaining meaningful relationships is one of the best things we can do.
Types of relationships
The whirlwinds. These are people you meet once, have a great time with or are awe-struck by, and then never see again. It could be a brush with a celebrity or someone you really respect and look up to. It could also simply be a great person you happened to cross paths with. A lot of my whirlwind relationships have been formed on tours while on holiday. If you’ve ever travelled and taken a local tour then you know what I’m talking about. You spend either the afternoon, a day, two days or more with a dozen or so people. Without fail you end up chit chatting with a few of them sharing stories and experiences and at the end of the tour you all go your separate ways and that’s it. I’ve met some really wonderful people this way none of whom I’ve kept in contact. These relationships were fleeting there was no real substance but they were great people and I’m happy I got to spend a bit of time with each of them.
The acquaintances. These are people you know, touch base with occasionally but don’t spend a lot of time with. There are a few levels on the acquaintance scale; from people you say hello to as you walk past them in the hallway at work to those you eat lunch with every day but the relationship rarely goes beyond that. Typically you call these people infrequently and don’t spend a whole lot of time with. These relationships tend to be rather superficial and rarely go beyond simple pleasantries.
The rocks. These are the people who will be there for you no matter what, they are your rocks, your pillars. Take care of these relationships as it’s rare to have more than a few of these kinds of people in your life. The rocks are the people you go to because you enjoy their company, you don’t expect anything from them apart from some good conversation and that is reciprocated. You genuinely look forward to their company and at the end of your time together you feel relaxed, calm and good. These relationships don’t feel like hard work to maintain, when you find someone with whom everything just clicks, it’s easy.
Finding and establishing meaningful relationships
First, establish what a meaningful relationship isn’t. Take stock of all the relationships you currently have. For each one ask yourself:
- Does this relationship exist purely out of convenience?
- Are you filling a void for the other person?
- Is that other person filling a void for you?
- Is it a take, take and take some more relationship either on your part or theirs?
- Do you start to feel down about yourself when you are around them?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then I’d wager a guess that the relationship you are examining isn’t that meaningful as it stands right now, there are too many conditions. But it can be saved, if indeed you want it to be. Do you care for the person enough to want to change it and have them around in a more positive way?
Second, define what a meaningful relationship is to YOU. To find the rocks, those pillar people that you can form long lasting and meaningful relationships with you need to understand what that means to you. There are a few qualities that are characteristic of a meaningful relationship:
- mutual respect
- mutual trust
- good conversation (i.e. communication)
- make you feel good, positive and uplifted
The relationships I have and that I consider to be meaningful have all of the qualities listed above. I also dislike complexity so by maintaining all of these qualities my relationships work really well. Apart from my immediate family there are only a few people (less than 5) that I would consider to be very close friends, my pillars. I admit that I’m not as good as I could be, or indeed should be, at building and strengthening those relationships but no body’s perfect…not even me! and it gives me something to work on and improve.
Look for someone you can befriend without expectations, where there are no strings attached – you enjoy each others company and that is enough. To form a meaningful relationship you need to be willing to open yourself up and let someone into your life. If you have someone you share a meaningful relationship with be sure to spend time with them everyday or every week working on it, communicate and deepen that bond you share.
Every person we meet is another living breathing human being and we’re all in search of the same thing…happiness, the feeling of belonging and acceptance. Reach out, find a commonality, be open, genuine and accepting. Get to really know someone, find common interests and get lost in a great conversation. Show love, give love and accept love is one of the best things you can do to form a relationship of deeper meaning that will last a long, long time.
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Photo courtesy of: carf