The article discusses the nature and characteristics of relationships (both personal and professional) and suggests ways to take care of a healthy relationship.
When two persons enter into a relationship (be it professional or personal), the subsequent interaction happens. There are three well-defined areas – the two individuals having unique identities A, B, and a third shared identity (C).
This is a really important concept – that the connection is separate from the persons who create the relationship. Just as we invest in ourselves, we have to invest in the relationship also.
A relationship is sort of a child born out of two persons coming together, and therefore the child has a unique and distinct personality from the two parents. The way parents train the youngster (emotionally and spiritually) determines how the child grows.
Characteristics of Relationships
Now, let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of relationships below;
1. We invest time in a relationship.
Since time is limited, the quantity of time spent eats into personal time and this creates issues. The time can be willingly given, or forcibly taken. The time spent is at the expense of other activities and these have repercussions.
We believe that if time is being invested, it should be utilized well. If I perceive that the other person is physically present, but not emotionally there, I may feel the time to be wasted.
2. We invest emotional content in a relationship.
We establish memories of good and bad moments, we fight, make up and we spend quality time together. Each and every incident has an emotional moment that either strengthens or destroys the relationship.
3. We have multiple relationships at the same time.
We have an expert relationship at work, a semi-professional one with colleagues, and another set of relationships with pals, with parents, and with our spouse. The limited time creates a continuous tussle for prioritization.
4. Each relationship encompasses a purpose and fulfills some needs.
If the need cannot be fulfilled, the relationship dies. Sometimes due to social pressure, we continue in a relationship for the sake of appearances. This happens professionally as well as personally.
5. A relationship is of finite duration.
One person may be in it for a lifetime, or for a smaller duration. Sometimes, one person leaves the relationship, because of death or a change of priorities. Other times, needs change or are satisfied and there’s no need for the relationship.
In the long run, when the relationship comes to an end, we suffer a sense of loss. We retain the emotional content and remember the great times. All loss leads to a feeling of grief and we go through 5 stages of grief.
6. The nature and also the boundaries of a relationship change.
Mostly, when a person is in love, he or she sometimes puts all other relationships at low priority and invests everything in one relationship.
It occurs especially if we believe in some relationships or that the particular relationship will fulfill all our needs. Sometimes we start changing the relationship and wish for more out of the relationship than what the other person wants to offer. We start ignoring boundaries, start taking the relationship for granted, and forcing things as well.
How to maintain a relationship
In this write-up so far, we have talked about the characteristics of relationships and now it’s time to know how to maintain a relationship.
1. Acknowledge the limited nature and the changing nature of a relationship.
A person with a negative mindset may conclude that there is no use in a relationship. A person that is positive would rather enjoy the relationship and the experience that comes with it while it lasts.
We also got to understand that the initial boundaries and the time spent on a relationship will change. We should be prepared for it, and deal with it.
2. Investment manager
A bright and intelligent investment manager creates a portfolio of low-yield stocks that have guaranteed returns as well as instruments giving high returns but having more risk. He actively looks at the value of the portfolio and juggles his investments to match his objectives.
He spreads his risk and monitors daily. An unskilled manager will have a large reliance on one stock, and may not actively monitor, taking his portfolio for granted.
Similarly, we need to know that different needs are satisfied by different relationships, and counting on one relationship to satisfy all needs can create serious damage and is high risk.
3. A relationship is not the person.
We may respect the person, and we got to respect ourselves, and not blame the success or failure of the relationship on the person creating the relationship.
As a matter of fact, a relationship has a life of its own, different from the life of the persons involved. You cannot, individually, take the blame or the credit for the relationship.