People & Relationships

People & Relationships

Relationship is defined as a state of connectedness between people. Although in today’s society with its crazy rhythm of everyday life, when people tend to live in densely populated megapolises, spending most of their time in the office and hardly knowing their neighbor’s name, we still find ourselves in some kind of a relationship – with friends, family, or colleagues.

Family relationships are the first people’s relationships to enter into. Parents and relatives influence our emotional development by creating a model that we are sometimes bound to follow all our life, often subconsciously. People who have grown up in large happy families usually feel more emotionally secure than those, whose parents had gone through a divorce. For sure you know quite a few attractive and successful women who remain single for some ‘mysterious’ reason. They often turn out to be victims of their past. Deep inside they cannot overcome the fear of being abandoned, that comes from their childhood, when one or both of their parents left them or just did not pay enough attention. A well-established young man can be scared of a commitment in a relationship as his parents’ family model failed to convince him that getting married makes one happy.

In daycare, at school, then in the office we spend a lot of time among fellow students and coworkers. We learn to maintain business relationships, to work in a team environment, then form smaller groups of like-minded people and finally select some of them as our friends.

What is a true friendship? How does it start? Are we destined to become friends with certain people or can we actually plan whom to be friends with?
“Everybody's friend is nobody's”, said Arthur Schopenhauer. Unlike a companionship based on belonging to the same team or group, friendship is a very personal and selective type of people’s relationships. It calls for trust, sincerity, and emotional bonds. It’s not without reason that we call our friends our alter ego. 

Sociologists believe that most of the people are looking for similarity of views, social status, and interests when choosing friends. No wonder that our friends are often people of the same age, sex, and education. Another important factor is joint activity and solidarity. This is the reason why many of us befriend their colleagues and people who work in the same field.   

Another underestimated common prerequisite for friendship is geographical proximity. If our friends move out of town or overseas, it is a very common reason why friendship falls apart. Maintaining a long distance friendship is a challenge, and not many of us pass this test.

Most people would agree that a friend is someone who would always listen and understand. “Understanding” in this context implies a lot of meanings – compassion, sympathy, and emotional closeness. It’s a process when your friend deciphers your emotional state, shares your feelings, identifies himself/herself with you.

“Friendship is like money, easier made than kept”, said Samuel Butler. To maintain friendship we have to make an effort. Friendship can be time consuming and might require some sacrifice from our part – staying up all night comforting a girlfriend after a hard breakup, canceling you hairdresser’s appointment to babysit your friends’ kids, or taking care of someone’s pets. But friendship rewards us with a warm feeling of being there for someone, being important, being part of someone’s life.

The number of single people is growing every day, making modern psychologists question the need for a serious relationship between men and women. People are getting more and more self-sufficient and don’t seem to need a life partner any longer. Now, when successful career and professional self-realization have become priority for fresh graduates, when taking maternity leave will take away your chances of ever catching up with your more successful and commitment-free coworkers, most people tend to delay settling down or even moving in with someone until their late thirties. And by this time many of them are so much used to living independently, that they find a mere thought of living with someone or considering any kind of commitment repulsive. “I am not a marrying type. I am missing the bride gene”, says Carrie Bradshow in the “Sex and the City”, who has become a role model for many single women around the world.

It’s a reality we have to acknowledge – people become more and more alienated, introverted and scared of getting closer to each other. Does it seem familiar? Each gender is trying to make con¬tact with the other side, but is becoming trapped and confused in the process. Like a beast who has come too close to a hot-wired electric fence, we've seen both men and women jump back and retreat from the oppo¬site sex, because they are afraid of risking the potential pain of rejection. So they keep their distance.

However, psychological studies reveal that people who manage to maintain healthy relationships really have more happiness and less stress. There are simple ways to make relationships healthy, even though each one is different… boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, professors, roommates, and classmates.

Here are some tips to keep any kind of people’s relationships healthy:

• Accept people as they are and don’t try to change them.
• Be yourself. Healthy relationships are made of real people, not images!
• Talk with each other and genuinely listen.
• Be reliable – keep your promises, meet deadlines
• Don’t criticize. Avoid blaming the other person for your thoughts and feelings.
• Admit mistakes and say ‘sorry’ when you are wrong