We all have meaningful relationships in our lives or at least we’ve had that experience (parents, friends, family, and love). But as we grow older, meaningful relationships seem harder to find. How can we connect deeply to someone and not just have relationships that scrap the surface of meaningful? Where can we find them and how will you know you’ve met someone worth keeping around?
We used to have no filters.
And got hurt over and over. So we developed walls to protect us from others. But sometimes those same walls that are meant to protect keep others away. My bottom line is, you’re going to have to open up to someone once in a while. But you should be prepared to recognize the ones that are going to be worthwhile opening up to.
In a crowd and still all alone.
This has got to be one of the worst feelings to have. Of being alone in spite of being surrounded by other human beings. But those same people don’t mean anything to you neither do you mean anything to them. They need to know you to care and love you. And as psychologists like John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth and others have pointed out attachment to other human beings is one of our most primal needs and essential to our mental health and adaptation. A lot of our mental health issues arise from a lack of attachment and meaningful relationships in our lives. We cannot forget we are social beings and need face-to-face contact.
Are you in meaningful and fulfilling relationships?
I’ll give a few clues on what are the components of a meaningful relationship. If you’re involved in love and friendship relationships that have components like:
- Respect. Do your friends call to check up on you? They don’t leaving waiting for hours? Do they listen when you talk?
- Time investment. Are the people around you making the effort to spend time with you? Even if they’re far away they still seem close by (because they call or send e-mails or texts)?
- Mutual feelings and caring. Does that person reply to your feelings in the same way? Do they empathize with you?
- A feeling deep connection. Do you feel like that person means a lot to you? Do you have a history together and memories you wouldn’t trade for anything?
- Understanding. Does that person make the effort to understand you even if they don’t agree with you?
If you checked yes in all components, congratulations! If you’re not involved in meaningful relationships start thinking on how you’re going to make room in your life to let the good ones in and he bad ones out.
Meaningful relationships: how do I get one?
- It involves work and personal commitment. I’m not going to lie to you: to have meaningful relationships, you’ll need to devote love, time and care to someone. It takes work but like I’ve always heard anything that is worthwhile in life has to be fought for.
- Be picky. You can be a crowd pleaser if you’re going to pursue meaningful relationships in your life. It’s much more effective to have one or two close friends than 500 friends on Facebook that are not around when you need a shoulder to cry on.
- Don’t give yourself to anyone and everyone. This follows that last one. Yes you have to give yourself a little bit, but people should earn your trust first. And don’t give yourself away, you’re precious. Make them work it!
- Don’t settle for scrapes of love. You’re looking for the real deal. If a friend can’t give you a similar amount of their time and attention as the ones you provide them, then maybe you shouldn’t settle for just that.
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sianainengland/5893681354