Recently Maude was relating an experience with a beloved long term friend of hers. She was bemoaning the fact that this friend never reaches out to make contact and overall does not do much to maintain the friendship, even though she states it is one of her most treasured and intimate relationships. We were discussing Maude’s mixed feelings about this, and were struck by how important it is to apply the same principles to long term friendships as we suggest for intimate romantic ones.
The issue here causing Maude difficulties was the one of accepting and even celebrating the difference. Maude had been looking for the same responsiveness, reaching out and sharing that she herself offered in the relationship. Looking at the fact that we are all different and cannot and do not express ourselves in the same way led her to feel less upset and neglected. This dear friend is another person. Her skill set is different and she acts quite differently. Hence, the behavior which appears to be neglect of the relationship is really just a different way of acting, but does not reflect any less caring or commitment.
You can give and receive joy by appreciating that each person is an individual #quote #relationships Click To TweetThis applies to friends, acquaintances and strangers alike. Even for casual interactions, you can still give and receive joy. Try to see the rich interior life of each person. They might have money problems and migraines, wonder what you think of them, and have a lover in Costa Rica. Or not. You may not know the specifics, but you do know that they have a world just as complex as yours, and have just as much right to it.
You may not share much in common, you may even have different core values, but it is still important to make sure that we acknowledge each other and show appreciation and awareness in whatever ways carry that meaning for us. Social interactions and meaningful friendships are very important for each of us. Susan Pinker says in her TED talk, “The secret to living longer may be your social life,” that these are the principal factors for longevity.
Our theme of Spreading Peace One Relationship at a Time is meant to illustrate that what we practice in our intimate relationships can actually have a great effect in the world. We can make peace a reality by learning how to accept and support each other. We can enrich our own lives greatly by finding ways of being that engender love and personal growth, and this experience will by its very nature spread and change the greater family of man.