Concerning Relationships

As I sit here, sipping coffee from my “Powered by Metallica” mug, listening to a 33 of Funeral by Arcade Fire (ironic, I know), I can’t help but wonder at the remarkable variances possible in and between human relationships. Relationships are in themselves complicated things, this is true. It’s just that I find myself in awe when I think about how fast relationships can change. The simple can become the complex, the complex can become the simple. The changes can take place over a period of months or years, or in as short a time as days or hours.

I think that possibly one way to view human relationships is to compartmentalize them. Some major aspects, or facets, of a relationship could include friend, work, romantic, acquaintance, neighbor, family, with some descriptors being new, old, strong, weak, positive, and negative. I feel that often, a relationship might be considered simple only when it has a single facet. For instance, two people might be friends. Simple, at least on the surface. Now, just for kicks, lets add another facet to that relationship. Neighbor, shall we say. Again, at first, seemingly simple. However, consider the implications of such a relationship. A friend who is also a neighbor might just be the best kind of friend to have, a friend who’s always there (literally) when you need them, and you’re always there when they need you. Or, that friend might become a friend one wished they didn’t have, a friend who’s too close and who encroaches upon our desire for space and privacy. A “familiarity breeds contempt” situation, if you will.

Another example could be the work relationship. You go to work everyday, you see the same people, you talk to the same people, you go home. Once again, simple. Lets add the friend facet and see where it takes us. Now, you go to work everyday, and instead of seeing every person as simply a workmate, you see one or more as friends. This can be a good thing. It can mean that we finally have someone at work that we can talk to on a level higher than just as workmates, a person we can ask for advice concerning something that doesn’t involve work, a person that we can complain to about work assignments, working conditions…..our bosses. On the flip side, when associating with that work friend on a social level outside of work, does that mean that we essentially always have some aspect of our work life to think about? Could we never truly escape work while hanging out with a person who reminds us constantly, perhaps verbally, perhaps simply by their presence alone, that we have to wake up ridiculously early on Mondays and start a fresh work-week despite how much we might want to just leave it all behind? It’s impossible to say. Each situation is different, and some people are better at making relationships work than others. This is not pure negativity. This is a fact.

Now, I personally find that the relationship that has the most unpredictable outcome, at the same time both beautifully sweet and potentially devastating, is the relationship that includes the two facets friend and romantic. It’s true that throughout history, there have been countless instances of best friends falling in love, often followed by living happily ever after. Sometimes we can even find instances of such happenings in our own family lineage. Sometimes this has happened to us. And sometimes, perhaps even more often, this particular combination of relationship facets results in total and absolute failure, bringing with it the most crushing and frustrating confusion that we have ever felt in our entire lives. In my opinion, the only thing worse than lost love is lost love followed by a lost friendship. I think that much of the time, attempts to take a friendship up to the level of friendship/romantic relationship can only lead to double heartache. It can complicate things, making the simple pleasures of friendship suddenly awkward and off-putting, destroying the beautiful simplicity of just being together for the sake of being together.

But really, who am I to say? What I’ve written so far may be accurate and true. Or, it might be so far off from reality that it is negated entirely by factors I haven’t even begun to consider. The point is, we can never know for certain. The thing that doesn’t work for one person might work fantastically for someone else. Things like this aren’t set in stone. They change, they morph, the fluctuate, they can go from being negative to positive or vice versa in a heartbeat.

It’s just that sometimes it helps to look at things through someone else’s eyes. Maybe we’ll learn something new and realize something that we’d never thought of before, or perhaps what we see will be the same thing we’ve always seen. Either way, at least we tried.  Relationships might be the most complicated thing on earth, but I’m fairly positive that it is the most important area of our lives, an area where we should be willing to take risks and, maybe, just maybe, wing it. Life is so short. Really, what do we have to lose?


~ by offling on December 22, 2009.

4 Responses to “Concerning Relationships”

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