This post is about relationships. In an interview, I was given a task to write about “relationships.” This is what came out.
This post is about constitution of a relationship, the initiation of a relationship, and the growth and development of a relationship.
At a fundamental level, a relationship is the state of being connected. There is no requirement as to the degree of the connectedness to qualify as a relationship, simply connected. The extent to which two things may be connected is extremely variable. For example, two humans on the planet are connected by the bond of habitat, thus they have a relationship. The ocean and the river mouth meet in the estuary as salt water and fresh water mix into brackish water; this is a connection, a relationship. A set of siamese twins, that is a relationship. Two rocks, inanimate, sitting in the same redwood grove, that is a relationship.
What is important to understand when we think about relationships is the fact that no two relationships are the same. They are individual degrees and style of connectedness unique to the subjects that are connected.
I once had a girlfriend who would tell me, “lets not put a label on it,” when talking about what we were. It is human tendency to compare ourselves to someone or something else. To compare our relationship to another one in order to simplify and make it easy to understand and describe what we are. However, doing so is not only misleading, but unfair to ourselves. A relationship, by definition, is just a connection. It is amorphous and shifting, changing. Thus, by applying a distinct label, one will undoubtedly misrepresent the status of said relationship.
People say “the world is getting smaller.” In our increasingly globalized world, degrees of connectedness are getting stronger. That means our relationships to others on our earth are getting stronger. While I sit in California, someone living in a village in India is no longer as much of a stranger as before. Someone working in Starbucks in Australia is no longer as removed from our life as before. We must keep this in mind as we progress as a society. If the label “friend” is used to describe a relationship where the connection is strong, then it can be said that everyone in the world is moving toward becoming better friends.
With that said, I hope we begin to see strangers as simply undeveloped friendships. Doing so will make us a closer and more friendly world.