Depth of Relationship

How far are you willing to go?

While I’ve been traveling, I have been very restricted with the amount of conversation I’m able to have with people I come into contact with. You come to find even the random banter you occasionally have with the barista at Starbucks or waiter at your local restaurant isn’t exactly possible because you’re pointing at signs and pictures to communicate. Thankfully, many people across Europe know enough English to deal with Americans like me who can’t grasp other languages very easily. Yet, this whole experience got me thinking to a topic I’ve been dealing with for a bit longer: depth of relationships.

Now, I will concede that everyone has their own ways to measuring how deep their relationships are with the people they know so measure how you will. As an introvert, (INFP for those curious), I value my personal relationships profoundly and I find enjoyment in them when they can jump from one extreme (“I need to talk about this potentially life changing decision”) to the other (“weren’t the chase scenes in Fast Five ridiculously unbelievable, but fun to watch?”).

One thing I’ve missed in the last 3 weeks, and perhaps much longer, is that I’m not consistently able to have the “life changing decision” conversations nearly as often as the ones about Fast Five. People aren’t as willing to go past the surface into areas that may be uncomfortable or expose any part of our true selves. It’s easy to put up a front. We all do it to varying degrees. But we also find it easy to discuss things of no consequence because it doesn’t personally challenge us in any way. There’s no intellectual or personal benefit, but that’s OK because it’s like we’re conversing, but nothing is actually being said.

It’s good to go deeper once in a while. Ask your friends what excites them. Find out why a certain TV show appeals to them. (Maybe it will reveal something about them far more fascinating than the show itself.) Ask questions of people who you don’t always agree with and get more information instead of avoiding the topic. At least you’ll understand why you disagree instead of just avoiding that topic or worse, that person. Besides, these conversations make life a lot more interesting when you look back at it.

How far are you willing to go down that path? Will you walk past that well lit park bench that you can see from where you’re standing? Or will you venture down the path together beyond the horizon, where unknown, but profound, adventures and depth await?

  • Victor Chicago

     Any time you want EITHER conversation, I’m just a Skype call away.  😀  I think both of the conversations above sound like ones we’ve had in the past! 

    On that note, did I tell you about this article on NPR? 
    ‘Fast and the Furious’: A Progressive Force?
    http://www.npr.org/2011/04/28/135812726/fast-furious-a-progressive-force

    • Thanks Vic. You were always good for a convo, deep or otherwise. 

      That article is old. And wrong. Says Fast Five was the 4th movie in the series. Clearly they can’t count. 

      • It was an interesting article, and they could count, they said it was the 4th sequel =o)

  • I [mostly] love that path; it’s hard to go down because when you do you face potential heartache and pain and suffering. But you gain this empathy that allows you to mourn with friendship; and the joys that come with that empathy are so tremendous! I think it’s hard, though. There is a fear or rejection, even from your friends; a fear of judgment… but as I’ve recently been reminded, “the potential hurt is worth the risk”.

    I guess I don’t understand the person that doesn’t want to go deeper?

    • The things I write are often reminders to myself to do them. I agree the path is difficult and scary; sometimes it’s because it’s dark or because it’s uncharted territory for you or the other person. It takes great care to not intentionally hurt others in the process, though accidents do happen as we are human. 

      I think empathy is an incredible tool in interacting with others. I’m often reminded of the heartaches in my own life and how they end up being used to teach or encourage others in some way I never would have expected. Divorced parents, not getting into the college you wanted, waiting to take that big trip because work demands required it. They shape us in ways we can only hope to understand as we get older. 

      I always told myself the person that doesn’t want to go deeper simply haven’t had a friend willing to go “there” alongside, listening, asking the right questions, and sharing thoughts and advice only when it’s appropriate to do so. There’s that fear of rejection, as you shared, that’s also part of it. I think there are a lot of people out there looking to go further; they just need the right people with them for the journey.