The most difficult thing I have ever done in my 52 years is building, nurturing and keeping relationships. Right now, the digits of one hand totals the number of friends with whom I still stay in touch. I can count from one to ten the family members both nuclear and extended that I communicate with on a regular basis. Former co-workers especially those I closely worked with and whose families I even got to meet and ate dinners with are now long gone and perhaps have forgotten all about me. Classmates from the grades, high school and college, well, I haven’t gotten to see them anymore since graduation and since the last reunion, a reunion at a friend’s house that I attended only once.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not depressed because of my lack of social life. In fact, what I am going through is reminiscing and figuring out where those people who helped mold the person I have become, where they are now.
Considering my age, well, I suppose some of them have passed away already, some in hospices, some abroad and the rest may still be around scattered all over the country. But, it kept me thinking that these people who I think had the most influence in my life are the exact people with whom I have established a certain relationship — and my experiences with them may have been more good than otherwise, and they have acquired a special place in my mind and in my heart. So, despite their absence they are fondly remembered. Social networking and Google helped me find them; however, the part of “accept as friend” is difficult.
It is not really easy to establish relationships outside of one’s family. First, there is rejection. Initially, on first impressions you have a certain appeal to another person. Along the getting-to-know you stage, somehow the appeal gets lost and the other person would start pushing you away. Second, there is the risk of being duped – in different forms. There are pretensions on your part as well as the other person. Both of you might not want to accept what the other’s reality in life is. There are discriminations. It may not only be color but it may be social status, religion, education, cliques, and the like. There are differing standards or principles that are difficult to like and accept so this prevents a relationship to get started.
As said, tolerance is a virtue and the rule is: love is laying down one’s life for the other. That’s hard especially if the other person you are going to do it for has at one time or another shown a dislike, or even rejected you. Seriously?
I would have liked to have as many “friends” or establish relationships as vast as Russia which is possible nowadays, through social networks like Facebook. But this lacks the personal touch; the ability to help mold the individual to becoming a better person. I don’t know what “learning” could be derived from having a Facebook contact from Sweden other than seeing the timeline of that person. All I could get is information about that other person, the places she/he has visited, the pictures shared, the events attended, the apps downloaded but that’s it. I just wonder how that person would react if I happen to open up my personal problems with him/her. The one thing such social networks establish is just that – contacts, specifically for business; although Facebook has been instrumental in getting the attention of governments about certain issues, this has been proven. How about the companionship a person needs? Would having 1,000+ “friends” be some sort of upliftment? Will this replace lending an ear or having a shoulder to cry on, so to speak?
So, there are relationships and “relationships”. Which is preferable? Which will make me a better me?