The responsibilities and expectations of an ideal partner are very clear. There are definite #goals to work towards. What’s right or wrong or good-to-have in a partner is very very clear cut.
But how often have we been confused by what is expected of you, or torn about what you were feeling towards a friend or family member? Should I have done more?
The problem with taking social cues from external sources is that we are constantly toeing the line, dancing two steps forward and one step back. Relationships are unique and therefore handling each one requires special attention. There are different challenges to each, but here are some simple ways to help you manage and decide what is important.
Decide which relationships matter (to you). I know, I know. It sounds ruthless and unfeeling to have to rank your friendships; but the truth of the matter is that we’ve accumulated friends from primary school, secondary school, extra-curricular activities, hobbies, our first part-time job, internships, our workplace… you get the gist. Not every one means the same thing to you and that’s okay.
Ask yourself who you would want in your life in the long term and why they mean what they do to you. They could be your family, or that one friend you made in tuition class way back when. The keyword is ‘Prioritise’. Start streamlining that mental list of people. Then, it’s time to
2. Make the time (read: effort)
Relationships are not easy. It’s easy to feel like you can always do a rain check on that dinner you’ve been meaning to have with your best friend or a lunch with your mom; after all, they’re not going anywhere. Remember that all relationships (that you want to keep) are commitments, and therefore require some effort.
Even if you really are too busy or tired to physically meet up, dropping your friend a text asking how they are or when something reminds you of them will definitely brighten their day and make them feel cherished. It is not enough to “keep up” with people via social media and think it is the same thing. It really isn’t.
3. Role Reversal
If you are approaching a relationship that is new to you, doing something new for someone or you’re just not sure what is socially appropriate or expected of you, one way to simplify and streamline the process would be to put yourself in that other person’s shoes. So the next time you’re thinking if it would be weird to buy a random gift for a friend, ask yourself if you would think it weird to receive one from them (given your current relationship dynamic). If the answer is no, you’re about 89% good to go.
Juggling relationships is an art, and like all other things, it needs practice. We’re likely to stumble a few times in the process. But things that are worthwhile are worth working for, right?