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Deeper Relationships: Working On Personal Development

It has been a little over a week since I wrote the post, Assessing Relationships Around My Life. I began recording my interactions with poepleto assess how well I really knew them. I am poor at creating communityaround myself and my family. This exercise has taught me about my fears and shortcomings in forming deeper relationships?

Lost (or Hiding) In The Crowd

On Sunday, we attend a local church here in Charleston. The church probably sees an attendance of 100 to 150 people on a given Sunday. That makes it a medium-sized church by most people’s standards. I grew up a pastor’s kid in a church that had 5,000 members and therefore my standards don’t really count.

In a setting with this many people, it takes very little effort to avoid lengthy contact with others. And, you can always use your kids as a reason to avoid any person you would rather not interact with for too long. “Oh, excuse me. I need to check on my youngest to make sure she is safe.” Easy, very easy.

That Sunday, six people made it to my list of those I had direct interaction. Only one of those, would I mark as a 4 on my imaginary “knowing scale” from 1 to 10 (10 means I know them really well). Amazing, I see these people almost every week and really don’t know them. I don’t know if they need help or whether they have occasions to celebrate. The bigger question for me, “do I want to know these people and their occasions?” Not that they are bad people in any way, but do I want to know these people and expose myself to hurt, rejection, or even just have nothing in common with them?

One On One Is Easier For Me

On my swim days, I see the same woman at the check-in counter at the pool. This week I made it a point to ask her name, Brenda. Then, over the past three visits, we have begun to know more about each other. It turns out, she has been doing this job for 30 years! We talked about my children because I found out she does not have any. She even asked, unprompted, how my kids were doing.

Then, there was my eldest’s soccer practice. A nightmare for an introvert like myself when it comes to talking with people. Something strange happens to me when I am talking with parents of other children that interact with mine. I think it is the Papa Bear thing and I can get very judgemental (something else I noticed this week). Fortunately for me, the parents seemed to be missing this practice. I did make an effort to meet his coach and introduce myself. I normally just watch and wait for practice to end and leave with my son. But this time, I forced myself to do the unnatural thing did the deed.

People Are Everywhere In My Life

The last people in my ended up being my doctor and two ladies I see at a restaurant I visit often. I figure they know my order by heart, therefore, I should at least greet them by name when I see them. My doctor visit was the first in two years. I waited for an hour and he spent a total of 5 minutes after that with me. When I left, I kicked my self (figuratively not literally) for not engaging the doctor more. It was a missed opportunity to get to know the person that advises you about your personal health.

Much To Ponder In Creating Deeper Relationships

I have a lot of pondering to do in order to make sense of this small portion of data. The next challenge is to assess what the next steps might be to create deeper relationships. Of course, this step also must include deciding with whom I really want a deeper relationship. And, if I really don’t want a deeper relationship with some people, then figure out how to keep working to meet new people to find those I feel I connected with.

This isn’t an easy task or an easy one to write about. Maybe I’m the only one that thinks these things. But, I doubt it. My first step, I think, must be more self-evaluation of my own shortcomings. In fact, my next, purposeful book to read is You Are a Badassby Jen Sincero. I found this book in a list from mydomaine.com. The article lists a number of relational books and quotes Kelly Campbell, an associate professor of psychology at California State University, San Bernardino, as saying, “The people who you spend your time with are going to reflect your view of self.” I’m wondering if this is true with myself?

Featured Photo by Phil Coffman on Unsplash

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