When you are introduced to someone, have you ever noticed that the most common phrases are always about your job and the role you play in society? For example, as a child/teenager you will be asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” or as an adult, “What do you do for a living?”, or as a student, “What are you studying?” It seems the occupation label primarily defines who you are. However, if you meet two doctors, for example, they share the label their job entails; but, their personal lives will be far from identical.
It always happens at social functions where you see friends, family, and acquantainces and they ask you, “what are you up to?” As society has always told us to put our best foot forward, we respond by telling others of the work, athletic, and school accomplishments that we have done; these become our identity. The conversation is on a superficial level. I remember being at a gathering at Christmas, and my soul was craving to want more from these people who I was supposedly close to.
This idea of becoming less superficial and getting to know people on a deeper level is something that I have been doing for the last of couple years. For example, I remember last year when I came back to residence after the holidays, one of my acquaintenances said: “I know you I guess, but I really don’t.” Therefore, we went to Tim Hortons and chatted about our lives for four hours :) We got to know each other better, and we’re now amazing friends. I’m telling you that after having deep authentic relationships, it’s hard to have superficial ones.
A passage that Tommy Spaulding wrote in his book “It’s Not Just Who You Know” that stuck out to me: “… deep, lasting, ‘call me at 3:00 a.m. no matter what the reason’ relationships – are the ultimate lifeline for people. Sometimes, in fact, our relationships with each other are all we’ve got” (p. 3).
Life is short, so put your time and effort into deeper relationships. They are so important. Next time someone you interact with tells you they are fine even though they look sad, take time out of your life and show them you care.
Just remember that deep authentic relationships form over time; some connections don’t happen immediately or when you want them to. But, don’t give up when things go slower than you had hoped. Be patient with the person; people have baggage that may cause them to not open up to you right away. Also, remember that relationships are two ways: you have to be vulnerable, and you have to express your feelings to them as well.