Human relationships are complex and multi-faceted. They’re built on a foundation of different emotions, experiences, and expectations, and they serve us in many different ways.
Relationships can be both broad and deep, offering us a range of benefits that extend far beyond our immediate needs.
When we talk about the breadth of relationships, we refer to the different ways that they can serve us, whether they provide us with fun or support, challenge us, give service, and more.
A relationship that offers you fun might involve spending time with someone you enjoy being around, sharing laughter and good times.
A supportive relationship might involve having someone who listens to you when you need to vent or shares their own struggles with you.
A challenging relationship might involve someone who pushes you to be your best self.
While a service-oriented relationship might involve someone who helps you with practical tasks or offers their expertise to you.
But, relationships are not just about what they can give you.
The depth of a relationship refers to how far it can go in each of these different ways. For example, a fun relationship might be very shallow if it only involves surface-level conversations and activities. But if we can truly connect with someone on a deeper level, we might find that the fun we have together becomes more meaningful and fulfilling.
Similarly, a supportive relationship might be shallow if the other person is only willing to listen to us when we're happy or distracted. But if we can open up and share our struggles with them, we might find that they offer us genuine empathy and support.
Of course, not all relationships are equally deep or broad. Some relationships might be very broad, but not very deep – for example, a casual acquaintance who you have fun with but don't really trust. Others might be very deep, but not very broad – for example, a close family member who you can share anything with, but who doesn't offer you much in terms of fun or challenge. The most fulfilling relationships, however, are those that are both broad and deep – the ones that offer you a range of benefits and also allow you to truly connect with the other person.
It's important to remember that not all relationships will be both broad and deep. Some relationships might only serve you in one or two ways, and that's okay. For example, you might have a friend who you only have fun with, or a colleague who you only see as a professional contact.
It's also important to be aware of the depth and breadth of your relationships, so that you don't have unrealistic expectations. If you expect every relationship to be both broad and deep, you might find yourself becoming frustrated or disappointed when they don't live up to your expectations. By recognising the unique qualities and strengths of each relationship, you can appreciate them for what they are and avoid the frustration of having too many expectations.
In summary, we shouldn't expect all relationships to be both broad and deep, and we should be aware of the depth and breadth of each relationship to avoid unrealistic expectations. By doing so, you can appreciate the unique qualities and strengths of each relationship and build fulfilling connections that serve you in many different ways.