61. Relationship Dynamic
The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.
Joseph Joubert (18c French essayist)
This area focuses on critical points in the relationship dynamic: initiating a relationship, disagreements and ending a relationship.
Initiating a relationship
Initiating a relationship can have several motives:
- Intrinsic: you like the person and enjoy being with her. To initiate a relationship though, liking needs to be mutual and genuine, rather than adulterated by, for example, a need to be liked (‘I like you, in order for you to like me back’). There are telltale signs indicating whether people like each other: they show interest in each other’s lives, they tend to smile often, and also eye contact is more frequent and maintained for longer.
- Instrumental: this motive revolves around common interests, and the possible mutual benefits of knowing each other. These benefits do not, of course, need to be material (e.g. providing information, making connections etc.). It is easier to start this sort of relationship if you balance what you can gain with what you can give and what can be shared. Being transparent with your motives builds trust, which is essential in this case.
- Intimate: showing that you are attracted to another person is not an offence, but imposing your desire is. People generally do not like to be treated as objects (of one’s sexual desire). Mature individuals do not have sex or start an intimate relationship because they are tricked or surrender to one’s advances, but because they want to. Sexual desire is natural; however, those who make it their only focus narrow and devalue themselves, which makes them less desirable – and in this case it is certainly true that our reputation precedes us.
The above may lead to three types of relationship that will be discussed in more detail in the respective areas; let’s turn now to another critical point of relationship dynamic: disagreements.