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Doctor Gayle's Corner

Engaging in Meaningful & Relevant Relationships

Over many years I’ve watched relationships, mostly the changes and/or sustainability of them. More recently I’ve been thinking about the many phases of relationships, the different perceptions we all have, and most importantly how to recognize and identify what type of relationship one desires. Every one of us need to feel significant in our relationships, whether it’s with a spouse, parent, child, friend, or significant other. Many times, I’ve heard people say things like “I have enough friends I don’t have the time or energy to cultivate a new relationship,” “I don’t trust people because they always hurt you,” “people just take what they need from you and then they’re gone…” these are just a few of the many different comments I’ve heard. Unfortunately, we often look for others to fulfill what’s missing in our lives.

Here’s a couple of important questions: Can people fulfill our needs? Can they live up to our expectations or standards? Generally, not. Possibly they can fill a need or a void such as loneliness, or even the need to have engaging and wholesome conversation. For me, it is mostly about engaging in wholesome conversation, trustworthy companionship, and covenant. But remember covenant to some doesn’t mean the same to others. And we all realize that some relationships are seasonal. People are in our lives for a purpose and once that purpose is fulfilled, the relationship ends. We must be okay with that otherwise we’ll encounter rejection on an ongoing basis. The key I believe is to first determine what’s important to you in a relationship; that means literally evaluating the current or new relationship. Determine what you want. You can’t really have a successful relationship unless you understand the type of relationship it is, what you need and what the other person needs. Here’s some examples:

  1. Are you chatty and just need someone willing to listen?

  2. Are you quiet and content just listening to the conversation?

  3. Are you deep and only a handful of people understand you?

  4. Do you just discuss your issues and not entertain the issues of others?

  5. What’s your role in a relationship? Is it just for a season?

  6. What is the medium you use for communicating? Is it talking on the phone, texting, and/or emailing? This may pose a problem if the other person doesn’t like any of these methods.

  7. Does the person respond to your type of communication only out of obligation?

  8. Are you clingy and often in need of reinforcements?

  9. Do you need to engagement (talking, listening, responding, &follow-up, etc.)?

  10. Do you need to be surrounded by people or be catered to?

  11. Do you require stimulating conversation?

  12. Are you an internal or external processor? Do you engage and reason internally, or must have someone listen while you process out loud?

  13. Some people need boundaries in their relationships? Do you understand those boundaries?

  14. Do you feel significant in the relationship?

  15. Is this a relevant relationship?

If this topic is relevant to you, over the next few weeks I’d like to engage you to answer each of these questions. I believe in our dialogue we can all begin to have more meaningful and fulfilling relationships. If you would like to add more questions please feel free to do so.

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