Are you stuck in superficial friendships? When you call a good friend, what do you talk about? Do you talk about another friend who can’t get his life together? Do you talk about celebrities, sports, and news? Or maybe you complain about your boyfriend and terrible boss?
Why do we have superficial friendships?
Maybe we don’t realize it completely but many of our relationships with others are based around superficial conversations and even mutual disregard of others’ feelings and thoughts. It’s almost human to drift into a conversation about others, news, and weather rather than talking about us and how we feel or listen to someone else. A two-person friendship can be unstable. How many friends we had but are not in touch with them anymore? How many friends will we stay in touch with within the next five years?
When we love or hate the same person, we feel like we are together in this, like we are connected in a way. However, we establish a stronger relationship if we share about ourselves. Since friendships don’t last, we unconsciously are afraid to share our thoughts and feelings with others. Lack of trust plays a role too.
Most of us don’t want to be stuck in superficial friendships
Most of us don’t want to be stuck in superficial friendships having superficial conversations with others. It’s just a matter of how conscious we are about that. We all crave to have relationships where we can share our beliefs, thoughts, and life experiences. Most of us want to find someone with who we can disagree and be comfortable. If we share our thoughts and we are uncomfortable because of the way another person reacts we might leave that relationship.
We want to be honest with others without receiving a response where we feel like others want to fix us. Still, it seems almost daunting to have this kind of relationship with friends, even with family members.
Why strong relationships matter
Dr. Bowen, the founder of family psychotherapy believes that to become a mature human being we need to have strong relationships with others. He called that “person to person” relationships. What does it mean to have a person-to-person relationship? Being able to talk about your experiences, feeling, and thoughts, not focusing on gossip, and not relying on irrelevant topics such as news and celebrities.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with talking about sports, politicians, and weather. Still, these conversations should not be the foundation of friendship. It also shouldn’t be a way to manage awkwardness in a relationship or to avoid having an intimate relationship.
How many superficial friendships do you have?
Ask yourself how many superficial friendships you have? How many person-to-person relationships you have?
How many relationships are focused on worry about a family member? And how many on complaining about your job and boss? How many friendships are focused on gossiping?
Is your marriage focused on children? Is your marriage becoming superficial?
Having a person-to-person friendship is about discovering yourself through communication with others. The more you share and discover yourself with others the easier it is to engage yourself in meaningful and intimate conversations. We all enjoy having those conversations once we are comfortable opening up with others.
Are our family relationships superficial?
Our family relationships can be the most difficult ones to develop an intimate relationship where we can share our thoughts and feelings. Some have a person-to-person relationship with one parent while not having the same relationship with another parent. Sibling relationships often revolve around worrying about other family members. We rarely are open with our grandparents to avoid shocking them into an early grave. Our relationships with grandparents and siblings are usually loving ones but we often struggle being ourselves with them. We don’t want to jeopardize those relationships by being honest. Family relationships are usually for life and we don’t want to make them uncomfortable if we don’t have to.
Think about someone with whom you would like to have a person-to-person relationship if you don’t have one, or with who do you think you could have more of an honest relationship. How would that relationship look like? And how can it be better?