For many years, I have had a philosophy regarding the quality of relationships. I have shared it with many people along my journey but I have never written about it. Recent events in my life make this philosophy seem increasingly relevant and so I would like to go ahead and share this with the world.
First, I will note that when I use the term “relationship” I am not narrowing the focus to romantic relationships. This philosophy may be applied to friendships, business relationships, and romantic relationships. A creative mind can also see that this applies in it’s extreme form of the relationship between you and someone you have never even had contact with (like a celebrity or politician).
The philosophy is very simple. It states that the quality of all relationships, regardless of their nature, is fundamentally determined by two factors: shared experience and communication.
If you communicate with someone with which you have had no previous shared experience, isn’t it quite difficult to relate? Alternatively, you may have many shared experiences with a person, but if you have never met to talk with them, then this is also a poor relationship.
Long distance relationships are difficult to maintain. Why? I theorize that it is because even though you may communicate with other people on a very regular basis, that eventually genuine interest will be lost because you are having no shared new experiences with each other. Person A can tell Person B everything about their day. Person B can be genuinely interested in Person A and in the events being described, but after enough time passes this relationship is nothing more than Person A talking about Person A and Person B talking about Person B.
On the other side, Person A and Person B can have lots of shared experiences: work together, attend class together live in the same neighborhood and enjoy the same foods and nightlife, but if they have never met each other to talk about their shared experiences, then their relationship is also a poor one.
I do believe that the most common exception to this theory is seen during honeymoon periods when people always seem exotic, fresh and new. But that honeymoon period does come to an end eventually. Love and a long history of being in a high-quality relationship with another person can also deter the negative results of having too few shared experience or too little communication for a short time.
The best way to keep any relationship healthy over the long haul is by continuous shared experience and maintaining good communication.