Tag Archives: friend

Jealousy

My dogs crave attention. We have three – a Basset Hound, Mini-Dachshund and a Chi Hua Hua mix (with what, we haven’t figured out yet).

I can call one of them and all of them will come. I can also start to pet one of them and the others will jump up and come over to get the attention.

This will not be a post teaching about dog behavior, but there is some value in trying to understand this concept through their example.

Dogs are pack animals. There is an alpha, and all the other dogs will vie for the attention of that alpha – if even to be considered higher in the order. In the house, they would consider me the alpha. If one of them is getting something from me, the others become jealous and come over to receive it to.

The Chi Hua Hua mix is the worst offender – but also one of the most loving creatures. She will literally push herself into the mix and place her head under my hand in order to get the affection over the other dogs.

A smile and a chuckle is the only response I can give as I equally spread the love to all three.

What is it that causes this response in dogs?

What is it that causes a similar response in people?

When someone receives an award…

When someone goes on a vacation to a place we have always desired to go…

When someone gets a promotion at work…

When one of our closest relatives makes more money…

When someone gets the job we wanted…

When someone buys a 60-inch television and all of a sudden our 55-inch is not good enough…

When someone has the affections of a person we desire to be with…want

Most of us have said the words, “I’m jealous of…” at some point in our lives. We become jealous because we observe someone who has an object, job, relationship, etc. we would like to have, obtain, purchase, love, own, enjoy, etc.

Jealousy can be very ugly. One of the main issues with jealousy is – it focuses on what we DO NOT have and on what we perceive someone else DOES have.

Jealousy usually rears its ugly head in a romantic relationship. A man or a woman can become jealous of the object of their affection’s time, or of any other person who has their attention.

Jealousy becomes the response and ultimately breaks down trust between the two. Jealousy will have the adverse affect – in that the person with whom you have the relationship feels so restricted in their other friendships all they desire to do is break free.

What causes jealousy? In a phrase – wanting what we believe someone else has.

Jealousy is entirely focused on ourselves. It can wreak havoc on your relationships.

It has difficulty, however, thriving when we become focused on the needs of others. Jealousy cannot survive when we are grateful of what we do have and celebrate when others have successes. It cannot destroy your relationships if you decide to be thankful for what you have.

Jealousy can present itself almost instantaneously when we start to believe we deserve something. It can tempt you to do things dishonest, to spend more than you have, to pass blame when the blame belongs to you, to put others down to lift yourself up, and also to enter into a self-deprecating perspective that becomes a vicious cycle of “woe is me”.

When our motive becomes “others” focused, and we begin to allow humility to permeate our thoughts and our actions, then our desire can be shifted to helping others.

What would it look like in this world if we were all more aware of the needs of others around us? What kind of society would we live in if the goal were to give rather than to receive?

Imagine what would happen in our own lives and attitude toward others when we share in the joys of another person’s achievements, showing honor, being dignified in our relationships, and trusting God will take care of our needs.

When Jealousy begins to creep into your thinking or your heart, recognize the self-induced emotion that wants something someone else has. Take that thought or feeling and transform it into an act of love and humility.

 

For more on the Lost Art of Relationship – read the archived articles at www.LostArtOfRelationship.com

I welcome your thoughts and comments!


8 LEVELS Of Relationship – Part II

First you see or hear of someone. Then you meet them. Then you become an acquaintance. Then you do the hard work (or sometimes easy depending on who it is) of getting to know them.

What comes next?

Know What They Are About

When you enter this level, you have not left the level of Getting to Know Someone. Actually, the last four levels are only higher stages within that level.

You never really stop getting to know an individual. Why? Because, as your relationship grows you both change. It is inevitable that you and the other person are going to adapt to certain situations.

Also, people usually do not lay all their “personal cards” on the table. There is some area or areas they continue to hold close to them. We will get back to this.

While you are in this stage, if you are attentive to it, you will begin to understand what makes this person you are in relationship with tick. What gets them up in the morning? What do they enjoy? What frustrates them? What kind of hobbies do they have? What are some of their pitfalls?

What do they define as success in their life? What kind of friend do they need? What are the goals they have set for themselves? And the list can go on…

The key word here is “WHAT”.

It is all part of understanding the person you are adopting as friend. You will find similarities you have – whether it is in opinion, history, philosophy, faith, etc.

You will also discover traits or characteristics you are not in agreement with. When you do discover this, you need to make a decision as to whether you will simply accept this negative trait or influence this friend and help them overcome it.

CAUTION: Your friend must know this negative trait and they must desire to work on it or change it. Otherwise, it may cause a rift in the developing relationship.

Know WHO Someone Is

This level is one step above knowing what someone is about. At this level you start (and continue to learn) to get an understanding about why this person does life they way they do it.

Why do they respond in certain ways to specific events or circumstances? Why is it they may react positively or negatively to the same situation someone else may normally react opposite?

What is their thought process?

At this stage it may be common for you both to finish each other’s sentences. It may also be common for you to be able to speak on behalf of that friend, because you know how they may respond.

CAUTION: Just do so with great care. A mistake here could set back your relationship or even stall it.

This level is where you have the realization they are what and who they say they are. There is a revelation into the nature of your friendship and the feeling that as long as we maintain healthy communication and boundaries, we could be friends for a very long time.

Someone you can call FRIEND

This is simple. If you have made it to the Knowing WHO Someone Is level, more than likely you have already started calling them “Friend”.

A friend is someone who accepts you just as you are, but is not afraid to call you on your issues. There is a trust that has grown to the point where you can share personal, confidential information and believe it will stop there.

You can also rest assured they will not judge you for your actions, but share their opinion in love to give you a healthy, balanced view of you.

We throw this term around WAY too often. It is a term that should only be used when it is understood mutually that this is the nature of the relationship.

When you vouch for your friend, you believe they will represent your opinion of them well and represent themselves in an honorable way. Besides, your own reputation is on the line when you call them friend.

A friend at this level will sense when something is amiss in your life. When you are down, they know it. When you are happy, they celebrate with you. When you are sad, they listen and allow you to cry – but not for long. When you are in need of a push, they provide motivation.

Then, at some point – and no one can really say for sure when this happens in any relationship – you move on to the highest level of relationship…

Someone You Can Call Family

At this level, the boundaries are all but removed. Sure, you still respect the relational boundaries, but truth, honesty, opinions, issues; NOTHING is off the table for discussion here.

You know that even if you yell, get into a disagreement, or even become separated by circumstance or miles, if they needed you, you would be there for them. This doesn’t mean you will fly 2000 miles, but it means you are there for them emotionally.

If it is possible to be there in person, then you do it. However, miles should NEVER be an excuse not to pick up a phone, talk about your feelings no matter how irrational.

There are some people in our lives that describe family as only those who are blood related, or married into. I would like to blow that definition right out of the water. Sure, being blood related or related by marriage technically makes you family. It does not mean you have developed the relationship through all 8 of these levels.

For example, I found out last summer that I have a cousin whom I have NEVER met. I just heard about her and saw her on Facebook.

I cannot expect her or her expect of me that we are at the highest level of relationship simply because we have a common bloodline. It will take time and a mutual desire to walk through the levels of relationship.

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts about these 8 levels of relationship. Offer your opinions about the levels, share with us. Or email me at TheSophosGroup@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!


8 LEVELS of Relationship – Part I

Have you ever wondered what might happen if you just took the chance and forced yourself to meet a total stranger?

How many people walk by you every day and you have NO IDEA who they are, what their story is, what brought them to where they are, and who they have in their circle of influence?

DISCLAIMER: The author takes NO responsibility for WHO you choose to try this experiment with, nor can he be responsible for the outcome, whatever that may be.

We get so comfortable with our current relationship setup sometimes. OR, we withdraw into our own bubble of relationship because we don’t want to take the risk of getting hurt, rejected, and the list can go on… This site is not meant to dive into the psychological areas that keep us from relationships.

There is literally NO END to the amount of connections we can make in relationship with people around us. We may say it’s a small world, but is it really? With 7 billion people in the world, can we ever stop the cycle of meeting others?

One of my favorite things to do is to meet someone and spend some time hearing their story, from where they were born to what brought them to where they are in life currently.

I am not always successful in getting to that point with someone, because they need to be willing to share their story.

However, what I have found in meeting people and developing relationship is there are at least 8 different levels of relationship – four of which I will address in Part I and the other four in Part II.

Seeing or Hearing

Yes, the first step in Relationship is the knowledge that someone even exists. It may be that you see someone across the room, or walking down the street consistently at the same time you cross that same path every day. It could be the person at your office or church that passes your line of sight and you “notice” them.

It is possible that you hear of this person through another friend or acquaintance, and the purpose of them informing you of their existence is because it could be a strategic relationship, or just one where it would be mutually beneficial.

This is the level of relationship where you know OF someone. You have bits of details and information – just enough to intrigue you to the point of wanting to go to the next level of relationship.

Meeting

This level takes effort on our part. Just because we have seen or heard of someone, does NOT mean they have seen or heard of us.

At this level, it can be quite difficult for some to break through. At this level our fears can overtake us – depending on our past, our confidence, or our feelings.

However, if we desire to move forward in our relationships and developing new ones – we need to overcome these fears and insecurities. If you find you are having trouble in this area, it would be best to seek help, whether from a counselor, pastor or even a mentor.

The fears that can keep us from moving past this point are fears of rejection; feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, or even fear of someone knowing you have these fears.

In order to move forward, whether in life, job, or friendships this level of relationship is critical.

Take the risk. After seeing or hearing of someone, and assessing the value this potential relationship could add to your life (and remember, you should be able to add value to their life in some way as well – this is mutual), jump in with both feet. Call, email, or simply walk up to this person, reach out your hand and introduce yourself. You have nothing to lose here.

After you reach this level, you have already entered into the next level.

Acquaintance

Acquaintance literally means “a person’s knowledge or experience of something, or one’s slight knowledge of or friendship with someone.”

This level is strictly surface knowledge and experience. You may have had coffee or lunch with someone. You do not really know this person. You only know of them.

I would not place a large amount of trust in them at this point. You have crossed the threshold of relationship and broken the ice. You now know of each other and may slightly know about their background and current life.

Unless you are an expert at interrogation, you really only have a small percentage chance of knowing if this person has misrepresented themselves.

This is why you need to decide whether you desire to enter the next level of relationship. If you are going to pursue a deeper connection (whether business or personal) the next level is critical.

Getting to KNOW You

This is the level that probably takes the most time, attention, emotional investment, and care.

In order to get to KNOW anyone it takes time: time spent talking, time spent working, and time spent testing the relationship. Usually this means you have common ground with them, or you mutually will benefit from the relationship.

It is during this level where you will see clues and cues that will either raise a red flag or encourage you to spend more time getting to know them.

There is no set amount of time that works as a formula in this level. How long this takes is up to you and to the object of your relationship – this newly forming friendship.

You both need to desire to continue the pursuit of friendship. It will not work otherwise. This is why paying attention is imperative. There have been many times in my life where I have been complacent and unaware of the signs and was burned.

Don’t get burned. Turn up the heat slowly.

If the relationship is to work you need to move at a comfortable pace, the other person needs to be open to it, and know beyond any doubt the forming friendship will be tested at some point.

Then one day (it could be months or even years), you will realize that you have entered into levels five and six of relationship.

To Be Continued…

I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this topic. Thank you so much for continuing to read. You can email me or respond to this post by Commenting below.


You’re My Favorite…

Do you have a best friend?

What constitutes a “best” friendship?

Take a look at this short clip (32secs) and then keep on reading…

2 Year-Old Best Friends

The kids in this clip are freakin’ cute! But that’s not the point. The interviewer (probably one of the moms) asks them if they are best friends. They look at each other and then answer yes.

Then they proceed to argue over which one was two or five, as if they both cannot be the same age and one of them owns that age.

The two two-year-olds have no clue what a “best” friendship is. At this age, they spend most of their time together because the parents facilitate their playtime. They haven’t experienced enough life yet to really say they are best friends.

Has one of them gone through something traumatic where the other one doesn’t judge, but consoles, listens and carries the burden of the other? Have they been tested in their friendship and shown they can overcome any external circumstances and become closer friends through it?

Of course not! The cool thing about this video is the fact that they are different ethnicities, and they are clueless to this fact other than they probably see they look different.

There are so many different ways we could go with this conversation, especially after watching this video. However, we are going to view this from the angle of how relationships go from surface to deeper friendships and what would cause us as adults to say we have a “best friend”.

Hopefully, those who are married would say this of their spouse. However, although married, each one could have someone else in their life that they would consider a best friend. The trouble with this, is how can you have two best friends?

Doesn’t the phrase “best friend” literally mean there are no other friendships in our lives that compare?

How does a “best friendship” develop?

The only answer we can give to this is time. I would like to suggest that we can only look back over time and assess whether a relationship is a “best friendship” by the tests placed on that relationship.

My wife and I have been married for almost 18 years (in March). We have often said of each other, that we are best friends. I can assure you, there is NO ONE else in my life that I can share as deep and meaningful a relationship than my wife.

We have been through many difficult circumstances and situations. We have shared some of the most wonderful experiences together. We have learned how to communicate (well, I’m still learning). There have been situations we have individually gone through where the other has had to step in and be the strength when the other was weak.

We have had to care for each other when either one of us was sick or had surgery. We have had to comfort each other when we have experienced a loss. We have “been there” just to listen, be a shoulder to cry on, encourage, and cheer up.

We have called each other on our weaknesses or mistakes (this one took a while).

We have certainly not developed a perfect friendship (because we are imperfect and still have a lot to learn), but with all we have experienced, positive and negative, we can say our friendship with each other cannot be compared to any other friendship in our lives.

Take a look at your list of friends. Who has been a constant, consistent, persistent person in your life who has influenced you and that you have allowed in your life to speak into the darkest parts of your past and the brightest areas of your life?

I have had friends over time that met these criteria. However, there are only a handful of people I can say have truly never judged me; have seen potential in me where I could not see it; have corrected me when I was being stupid or needed to be drug out of my negative emotions; let me vent until I was done and then didn’t tell me I should feel differently; allowed me to be the same for them.

There really is no other way to determine a “best friendship” unless it has been tested over time.

If we take it one step further, a meaningful relationship can only be determined through the test of time.

It is possible to have more than one meaningful relationship. As we have mentioned in previous posts, having a deep meaningful relationship with another person involves vulnerability, trust, love, good communication, respect, and many others we have yet to explore in this blog.

Is it possible for someone to be a best friend, but the “best” part is not reciprocated? Some may immediately answer no. In a marriage, which I believe should be the “best friendship” you ever have, the answer is definitely NO!

However, in other friendships it is possible. If we live our lives in such a way as to benefit others, treating them as we would want to be treated…then it is possible you or I could be someone’s best friend without them responding in kind.

Why would I want to be in relationship with another person where it was not reciprocated? Great Question!

The answer? Because we should strive to treat all people we come in contact with as we want to be treated.

Of course, you cannot be present, consistent, and persistent with everyone. You are only one person.

Nevertheless, there are fundamental attitudes and actions we can have with everyone that would be the basis for any friendship, and especially a “best friendship”.

They are…

Integrity, Honesty, Respect, Listening, Supportive, Generosity, Honor, Forgiveness, Truthfulness, and Encouragement.

I am sure there are others I could add to this list.

Our relationships are built on these and other fundamental qualities. When we exemplify them others will see authenticity in you.

So what is our goal? Are we to search and find that ONE person to be a best friend with? That depends on whether you are looking for a spouse.

I would encourage you to BE the friend you desire to have with others. Practice the fundamental qualities of relationship with others. Watch for those who will only take from you and be cautious in your vulnerability with them.

When your relationships are put to the test, you will discover which are meaningful and which are not. I am in no way saying you should allow yourself to be rolled over and taken advantage of.

I am saying that if you are looking for deep and meaningful friendships, you will find it difficult if you don’t at least take the risk.

With the person you consider to be your “best friend” – make sure you are respond in kind, otherwise you will jeopardize the relationship.

Do not be like the kids in the video you watched. Let time be the test of any friendship you have with others. In the meantime, BE a friend.

Thank you so much for continuing to read week after week. I would love to hear your thoughts. You can email me or respond to this post by Commenting below.