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A Closer Look at Our Personal Relationships

Updated on June 5, 2020
Rhylee Suyom profile image

Rhylee Suyom has hopped in three different worlds: the academe, the corporate, and the media. He enjoys being with nature and his family.

With our co-teachers/friends... on our way home.
With our co-teachers/friends... on our way home.

The True Value of Our Relationships

Personal relationships are often categorized based on familiarity with each other, length of time being together, closeness to one another, openness to secrets, and trust. With the advent of modern technology especially in the field of communication, the distance between people have narrowed down into the space between one's fingers and a keypad or keyboard. Electronic communication with the use of sophisticated computer systems and telecommunications have not only narrowed the distance but also facilitated timely communication among people from different places removing almost all possible barriers. However, this surge in technological development aided by the Internet has also created a digital world where many dwell and flourish often neglecting the need for interpersonal skills and proper 'personal' communication. For this reason this short piece is written to enlighten people concerning the necessity to self-check the true value of our personal relationships with others.

The Acquaintance Party

There is an important reason why institutions of learning have acquaintance parties at the beginning of every school year. The objective behind this is often anchored on the need to have freshmen students be familiar with their seniors, establish connections among them, learn a thing or two about the intricacies of the course(s) freshmen are in, and create meaningful harmonious working relationships with anyone within the confines of the school. This is where a short party often serves as a socialization drive so that the mission and vision of the school can be seen by the freshmen. Notice that this is but a short period of time often lasting less than an entire day but the aim was plain and simple: make the freshmen see the school's mission and vision along with what is expected of them. Following this event, many students would buzz the hours away asking for trivial details about who's who among the 'other' students. Perhaps getting a number or chat name would suffice yet when asked about the degree of closeness to the or these people 'just recently known,' the answer is almost always, "he/she is a friend." At first glance, there seems to be no problem at all but a closer scrutiny of this relationship will reveal that the level merely fits that of an acquaintance. That person is not a friend YET...but a mere acquaintance.

The Pal in You

Checking the number of people considered as friends in our social media account(s) will reveal that there are far too many people to be considered friends. Our relationship to most of these people is described as 'digital' since we do not personally meet them everyday or we do not spend 'quality' time with them even if we do meet them. A click for a thumbs up, a like on a post, a Skype chitchat, or a funny conversation on Messenger merely puts us in the degree of being 'pals" since we do not have a tangible personal connection to these people. Ever wonder why back in the day, we used to call 'these' group of people pen 'pals' and phone 'pals?' Well, I just explained the reason why and it seems that we were better of about categorizing our personal relationships than today. Which leads us to the next level!

The Buddy in My Personal Activities

Well, the subtopics just sums what I have to tell you about the next level of personal relationships --- the buddy. Activity partners are buddies; whether your preference would be yoga, swimming, martial arts, or anything which involves any particular human activity, the person(s) who always accompanies you is your buddy. Remember that you may have many acquaintances and out of this pool of people, there will be those whom you will often communicate with but would not personally meet, and out of this smaller pool of pals, there will be a few whom you will ask to go out with...these are your buddies. Imagine an inverted pyramid with the wider base representing the total number of your acquaintances. Notice how the number lessens as the relationship slides deeper and deeper. This leads us to the ultimate level ----- FRIENDSHIP.

What is a True Friend

Literature has given us a myriad of definitions of this relationship, but perhaps the most important is how the Holy Writ defines it: "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). It seems to me that we often do not take this meaning seriously for if people have, then things would have been really different around us all. I have often felt sad when students would often entertain negative comments about their 'friends' coming from 'acquaintances.' It pains me to see how shallow or how blurry the meaning is when in fact, we must be more than willing to die for our friends. The lesson behind this short piece is more of a wake up call! Why LISTEN to people we do not even really have deeper relationship with? Note that the word LISTEN entails a deeper meaning and not to confuse with HEARING. If we are real friends, we also do not tell people about our friends'weaknesses nor criticize them publicly because we want them TO TRUST us and maintain a RELATIONSHIP OF TRUST with them. Trust is a critical factor in friendship and the things we entrust our friends with must be closely guarded even with our lives if necessary for this is the true meaning of being a friend. Sadly in many cases, even family members are not considered friends thus people often tell their secrets outside the family of which they should have been openly communicating with and having meaningful activities with.

The Conclusion

As far as technology goes, there will always be newer and better ways to communicate and establish relationships with. As far as relationship goes, there will always be confusion about the degrees and levels of relationships among people. Hope this short piece has helped you in realizing, analyzing, and assessing our degrees and levels of personal relationships. It is my firm hope that we will all look forward to embodying that which these definitions show so that we can add more meaning to our own relationships with other.

Revisiting Our Relationships

With all the explanation and examples given concerning the levels of our personal relationships, let us have a little test on how close we are to the people around us.

Assign the given points of the corresponding level for each person in your group, family, organization, or religious affiliation.

friend = 5 points.

buddy = 4 points

pal = 3 points

acquaintance = 2 points

don't know = 1 point

Assign the given value per number:

_____ 1. priest/bishop/pastor/minister at your local church

_____ 2. high school principal during your graduation

_____ 3. your current immediate superior at work

_____ 4. your mother

_____ 5. your father

_____ 6. sibling(s)

_____ 7. best client

_____ 8. your mother's eldest brother/sister

_____ 9. your father's mother

_____ 10. any man on the street

_____ 11. your mechanic

_____ 12. the cute waiter/waitress at your favorite restaurant

_____ 13. God/Allah/Buddah

_____ 14. your university guidance counselor

_____ 15. your next door neighbor

What is your total score? If all your answers are 5 points each, then you must be one really friendly person. Note that this does not make you a lesser being should your score be lower than a perfect 45 points but only shows your general degree of relationship among other people and belief(s).

A simple score interpretation below may help you in your desire to know how close you are to others and to your belief.

45 to 41 = Super friendly

40 to 36 = Friendly

35 to 31 = Super Buddy

30 to 26 = Buddy-Buddy

25 to 21 = Super Pal

20 to 16 = Pal

15 to 11 = Super Acquaintance

10 to 6 = Acquaintance

5 to 1 = Distant

FAQs for You

1. Why are people often confused about the degrees of personal relationship? Perhaps they do not pay much attention to the degrees of closeness and trust to others. Also, there is no hard and fast rule when a person qualifies to a higher level; all are quite subjective which only we can determine the proper degree.

2. Can a family member be less than a friend? This is the common problem we know experience. We have members of our families trusting other people more than their own family members. What this short article wants to achieve is to try to help us become closer to our families and establish a sense of friendship among them and to others.

3. Is it a great idea to find a possible husband or wife among your friends? Again, this is highly personal and subjective as people's opinions may be divided between supporting and being against so. For me, it is a good start option to do so since there is already an established relationship; marriage then would only mean a higher level of intimacy in the relationship.

4. Is being an introvert a hindrance to establishing relationship among others? Being an introvert alone does not make you less friendly; as the degrees show, pals and buddies may opt to share common activities which are digitally-based. However, if you really want to improve your interpersonal skills, then going out with others will unlock doors of relationships.

5. What are the most common things which help in easily improving the degrees of relationship? It is important to take note of people's interests and dreams. Mutual trust and respect are also essential elements in the nurturing of personal relationships.

© 2018 Professor S


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