Relationships are what we make them. There is no prescription. And every relationship is different. They all consist of different formulas of chemistry. Regardless of age, gender, or class, we will build relationships with people we feel connections with. As the connections get stronger, relationships become more serious, and the ones with the weakest connections may fall away. But there are a select few that grow stronger, and those relationships will last a lifetime.
A while ago, I heard a character in a movie say, “Find someone that makes you happy, and never let them go.” I have incorporated this principle into measuring my relationships. I ask my girlfriend, “Do I make you happy?” While I am on vacation with a couple of buddies, I ask “Are you guys happy?”
For me, happiness can be defined by little things, such as do I make my friends happy? Unfortunately, I think a lot of people mistake the word for something else. I live in Orange County, California, and people here have a reputation for valuing possessions rather than the people who have the possessions. For me, joy is the definition of happiness, and that joy is only derived from taking pleasure in everyday interactions with those in my life. And when another person and I are enjoying each other’s company, I know we have a true and established relationship. We give and receive gifts of memories, bliss, and affection. I must share the experiences and the emotions of those moments in order to bond with that person, because a relationship is constructed from the gift of happiness.
When you first meet someone, most of the time you can feel the potential of what type of relationship they can provide. It can be a business relationship, a friendship, or an intimate relationship, to name a few. You then may infer whether this person is a caring individual, an acquaintance, or maybe just a scumbag. But once you have figured this pending relationship out, you organize it. The person is prioritized and organized by relevance. If it is someone you like, or someone you need, you are likely to try and communicate with him or her again. Or if they like you, they will possibly try to get in touch with you again. But for what is to come, if there is even going to be a connection at all, it will be characterized by you and by how you choose to prioritize that relationship.
If you are lucky, you will find “the one”—that one relationship that will define your life. It may happen early in your life, or later in life, but for almost everyone romantic love feels like you’ve come down with the flu or something. For example, picture a man waiting at the altar at his wedding. He is standing before his friends and family, and for some reason his chest throbs, he is lightheaded, and he finds it difficult to breathe. He fidgets with his suit cuff links. His eyes blur. He is covered in sweat. He struggles to contain his anxiety as all eyes are on him. Everyone is smiling at him in the audience. Some smiles are fake, some real. A breeze at this moment would serve him well, but the air is like the Earth’s rotation has halted. Straight ahead of him, beyond the countless eyes, and the labyrinth of flowers, he stares impatiently as the band receives its cue to play. He stares down the aisle, and everyone follows his gaze—to “the one.” She is stunning, and as he sees her, his breath steadies, and he relaxes. As he smiles at her, she smiles back with no hesitation. His symptoms have abated. He has found her—“the one.”
Relationships are powerful things, and we are dependent on them. But, the journey to finding “the one” can be very difficult in my environment here in Orange County. With the abundant population, it may seem like there would be no shortage of relationships here. However, there may be a shortage of quality relationships compared to other locations in the United States, not to mention the rest of the planet. To find the so-called “one” anywhere near the 405 is an accomplishment fit for a Nobel Peace Prize. So what do you do? You have to prioritize who you truly want in your life. The relationships have to be healthy, and there has to be equal input and equal output from both parties. And if there is not a balance of effort, if you are putting way more in than what you are receiving, then that is not a real relationship. An imbalanced relationship will tear you apart and leave you unhealthy, and, most importantly, unhappy.
Do not waste your time on people who are simply not into you. They are not worth the hours and effort, because sooner than later, they will be out of the picture, and then you are left with nothing but a meek, stale memory. Use your time wisely. Choose those whom you keep close to you. Look to your elders, or even look in your past and ask yourself, who do I have left? There are most likely just a select few who remain, and hopefully, these are the people who give you the satisfaction of happiness.
Relationships based on romantic intimacy are the most enjoyable, but they also can be the most painful. When there is ecstasy between two people, everything else is lost, and there is a tremendous high. But, this high usually fades quickly. Sadly, attraction usually dwindles little by little until there is nothing left. In order to maintain a relationship, you must become like a farmer. You must tend your partner, like a plant that needs constant care. This is the only chance that the relationship has to last and thrive. Some people are true agriculturalists, and they can keep the connection there during all seasons of the year for many, many years to come. But some are terrible farmers (*cough *cough Kim Kardashian)… and they do not know how to farm worth a shit. But hey, I suppose one can say, at least they tried.
For me, I may have already found my farming partner—or I may not have; the jury is still out on this. Maybe I have already hit my all-time high and nothing will ever feel as good again. I don’t know. What I do know is that the ultimate connection, one that has a powerful beginning and that has been farmed well, that is called love. In the end it’s all a crap shoot, but one that’s worth the gamble.