Monday, 16 June 2008

Our Relationship With Our Fellowman

No matter how independent we think we are, or would like to be, the fact remains that a person cannot live a lone existence. It is just not possible. We interact with our fellowmen every day, from the moment we step out of the house till we come home. And even then, we interact with people through the phone, text messages, computer, chat rooms etc……..

Our relationship with other people constitute one of the fundamental facet of our lives. We may find some people interesting to be with, and may try to get to know them better, or we may find people boring, and try to avoid them.

Psychologists are well aware of a clear link between depression and social isolation, especially in the elderly, who lack the regular structure, the daily routine, that brings them into contact with others. Losing the opportunity to trade information also deprives a person of the means to explore problems.

Our casual relationships, and friendships provide us with opportunities for brief shared experiences, and the exchanging of information, feelings and ideas which can serve to counteract feelings of isolation and boredom.

Human beings are social animals – some more so than others. That being the case, it is not far off to say that our quality of life depends in part, on how well we relate to other people, and how well we get on with the people around us. 

Unfortunately, many factors stand in the way of our relationship with people; conflicting self-interest, inhibition, attitude problem, cynicism, scepticism, inability to listen, intolerance towards individual differences... The list goes on. These and many more other human follies keep us from building meaningful relationships. 

We are all different - in character, in behaviour, in temperament etc…. No two people are quite alike although they might share some common character traits or interests. As such, getting along with people requires tact. Some would say getting along with people is an art.

We may not be friends. We may not even like the fellow. But, there is no need to be enemies. A little give and take on both sides, a little forbearance, will make life a little smoother and easier for everyone. It might help to bear in mind that life is short, and a little goodwill all around will not only be much appreciated, it will benefit us as well.

After all, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.” - John Donne 

And it is said that the best indication of our maturity is in our ability to form growing, meaningful and lasting relationships.

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