Sunday, December 31, 2006

Friendship/Relationship Inhibitions

I've been thinking a bit lately about how I treat people, and the differing level of behaviours I associate with different levels of relationships. In specific the differing levels of trust, and willingness to communicate with people.

As a result I decided to sketch out a list of the way I treat people with regards to how well I know them. Though the list people has distinct categories in reality it's more of a continuum. Also thinking about it there are two significant continuum's. One for friends and one for blood relatives.
There undoubtedly should also be a third category being "spouse" but seeing I don't even have a girl friend I decided that was best left out.

Any way here is a list of some of the different ways I treat people depending on the type and state of the relationship.

  • Limited to small talk about, a current event, the weather or something similar.
  • Physical contact: minimal/none
  • Happy to talk about every day stuff, ie job, study, current events etc
  • Interested in certain of their primary interests
  • Physical contact: Handshake level
Distant friends:
  • Happy to discuss a bit about what I'm doing, what they're doing, there primary interests
  • Physical contact: Handshake/backslap level
  • Happy to talk about most stuff, what I'm doing, what they're doing, Interests, opinions, what I feel in brief
  • Willing to help if needed
  • Happy to make jokes at their/my expense
  • Physical contact: Don't mind hugs from members of the "fairer sex", but I won't initiate them {way to shy}.
Close/Best friends:
  • Happy to talk about nearly anything, Interests, opinions, beliefs, hobbies, past times, future aspirations, emotions/feelings (to a limited degree) etc
  • Enjoy spending time with them even if nothing much is happening
  • Want to know more about them what makes them up as a person
  • Likely to attend events I'm not particularly interested in they're going to
  • Willing to go out of way to help if needed.
  • Will answer many personally questions directly if asked (ie birthday, middle name, other personal)
  • Physical contact: Happy with hugs from members of the "fairer sex" {from the other sex would require exceptional circumstances :-)}, but I won't initiate them {way to shy to do that}.

Girl Friend (never yet reached so theoretical :-P):
  • All attributes assigned to best friend
  • Would answer pretty much any personal question truthfully and directly
  • Interested in everything about them, their friends, family, interests, desires etc
  • Greatly enjoy spending time with them, and strongly desire to do so
  • Physical contact: holding hands, hugs, kissing, general physical contact imitated by either party etc {hmm not sure I should include this bit :) seems a little odd!}
  • And many other things that will no doubt be determined should I every find someone who is equally as interested in my self

The second continuum would be for family, direct and extended (all blood relations). The continuum would be much the same as for the friendship one with a few additions at all levels and obviously lacking the girl friend category (nearly posted it with out this bit :| that would have been bad, I can quite easily imagine some of the comments!)

Blood relatives/Family:
  • Willing to discuss most stuff
  • Willing to answer many personal questions truthfully
  • Interested in most things about them
  • Physical contact: Hugs, kisses both genders fine

Any way this hopefully gives you some idea of the possibly bizare personal inhibitions I have floating around somewhere in my head.
Note that these aren't hard and fast categories, they are the result of a mix of thoughts from rather late at night.

Also do other people also note that they treat people differently depending on how well they know them?

I'd expect most to do so, and I'd expect that most people would have quite differing degrees of how they treat people when compared to each other.


Katherine said...

Yep I would think that's pretty common, though a lot of people would have a less direct correlation between emotional and physical contact. Hm, perhaps mainly girls that is. e.g. I have lots of people I hug lots but seldom have particularly deep conversation with. Actually for me I find that physical contact like that tends to represent an underlying affection and *willingness* to be emotionally close if the opportunity came up.

Hm, or something like that. I suspect my relationships would not fit into categories quite as neatly. Or perhaps there would just be more of them.

Anaru said...

I am with Katherine on the more physical contact side of things. I will happily hug people I don't know that well, more so than tell them about my current thoughts etc.

I think I do treat people differently depending on how well I know them and also on how I know them. I know my work colleagues well (and they me) but in a very different way from my friends. And different groups of friends see different sides of me depending on who they are. Close friends I will naturally answer questions about most stuff but I don't prompt certain conversations.

Overall I am very grateful for all my friends and acquaintances without whom I would be nothing anyway.

EONsim said...

With regards to physical contact and talking, I think partly the manner in which I consider them is because of the way I prefer to view and deal with people I don't know so well. I prefer to a role/view that is like that of an Observer. Present to see what is happening and to discuss stuff but still somewhat cool and distant. Thus talking/discussion of all but emotional stuff is favoured as it makes it easier for me at least to maintain a certain detachment, at least until I've learnt enough about them to be comfortable becoming more involved, and I personally think it's alot harder to remain somewhat remote and detached if someone's giving you a hug. :)

With regards to your comment about
correlation between emotional and physical contact being more of a guy/gal thing I wonder if that might be the case but probably with out more guys commenting it's likely to be hard to tell.

On somewhat of a tangent though I consider to be Friends critical especially seeing it often tends to take me a significant amount of time to discover new ones. During which I tend to spend even more time than usual reading and playing computer games, which is hardly healthy considering the amount of time I already spend inside. :)
Seeing my priorities time wise when ranked would look something like: