CS004

Communal Study 004: Interpersonal Differences

“Funhouse Mirrors Are Necessarily Fake”

If you ask two people to make a bed to the best of their ability you are going to get two different-looking beds in the end. One could tuck the four corners of the loose sheet in, fold the duvet, and accessorize with pillows and throw blankets. The other could simply lay everything down flat, but pull everything neat & tight. It may take both people the same amount of time, however, in the end, both people’s 100% yield two very different-looking beds. The bed with more pillows and fluffing and blankets may appear to be more “done” but as it turns out some people are more minimalistic.

We have all been shaped by our environment to think and experience things in a way that is unique to us. That includes trivial things, like how we make a bed or tie our shoes, but also deeper things, like what we’re sensitive/insensitive to. That bleeds into every interaction we have with people. It especially bleeds into our deeper relationships with people. We come into relationships with our own unique perceptions and sensitivities. It would be wishful thinking to believe those interpersonal differences would mesh seamlessly.

One of the ways our humanity can blind us is that we become extremely protective of & subconsciously confident in the idea that “my way is the best way”. This can affect our “effort perception” by leading each individual person to assume their 100% to be the standard within a friendship.

Here is one way we might experience this.

Friction

In a friendship, if one falls prey to the “my way is the best way” mentality, a dynamic of a “better friend” and a “worse friend” is introduced. The “better friend’s” effort can be quantifiably ‘more’ than the other. They may not even be trying any harder than the other; it might just be how they naturally express themselves in a friendship. When only one person’s efforts is taken into account, resentment can build from the friend whose 100% may be quantifiably ‘more’ than the other friend because they feel like the reciprocating party is not trying as hard. Resentment can also build in the person who is “falling short” because they are made to feel they are letting the other person down all the time.

Examples of ‘quantifiable metrics’ in a friendship

Time spent together

Doing things for one another

Checking in on one another

Being in contact with one another

Having meaningful conversations with one another

Underlying truth 

We all have been shaped by our environments, including how we perceive, what we are sensitive to, and what does or doesn't bother us.

Solution

If you are discontent in a friendship, define what your 100% looks like so you can feel content/appreciate & understand what the other person is giving.

We also have to understand that people are not perfect and one thing people do consistently is change. This is not a one-and-done deal. Effort changes based on life circumstances & friendships should ebb and flow, with grace given on the dip and gratitude on the rise.

ACTION: Do you consider yourself the “better” or “worse” friend? Consider what conversations or actions have made you feel this way.

Click here to join the conversation online, but don’t forget to take this into your own world!

Join the conversation

or to participate.