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Relationships

Discussion in 'Real Life Discussion' started by Ash, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. Ash

    Ash Moves Like Jagger DLP Supporter

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    I've been thinking about this recently (somewhat due to my college courses, and somewhat due to my own friendships/relationships), and I thought I'd pose the question to DLP (why you all, I don't know). This applies to relationships/friendships as a whole, so when I say relationships, I do not just mean romantically.

    Should you have many common interests with your significant other? With your friends? How many is 'many' to you? Are you happy sharing one or two interests with someone close to you, or do you like to have all/most of your interests in common? Is there one interest that is a dealbreaker to you?

    The same applies to beliefs, of course. What can someone believe differently than you on and still maintain a relationship with you?

    How do you balance differing ideas of spending time and hanging out with one another? E.g. wanting to spend time at home watching something, playing something, or talking, and wanting to do 'activities' outside of the house? Whether you were the homebody or the one wanting to do more activities, did it put a strain on the relationship? What type of activities are good compromises between those two extremes?

    People who have been married for a while or had a particularly long-lasting close friendship, what key interests and beliefs do you share?

    I know there are no easy answers, and it depends on the person, but I'm really just curious what other people think, whether it is a glib response or a heartfelt description of the end of a friendship.

    I will include my own response in a later post; I don't want it in the OP.
     
  2. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I think shared interests/activities can be a good way to meet people, but once you know them it's less important. Over time the real foundation of a relationship will be, I think, something deeper than surface interests.

    This "something deeper" is very hard to define, but approaches attitude/outlook/temperament. You don't have to have the same "attitude", but I think some attitudes are certainly more complimentary to each other than others. If your basic outlook on life differs to the other person in a fundamental way, I don't think shared interests are going to go very far in forging a strong bond.

    Of course that's not to say that spending time together with friends/partners isn't important. It is, and so having some things you like doing together is important for that reason--not for the interest per se, but for the reason it gives you to be in each other's company, bonding via shared experiences, creation of a shared personal history, becoming accustomed to each other's idiosyncrasies, etc.

    If you don't spend time with people, you're going to drift apart no matter how strong a bond you had before. This is something I've noticed during the last 3 years or so of moving around a lot. I try to keep up with what's happening with my friends, but inevitably they're living their lives and I'm just not a part of that day to day. We're still friendly, we're still excited to see each other and catch up when we meet, but we don't have that close bond we had at university.

    On a final note: nothing kills a friendship like religion. I had an absolutely huge fight with a (Christian) best friend when I told them I had become an atheist. They declared me to be some kind of amoral sociopath, I declared them self-righteous and manipulative... we haven't spoken since 2008.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  3. Sechrima

    Sechrima Disappeared

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    Not necessarily true. I've had (and largely still have) friends who are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, agnostic, atheist, and even pagan. I think some people make a bigger issue out of it than necessary. Understanding that the different people in your life will have widely varying beliefs about all manner of things is the key to getting along with everyone. I'd say the issue wasn't so much religion as it was your friend's personality, possibly your personality as well.

    As for relationships, I agree the main issue is having a shared history, and common interests are simply helpful in regards to that.

    If two people have really different ideas about what is expected from the other person in the relationship, though, then that can end badly. Mutual understanding and respect go a long way.
     
  4. KHAAAAAAAN!!

    KHAAAAAAAN!! Troll in the Dungeon Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Basic friendship, for me, requires common interests, similar ideologies, and a very similar sense of humor. I don't do small talk, so if someone doesn't like the same stuff, I'm not going to be able to maintain a conversation with them.

    Romantic relationships are a lot easier than friendships. All you really need is attraction and humor and you're set.

    Any relationship, be it friendship or romantic, requires time spent together.
     
  5. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    The discussion differs depending what you're talking about. As for a significant other that a person marries, the most important thing, IMO, is a similar set of basic beliefs. Life decisions get made out of those beliefs, and if you are working from two distinctly separate foundations, things like raising children, making financial decisions, lifestyle choices, etc. become a ton more difficult to wade through. Sure, it can be done, but there's a whole lot more to deal with.

    Other than that, meh. I find those whom I enjoy spending time with and doing things with, and invest time in them. If I like their personality, I can find something to do with them.

    As far as close, personal friends go, I'm a typical military brat . . . lots of acquaintances, only four people that I'd truly call friend (outside my wife), and I don't need or want anymore. Most military brats I talk to are the same way.

    Time isn't an issue as we're all married and live in different states. I'll go weeks or months, or even years without talking to them. Then pick up the phone or be in the area and visit, and beyond the first five minutes, its as if we never spent a day apart.

    As for marriage itself, I'm in the second half of the second decade of marriage, and if there's one thing I can share, it's don't marry for love. That's complete and utter garbage because someday, that person is going to piss you off so much that your "I love you" feeling will disappear. It might be gone for a minute, an hour, or a year or more depending on what has happened. Instead, find the person that you've decided you want to spend the rest of your life learning how to love them.
     
  6. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I have very little in common with my best friends and I prefer it that way. Then again, I'm a solitary person by nature.
     
  7. Invictus

    Invictus Totally Sirius

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    Some common interests, to build the relationship is a must. I love beimg friends with people with very different views from mine, different lifestyle and opinions, I learn a lot from them. But there there are two things that I consider that are a must:

    1- Is the ability to talk over something, dialogue is essential to a healthy relastionship and through it you can agree to disagree, which can be perfectly normal and healthy. 2- Willingness to grow, learn from their past and such. I can't stand people stuck on their teens.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  8. Hachi

    Hachi Death Eater

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    I don't feel common beliefs are needed.

    However, what you need imo to maintain close relationships with people (romantically or not) is to spend time with them, talk with them, share activities like going to the movies or going to a pub, etc...

    For example, my fiance and I have known each other for 5 years, and are at odds on virtually everything. She's a devout Christian, I'm an agnostic, she's an idealist, I believe in realpolitik, etc... Yet, we get along very well because we talk/spend some time together quite often.

    If we don't want to do the same thing, I have my group of friends with whom I can spend an evening, and she has hers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  9. Ash

    Ash Moves Like Jagger DLP Supporter

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    I never had much in common with friends growing up...it was more about who lived nearby and went to the same school tbh. The same went for boyfriends, I rarely had much more in common with my friends and boyfriends than a similar sense of humor and some crossover in our music interests. Maybe we liked some of the same movies, but that was mostly it. I wouldn't say most of my friendships were that close, though, only a couple were. Even those close friendships didn't share my favorite hobby (reading, no one I was friends with was into reading).

    I had much more in common with people on DLP, which was really nice...I was dissatisfied with my RL friends after realizing that I could have way more in common with the people I associated with.

    The friends I have now, we have at least media in common, but I wouldn't say we have similar hobbies either, other than board gaming and some video games (which I wouldn't call a huge interest of mine). I have made friends online to talk to about my hobbies, though, so I really don't feel unfulfilled on that front. A friend told me that they thought that a shared interest in media was a superficial/shallow common interest, which hurt my feelings (and made me reconsider our friendship, as we like similar media, but thinking that is very different from my own opinion...I do not consider media to be a surface level interest, in my case).

    I think it's one of the best ways to have a shared experience, besides various sports, which I decidedly have no interest in. So I consider this shared interest in media to be the most important common interest (a broad one, admittedly). I would never be with someone with certain different core beliefs to my own (doubtful I'd be with someone actively practicing a religion, or with someone who loves biking and hates TV).

    I share a similar interest in books/movies/TV/humor with my boyfriend, but we don't share any hobbies that take us out of the house, which is a problem for him. Not a problem for me, as I feel like I don't have enough time for my current hobbies as it is, and, perhaps due to my friendships being so shallow, I'm honestly grateful that we have as many things in common as we do.

    I'm going to see my best friend from my teen years in 9 days, and we haven't seen each other in a few years, or talked much at all, and I realized that we had very little in common. Our life paths are pretty different at this point, too, as she is in the Air Force, so we no longer have our mutual love of getting high to bond over. We have video games still, and movies, but I don't know what else we have in common :/ Other than reminiscing...

    I'm nervous about seeing her for the weekend...worried that it will be very awkward and not at all like my memories of our friendship. I'm worried that I'll be bored, or that I'll be pushy and trying to get her to like everything I like.

    This impending trip, along with various discussions for my Communications course, has spurred me to think about my own friendships and relationships, and what we did together and talked about.

    WAY TL;DR: fuck if I know. Everyone should just like the same things I like.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  10. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    For good friendships, (a) shared interest(s) is/are far more important than a fully similar outlook on life re: ideology/religion, as long as (and that's the big caveat) you can agree to respect the notion that others do not look at life the same way. The main issue here, as exemplified in Taure's post, is when people start stepping on whatever constitutes your identity. That tends to hinder any relationship, be it friendship or the romantic version, or to a certain extent even professional ones (though the professional part is that you shouldn't let them know that they're being douchebags, but 'tis a better person than I that is completely unfazed by and evenhanded with people trampling over one's self/identity/whatever.).

    In my book, discussion is fine, but proselytising is not something you should do around friends. Obviously, this tends to work a wee bit better the more you agree with each other, but I think that, say, the difference between agreeing 0 and 20 % of the time is far more relevant to the odds of becoming good friends than the difference between 60 and 80 %.

    Of course, said proselytising is something I am prone to if faced with a severely differing outlook that I do not agree with and cannot let go of, so perhaps that's also a case of looking in a mirror and not liking what I see. I suppose the issues that trigger this behaviour are issues that are dealbreakers for me. There's no real dealbreaker for common interests, possibly apart from actually having one. Should that go, it's hard for me to keep a friendship. Not impossible, though.

    Re: time spent - for established friendships, I err much more on the side of what E.C. Scrubb mentioned - doesn't matter to me whether it's been two weeks, two months or even two years, once we get talking again, it's back to how it was. Ish, anyway. I'm still in that part of life where two years can be a pretty big difference. ;) For building friendships, yes, there is a time-related component. Can be as simple as talking, but most activities suffice.

    To borrow a fanfic cliché, I've a small inner circle of friends and a slightly larger outer circle, but I don't think any party I throw for this group would ever exceed two dozen people including quite a few SOs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  11. BioPlague

    BioPlague MD DLP Supporter

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    Whatever makes sleeping on the couch palatable.
     
  12. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    Why do you think we bought a comfortable one? :p

    On a serious note, that mentality has done just the opposite . . . for the both of us. It does wonders when you're torqued off at someone to then remember, "I've made the decision to learn how to love this person through this."

    It's not always easy, but I can tell you that heading towards 20 years, there's no such thing as falling out of love because every day we choose to learn even more how to love each other.
     
  13. Narf

    Narf Administrator Admin DLP Supporter

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    I have four best friends that I've known since I was 5, one of whom I've known since before I could talk. We're all in different states now and it's really hard to get together because of work and school obligations. We don't talk as much as we should. It's more like we're brothers than best friends.

    When we were kids we saw each other at school all the time, and most of the time after school as well, and most weekends. We played video games, we played basketball and football, we learned how to rollerblade/skateboard together.

    Now? I have literally nothing in common with one of them. He doesn't read books, he doesn't really care much about technology, he doesn't know much about current events, he can't really play sports after his ACL was torn, and he doesn't play video games. But I still consider him one of my best friends and a brother. The type of relationship we have isn't dependent on having stuff in common. We grew up together, fought with one another, and that means something. It boggles my mind when best friends suddenly... aren't, anymore. I could never imagine not being friends with these guys, even though months go by without communication.
     
  14. KHAAAAAAAN!!

    KHAAAAAAAN!! Troll in the Dungeon Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I actually just got together with a few buds from High School two weeks ago. I was nervous as shit about seeing them after nearly 4 years with very little contact, but when we met up, everything sorta fell back into place. Real friendships require time to build, but once they're formed, they can bounce back pretty easily even after long gaps.

    Try not to stress out about it. You'll probably find yourself unintentionally reverting to some of the mannerisms you had as a teen, which will make things easier.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  15. Phantom of the Library

    Phantom of the Library Unspeakable

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    After thinking on it some, I find myself with a similar view as Taure's.

    I have basically nothing in common with my current group of friends, yet there is an underlying quality of agreeableness to all of them so that we all get along. One of my friends is a practicing Christian while I am firmly atheist, yet we can hang out all day and never broach the subject due to neither of us feeling the need to bring it up. Another one is a girl four years younger than me who's significant interests involve looking at cute guys on Tumblr, dancing and singing sea shanties, yet we became good friends due to a similar goofy sense of humour and the ability to take an interest in subjects we're not normally interested in.

    That being said, maybe this is just due to the type of person I am. I'm generally a very private person, so I don't talk about much of consequence with people. Some may consider this type of relationship more of a friendly acquaintance rather than real friendship, and they may be right. I have an unfortunate tendency to lose touch with people over time.


    On the opposite side, I have ended long term friendships with people who have the exact same interests as me after realising that their mindset is fundamentally different to mine. I hung out with one guy every day for years in High School, yet when push came to shove he went back on his word simply because it didn't benefit him. After seeing this deeply self centered mindset, I just couldn't get along with him in the same easy manner.
     
  16. Thyestean

    Thyestean Slug Club Member

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    While this is true, I do have an exception. He is my best friend and I doubt I will ever have another friendship as good as ours. We were friends since middle school, however, we went to different colleges. There were times I didn't speak to him for 6+ months. But every time we talked or got together. It was as if no time had passed. We haven't live in the same city or state for almost 6 years. The last time I saw him was when we lived in China together after finishing college. But it has been about 2 years since then and I haven't seen him as we live on two different coasts. I accredit our eternal friendship (lolgay I know) to how truly similar we are. As if we were made to be friends. We like the same things, have the same goals, interests, music tastes, food tastes, games...pretty much everything. There are differences, of course, but those are just flavors that make us different. The best way I can describe it is if I was thrown into a random situation. Maybe I am kidnapped and thrown into a Somalian enclave. I have a 95% chance of guessing exactly what he would be thinking and how he would react. Simply because it would match my exact thought process. We are so similar we have grown up, but not apart. Time or distance doesn't decay the friendship. It only means we have more to catch up on.
     
  17. Ravnius

    Ravnius Auror

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    On the subject of romantic relationships: I recently hit the point in my longstanding relationship where I suppose some of the magic wore off. I didn't want to spend every second of every day possible with my girlfriend to the exclusion of everything else. At the time it was this big traumatic shift in perspective. I spent a lot of sleepless nights wondering if this meant I didn't want to be in a relationship with her anymore, and if I was just prolonging it out of social inertia or fear of being alone.

    Long story short, it worked out. But I wonder if anyone else had to deal with something similar.
     
  18. Koalas

    Koalas First Year Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Both my long term relationships have had that moment. In the first it killed it dead. The seconds still going strong, though it was a rough couple of weeks while I figured myself out.

    Tl;Dr honeymoon phase ends for everyone. Wouldn't be suprised if that's what ends most long term relationships.
     
  19. LittleChicago

    LittleChicago Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    On friendships: I have exactly one friend from high school that I still talk to. Going-on 20 years I've known this guy... and it still feels like we're in high school. We just mesh.

    We originally bonded over an interest in gaming - M:tG, mostly. I don't play any more, but we both love Catan and other board games, and even the wives are into that. Some similarity in media consumption, but by no means identical.

    But I honestly think there are 2 things that have let us stay friends: first, the fact that we are both reasonably open-minded non-fucktards. Neither of us are stupid, though we often act like children. My wife once commented that she had never heard a conversation swing from quoting the Simpsons, to physics, to politics, and back to the Simpsons before the first time she saw the two of us speaking to each other.

    The other is our shared sense of humour. Sarcasm is the great mortar that holds up the walls of friendship. I moved half-way across the country for work, and we stayed friends. It helps that he ended up moving out here, too, but we would have stayed friends even if he hadn't.

    (Side note: Jesus-fucking-Christ, when did I become the guy whose known people for going-on 20 years?)

    As to romantic relationships?

    I've been with the same woman since 1999. We still fight from time to time, but mostly we laugh. We have some shared and some differing interests. I think the most important thing are that we try to bring new stuff into the relationship regularly (and no, I don't mean other people). New interests, new thoughts, new ideas. New art, new vacation destinations, new books and shows and movies. New music and pets and clothes. Never afraid to try something new. Keep it interesting.

    And we never stop communicating. That sounds a bit lame, but it's the single most important aspect of a functional relationship.

    I know a friend who is currently going through a serious rough patch. She basically came home a week and a half ago and her husband told her he's not in love with her anymore and needs time to himself to think.

    Cold, yes, but it came out of the blue. She didn't see it coming at all. Odd, no?

    I honestly don't believe it's possible for love to flip off like a switch. Emotional investment takes time and energy, bot to create and to destroy. The only possible reason she wouldn't have seen this coming is because they were not communicating.

    I mean, if you fall out of love, or otherwise have an emotional crisis, and your spouse doesn't notice, can you honestly say you know each other? That you trust and care for each other? That you even respect them at all?

    Anyway, tl;dr:

    Communication, trust, respect, and some form of mutual understanding are the fundamental building blocks of a relationship, romantic or platonic.

    And sarcasm is the mortar.
     
  20. Averis

    Averis Don of Delivery Prestige

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    Certainly the person I intend to marry has made life difficult for me over the last four years (give or take), but the trials have made us both better, stronger people (and I probably deserved it anyway). Relationships, whether friendship, dating or marriage, are made stronger by all the ridiculous shit you survive together.

    I've punched things. I even broke my hand twice. I've screamed, ranted, raved, and cursed until I was blue in the face. I've been similarly cursed at for things ranging from 'not picking up after myself' to 'my mom not liking her that much'. We're not abusive, we're just young and finding out what it means to be on your own.

    As far as our key interests: we bond over music, movies, shows, generally getting out and about and being intoxicated, the beach, etc. etc. I think what determines the relationship, however, is how much leeway you give your significant other with the things you like that they don't.

    For example: My writing and her photography/hair. How boring is it to watch someone type 120 wpm for hours at a time? As boring as it is listening to her go on about clients or the 6,000 photos she took yesterday. And yet, we can sit right beside each other and do those things for hours and hours without getting bent out of shape.

    It's a beautiful, terrible, horrible, amazing thing being in love, and I wouldn't give her away for anything in the world, even when she runs me out of the house because I can't stand to hear her voice for one more fucking second. Somehow, she brings out the best and the worst in me, in a way that no one has ever been able to replicate. She's reliable, even when she's obtuse. She's loyal, even when my own loyalty is called into question.

    She's a devout Christian (or at least, would like to be) and, while I'm not a non-believer, I have a system of beliefs that come from many different world religions. Holy Spirit? Sure. Jonah in a Whale? Eh. Jesus the Messiah? Not too sure. Afterlife? Leaning towards there ain't one. This sometimes puts us at odds with each other (see: Afterlife comment)

    BUT:

    She's my boo, my wifey, my main squeeze. She rules the roost, and I follow along dutifully. I wouldn't have it any other way.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
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