Recently a work colleague was telling me about a friend who was cribbing a lot about her boss loading her with a lot of work. She was working on weekends while the boss went traveling. My colleague suggested to her that she get a boyfriend. I thought this was a really bad suggestion. We didn’t discuss more of this at that time because we were in a meeting… but this made me think about a simple something I read a while back.
Happy people typically have 3 groups of people they interact with on a regular basis. This compared to most people who have just 2 groups : Work & Family. But the happier lot has a 3rd group – this would be a hobby group of some kind. Reading groups, travel meetups, Volunteer activities and so on. This had a sensible ring to it.
- In times of Trouble: Because often you may face troubles with one group of people. If you have only the other group to depend on then even those relations could get strained.
- Work & Family tend to have certain vested interests. For eg: neither may tell you to go on a long solo backpacking trip because well you would have to take a holiday from work and from family to do something like this. So you need a third group to suggest such stuff to you! This group that at the end of the day does not need you around, they don’t mind you going on a backpacking trip. In fact they may have so many suggestions as to how you can make it more awesome!
- In times of Double Trouble: There are stories of people with a worse-than-usual karmic situation who lose their job and break up in their relationship too, all at the same time. Well the 3rd group would still be there for you because it is typically one that doesn’t have vested interest. Yes if you go stinking, without a bath to your reading club (because you just lost your job & broke up), they may be a bit miffed. But they may actually just tolerate you, because who is going to actually point out that you are a mess! ;D
- Open your Mind & Your Horizons: Often work places give us a good respite from the stifling Home influence. & also vice versa, stressful days in office allow us to relax with family. Different set of people – allow us to express our different sides. They also have different influence on us letting us find our way and our space in the world. Otherwise we might be stuck being junior versions of our parents. 🙂
So a boyfriend or romantic relationship isn’t necessary to ensure that you are utilizing your time well. There are a few reasons why getting into a romantic relationship may make sense,
- If it is a serious relationship then a boyfriend or romantic relationship is utilizing time well because it is an investment towards marriage. Which is well part of long term plan towards a stable emotional investment in life.
- A relationship is also a good way to get to know another person well and yourself too. There is learning about adjustments, collaborating, teamwork and so on. So from a self development perspective it would make sense. However, this only works if you are emotionally mature, if not as is usually the case then you would probably be stuck in a very attached place and then if you break up you pick up all those “wounds”. You know those people who say stuff like, “Oh, I have been hurt so often, I find it hard to trust” & so on.
- Sex. Yes, that. If sexual needs are too strong it may help you stabilize. But again if physical needs are so strong then there are high chances of the second point taking place. You would get unnecessarily emotionally attached and then well either you get stuck in a bad relationship or you break up and get wounded.
So basically a relationship makes sense only if it is a serious, committed one. Or even if it is a light one then be emotionally mature about it. Otherwise it won’t add to your life.
If you just want to fill your Life with bullshit. Then all this is good. It may give you some cheap thrills. It may also let you have some silly, low quality conversations with your friends. But is this wholistic, wholesome and will it make you feel AWESOME? Nope.
So picking up the thread of the earlier conversation,
Get 3 awesome groups of people in Place. I know, I know you can’t choose your Family & you may have a not-so-great Job but … but…
Family: You know I think a lot of us are often stuck to one or two members of the family not being so great. If we looked around we might find many amazing people in the entire Big Family. Especially we Indians with our distant connections.
Find out amazing stories about your family members, dig up these stories of your far off relations too, trust me they are there and you may find some great Family people! Share with me too. 🙂
Work: If you are in a work situation that is not so great, firstly figure out what would be great. And then start moving towards it. From what I have seen in life, if you were to manage yourself differently, you will find the work situation around you can improve drastically. And even if your current workplace is just not good enough, we are in the times of job-hopping. Just move on. Take a plunge into something new. Let’s not Settle! Have a clear and exciting career plan. Not from a competitive PoV. Rather from the PoV that you should be so excited about the work you are doing!
3rd Group: This group should IMHO have the following salient attributes,
- No vested interests as explained earlier, at least not as deep as the other two.
- No mandatory behaviour – you don’t HAVE to do anything. This helps you feel really relaxed in your involvement. Every time you involve yourself in this 3rd group – it is from your own volition not because ‘I have to earn money for my food’ or ‘I have to do this for my wife otherwise…’ type of thing
- Fulfill some secret aspiration which you killed within yourself because you had to “grow up”
- Help the society
So I think this 3 group thing works. What I haven’t thought about is about having more than 3 groups? I think 3 works well because it let’s you get connected deeply with two of these groups while the 3rd is a fun, light connect. If there were too many groups then it would be difficult to maintain deeper connections. But each one of us needs to figure what works best for us.
No Overlap: Another thing to keep in mind is that these three groups of people need to be distinctly different groups. Because if you were working in your family business then family + work becomes one group. It is not a different set of people.
What do you think? Do you have your 3 groups set?