same and different relationships

iceberg_under_water

As human beings we are drawn towards people because of similarity, or sameness, and because of difference.

There are no rules about how much of each.  No guidance about the levels or attributes of the sameness and difference, but seemingly we seek a smattering of both. A balance. Not equal, but a balance nonetheless.

For a relationship to become more than just there for a transitory reason, a casual acquaintance or one formed for a specific work project or short term activity or hobby we need sameness and difference. We may circumvent this need in the short term. We can cope. Make adjustments. The temporary nature of the relationship maybe allows us to be more forgiving, or maybe we simply don’t care as much? Or maybe there isn’t actually a relationship at all?

However, for longer term relationships, working harmoniously together, a need for sameness and difference emerges if the relationship is to blossom and last. Maybe the sameness can come from shared values, shared goals? Maybe a similar posture to work – being a completer/finisher, or having an attention to detail? Maybe the sameness comes from a shared philosophy on life, or from similar hobbies or lifestyle? Maybe the sameness simply comes from being an early morning starter? These are not of course, solely the criteria for sameness. They may equally apply to difference. A big picture thinker may connect with a detail deliverer, and vice versa. Someone with a different philosophy or orientation to life may value the difference of another perspective (many mentoring relationships work well in this way).

So there are no ‘rules’.  There is no formal contract. No tacit agreement. Not even a verbal contract… or even a discussion.  Often not even a conscious awareness.  Like many uses of the ‘iceberg’ analogy, this is all below the surface.  Invisible. We just somehow know.

And maybe like an iceberg, that brings dangers?

Maybe we should surface this more in relationships?

the balance of both?

change routine balance
A change is as good as a rest, so the saying goes. But we are creatures of habit, so says another familiar saying.

So which?

Most of us like to experience something new from time to time. Something different. The first time experience is life affirming. It is growth. It is learning. It brings excitement. Anticipation. We holiday in new locations, learn a new skill, see a new band live, buy a new outfit, change our job. Change injects adrenaline. Gives us a buzz. We seek it to bring interest, to force movement, to drive personal growth.

Yet we also like routine. We like the familiar. Something predictable. Solid. Grounded. There is great joy in revisiting a memorable place again, enjoying a favourite meal, wearing that familiar shirt, replaying that special album track. In fact routine structures our lives. We rise at the same hour, dress, shower and breakfast in the familiar sequence. We travel to work the same route at the same time. Regular meetings. Story time, bath time, bed time.

Change and consistency. New and familiar. Spontaneity and routine.

Maybe we are creatures of contrast? Maybe that’s the habit?