The deep end

There are two types of friendships in this life. There are shallow relationships, and there are deep relationships. From a quantitative perspective, the amount of shallow relationships we have vastly outweighs the amount of deep relationships we experience. This is just the nature of how our society is organized. From a qualitative perspective, shallow relationships have very little impact on us, while deep relationships prove to be impactful on our well-being and perceived quality of life. 

I want to do things that provide the context to build deep relationships. Similarly, I find myself involuntarily avoiding things, which involve the interaction of shallow relationships. The kicker is every deep relationship was once a shallow interaction. 

Shallow relationships are a mile wide and an inch deep. Shallow relationships are forged upon the foundation of small talk. The total word count for shallow interactions is low. It may include asking a peer “how are you”, or “what’s new”, or exchanging vague comments on the current status of the weather. These relationships only scratch the surface of who you are. Each shallow relationship only takes up a fraction of your time. Shallow relationships are all the same. They consist of other people, that don’t have a significant impact or influence on your life. Conversely, you are just another human to them, as you don’t have a particular influence or impact on what they do. Like two ships passing in the night, you acknowledge the presence of the other person as someone sharing your physical environment, but you have no particular desire to drill deep down into what makes that person tick. 

Deep relationships are an inch wide and a mile deep. They are few and far between. The conversations you have within a deep relationship are the opposite of small talk. These are hard to build. They require an investment of your time and effort. You really have to mutually share the drive and desire to dig deep to generate this quality of a relationship. These interactions may include asking what makes a person who they are, what was their childhood like, what are their strengths and weaknesses, what are they working on, where do they want to be in the future, what are they passionate about, and what do they believe that most of the population would disagree with them on. These exploratory questions really put the fabric of another human under a microscope. Investigating these questions will provide insight to what makes your peer unique. 

Cultivate deep relationships, and prune the shallow ones. Most things are better when they are shared with another human. It’s nice when you have invested time into the person that you are sharing things with. It’s more meaningful and it makes life more fun. Have a big influence on a few people and not the other way around.