A very difficult aspect of our individualistic culture is to only think of ourselves. We live in a culture that puts the individual above the collective unless, of course, an individual puts their identity into a clique. The only reason why we get into relationships nowadays is that it should come as a benefit to us. That’s just about every relationship that isn’t genuine. People swipe on apps and spin money on dinner dates, hoping that they get something in return. The same dynamic can play at work where people only care for you if you are holding up the end of the bargain… your work.
Transactional relationships seem to be out of necessity. In order for this company to grow, I’m going to need employees. In order for them to make money, they’ll have to work. It’s a very soulless relationship. The alternative is a meaningful relationship. A relationship that comes from desire. It’s when a person genuinely wants to be around another, not by obligation. One of the things that I want to continue as I grow as a person is creating relationships based on the desire to be with that person. The only way I know how to do this is by using my heart, being vulnerable, and creating an emotional connection with the other person.
I’ve been a part of plenty of transactional relationships. I didn’t care for any of them. For the most part, it felt like people were using me to get the most out of me with little to do on their part. In many cases, the other person asked what they could get out of me without trying to give anything back. It was almost like I was expected to do great things, but was never supported to do those things. I understand the need to be transactional, especially when it comes to a business setting. I don’t believe transactions should be the root of the relationship. That’s when you get a disengaged Andrew. I want my relationships to be meaningful. It’s just very hard to do when people optimize toward their own self-interest. The question is, how do we cultivate meaningful relationships?
Authenticity looks different to different people. Only you know how to be yourself. I will tell you this. When you are around people for long enough, they can feel whether you are authentic or not. Intuitive people can feel if you are genuinely nice, or just nice enough to receive something in return. I think we are programmed to be like everyone else anyone who deviates from the norm is found to be refreshing. It builds trust to know that you know someone who is not going to switch up on them based on expectations. Speaking of expectations…
Don’t Have Expectations
Having expectations is the prerequisite to a transactional relationship. It tells people I can only like you, care for you, and support you based on your performance. When you work only to accept something in return, you typically act differently than would if you had no expectations. This is why I find it odd that people that I work with act completely differently when I see them outside of work. It’s almost like they are two different people. Instead of offering expectations, managers and leaders should offer clarity to the people they work with. The difference between clarity and expectations is that people are measured by an arbitrary set of rules, but know why and how to do their job which constitutes excellence.
If you want to have more meaningful relationships, you have to be offered the space to create the relationship. Transactional relationships come with rejection, which puts fear into people whereas meaningful relationships are based on love. People aren’t willing to take emotional risks when there is fear of rejection. In a world full of fear, providing a safe space is the greatest gift that you can give to a person.
Speaking of being vulnerable, not hardens the bond of two people than emotional connection. that means that you’re going to have to take risks to make sure that the relationship that you intend is going to happen. That means having uncomfortable conversations and asking questions that make people think. Of course, you can’t ask these questions if people feel like you will reject them based on the answer.
I started this post by saying that we should be more collective-minded in a culture that’s individualistic. I know there are people who may not receive that bit of advice. Maybe I should talk about the benefits that meaningful relationships have on the individual. It literally will change you. Getting to know people on a deeper level is transformative. If you can take what you’ve learned from this article and apply it to one person, maybe that one person can spread the love to another. Next thing you know, we’re living in a much better world. It all starts with one person.