The relationships that I maintain all have a fit. There are the people who I can be vulnerable with, those who mentor me, the ones to have fun with and the list goes on. Many times, the people in my life fit more than one of these roles.
I think the same way about jobs. When I take on a client or join an organisation I am interested, I give all that I can and I take the experiences that the job offers.
Growth, change, new information, different experiences, alternate points of view – these are the things that interest me and keep me interested. These are the reasons why I become involved, contribute and add value. When I believe that I have nothing more to give or get from a job, I know that is time to move on. When the learning is done, the project completed or when there aren’t any growth opportunities then I remove myself and look for another challenge.
A relationship is not like a job! A relationship is a job. I enter into relationships for the long haul, to make contact with, to contribute to the lives of others and to add value; as they do for me.
When I take from someone and give nothing in return, then I am saying that the other does not need me or that I have nothing to give or that I will not make a difference in his/her life. In a way, I am questioning the value of the relationship, since I am not investing in it. It also says that what I have to give may not be good enough to give to the other person, or that they have everything that they need. Whenever I am in a relationship where I am taking without giving, I know that I am either not interested or unsure.
When I give and there is nothing to receive in return it takes me a while to notice. It’s more of a niggling thought, an unanswered question that trails off into doubt before it is asked, leaving behind a sense of inequity, and a feeling of being taken for granted. In these instances, I give to a limit and once it is reached, I start to wind down the relationship, until it peters out, and dies.
The relationships that I have had the longest are finely balanced. There is an ebb and a flow, an easiness of exchange in the taking and giving. It becomes indiscernible and unimportant who gives or takes at any given moment because we each know that we each will receive from the other as and when we need.
How do you know when your relationship is over?