Aristotle said, "Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods."
Good relationships are key to living through an excellent human experience. However, in this day and age, there is much distrust. We have mostly turned suspicious of the other. Everyone today is guilty of judging and analyzing others and their actions on a minute-by-minute basis. It seems like if your image does not fit in with what the society expects of you at a certain age, then it must mean that you are "different." Most certainly you are special and one of a kind but not in a way that is approved by the apprehensive eyes of the society.
As a social scientist, through my observations I have noticed that the best relationships work when we take them as seriously as our current employment. I think that in relationships we should apply our work philosophy. There should be a yearly performance appraisal to take stock of how the relationship has evolved, state goals, short term and long term for all members involved in it to deem the future, growth and loyalty of the experience. Punctuality, pleasant disposition, team work, community service, going the extra mile should be carefully noted and rewarded from time to time by way of gratitude and other means such as cash or kind. A person's job history speaks a volume about them. If you see that they are performing brilliantly at work, and you get a below average show on the personal front, it is time to issue a warning or hand them a letter of relationship termination.
Relationships become a bit more complicated when you are just getting to know a person or you like someone but are unable to predict if it is long term. Some may suggest you can never predict any relationship because things happen, while others may imply that past performance is an excellent indicator of future possibilities. I propose that we use this as an opportunity to grow our horizon. When we meet someone that opens a door of future possibilities, let us initiate a specific duration contract (renewable of course) that states whoever bails out first has to pay compensation towards the self-esteem recovery of the other. The recovery could entail hours of retail therapy, days of luxury at an island resort spa or an all expenses paid trip to visit a new country. However, and whatever fits the budget of the parties involved. The relationship contract can be from 1 month and valid up to 99 years with no penalty clauses like "no trauma but zero connection" "mutual rejection due to fizzled chemistry."
This legal binding document can save millions of people from serious trauma, low self-esteem and devastation caused through heartbreak. It will bring back trust in relationships, and people will refrain from casual interactions for instant gratifications. People who enter such type of contracts will carefully think about who they want to pursue and why. In such cases, investment of time, effort and resources is mostly equal from both sides. Two people, who readily sign this type of a contract for a said period of time, signal towards affection they feel for each other, which is beyond legality. For those of us who are inclined towards marriage, this is a great indicator of a keeper on our hands.
For others who feel that relationship contracts are difficult, follow your inner guidance. Say yes, and do things that feel good to you. In addition, ensure that your actions in no way or form are harming others who are involved because if you do, you shall reap what you sow.
© Dr. Sriya Chakravarti