We are constantly interacting with others. It is up to us to create the relationships that we form with the people we come across. Sometimes, we are forced to hold onto relationships with people that we wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to do so with on our own. Other times, we find our soul mates and bond with others in ways that bless us for life. We get to pick and choose what sort of purpose each person that we form a relationship with is going to serve in our lives.
I believe that there are 4 major roles that people play in our lives:
1. THE CONVENIENT ROLE
The convenient role is usually something that just works well for everyone in the picture. The people you call when you hear about a music festival coming up and you know you would have a great time with. The person you call at 6 a.m. to go on a hike with. You might be calling the same people for these types of events, but usually, we have certain people in mind to invite to certain activities. For instance, I typically don’t have lengthy political debates with the people I call when I want to get hammered drunk. These are the people that we really only choose to participate with when we need them. It’s not necessarily selfish; it’s just something that naturally and mutually works out.
2. THE SITUATIONAL ROLE
The situational role could be a co-worker or a classmate. Some people are literally only in our lives certain hours of the week. For example, while we’re in school, maybe we are stuck with a classmate that we don’t really enjoy being around but that we have to spend time with. That one girl in your science class who doesn’t stop talking to you isn’t someone you want to see this weekend, but she’s definitely the person who will have answers when you’re stuck on a homework problem. You play a different role in her life (Maybe convenience? Maybe she’s bored?) and again, it ends up working out for both ends.
3. THE OBLIGATORY ROLE
You can’t choose your family, and these relationships are obligatory because you don’t have a lot of control over them. Maybe you wouldn’t choose your sister as a friend if you weren’t related to her, or maybe you only see your brother once a year. The relationships we establish with our families are unique and individual. If you feel pressured to get along with someone, it might be an obligatory relationship.
4. THE REAL DEAL ROLE
These are our soul mates. It could be a family member, a friend, or a significant other. These are the people we live for! These people are the ones we choose to spend time with because we genuinely want to. There is no reward for the relationship except for the fact that we truly love the other person’s existence.
The bottom line is that people come into our lives for different reasons. Our relationships with them might be frustrating or might be amazing. Realizing that everyone plays a different role can be extremely beneficial, especially when people don’t act in ways we wished they would. For instance, if a friend isn’t treating you the way that you would like to be treated, you probably shouldn’t consider your relationship with them to be the real deal. How you respond to how other people behave is within your control. Just try to remember the purpose each person serves and see each role for what it truly is.