This week’s lesson is about understanding the proposition and value of short-term relationships in comparison with long-term relationships. Throughout our lives, we become temporarily attached and loyal to strangers we meet during our travels; in schools; the workplace; and while members of a group or organization. These relationships are formed by the bonds of having somewhat similar interests at a given time-span during our lives. For example, we may take a cruise and enjoy the company of others we meet on the ship. During that week’s vacation you feel close with your new friends – sharing lunches and dinners; excursions; entertainment; relaxation; and lots of chit-chat about your family and business life. You feel as though you made a life-long friend and would do most anything to make these people happy. Even if in doing so you made your significant other somewhat unhappy about a decision or two regarding your new friends. More than likely you exchanged addresses and phone numbers at the end of the vacation. Everyone exchanges a promise to keep in touch and then sadly departs the ship to return to reality back home. Perhaps you might exchange a holiday card or an e-mail during the first holiday season that follows – and then more than likely that super-friendly relationship gets put on moth balls for the rest of your life.
The above is only one type of friendship that comes and goes rather quickly. It’s always great to enjoy these friendships while they last. But while you are engaged in these and all temporary relationships, a lesson to learn is never make the mistake of placing the wishes of your temporary friends ahead of those of Your Real Deal Partner, Parents, Children, or other important people in your life.
Another example to drive this point home - is one we are all too familiar with. It’s how teens place the wishes of their friends and peers in high school or college ahead of the wishes and advice of their parents. These years are obviously packed full of peer pressure. However, too many teens believe that their friends growing up will always be the most important people in their lives…. forever. If you are a teen who happens to be reading this article – take heed to the following advice: Ten, twenty or thirty years from now you will be lucky to even remember – let alone know about the lives of those friends you grew up with. If it weren’t for re-unions – of which maybe five percent of the alumni attend – you would never know what happened to anyone. Yet during those important school years – you would risk your life for your friends and worry your parents’ silly, for individuals who would become total strangers later in life.
Examples similar to the above temporary relationships get repeated over and over in different scenarios throughout our lives. I am by no means writing about these examples to encourage avoiding temporary relationships. Our whole life is full of these relationships. We grow as a result of every relationship. What I am encouraging is to always keep your short-term relationships in perspective, regarding the priority you place on them. These relationships will always seem extremely important during the time you are engaged in them. However – when compared to the long-term relationships of your family members and true friends – they are quite insignificant.
Unfortunately, we hear too many stories of individuals who slight their wives, husbands, children, parents and close friends to please their temporary friends at their workplace. This is very short-sighted and can end up being a colossal mistake. How many times have you heard stories about spouses going out with “the guys or girls” from work too frequently – only to ruin their loving relationships with their family members? A good life is all about making good choices. Investing quality time with the people who will mean the most to you all throughout your entire life – and making them your highest priority is always the best choice to make. Don’t let temporary friendships ever take a priority over the best interests of your loved ones.
Making the right decisions at the right time in life comes from understanding the benefits and consequences of each decision. The benefits of respecting the wishes of those who care about you most, is an overwhelmingly positive proposition. While the consequences of taking those who love you most for granted, in order to please short term friends is a long-term negative proposition and will lead to lots of future regret. The lesson for this week is to always choose wisely and think long-term when making decisions!