I saw a video on TikTok today where the guy said that friendships are the only relationships that aren't contractual.
He said friends have no obligation to us. No matter how it might feel like they do—they really don't. They could walk away and never speak to you again, totally ghost you, and wouldn't owe you any kind of explanation.
That's what the guy said, and I've been thinking about it all day.
At first I believed him, but now...I'm not so sure I do.
Children can ghost their parents and siblings ghost each other all the time.
I think the only relationships that are truly contractual are parent-child, and spouses.
It takes effort and the help of legal services to sever these connections, but parents and spouses still can—and do—disappear, legally or not.
What does it all mean? It means there are no guarantees you won't be alone. You can't control anyone else in your life and you can't predict the future (can you? If you do, please PM me!). Even with a marriage or birth certificate, you can't be sure you won't end up alone.
So if everything and everyone outside of your self is beyond your control, what can you do about it?
I think it's that fear that causes people to become controlling, overbearing, even domineering—it's their attempt to force you to remain with them. They don't know how to make you be theirs without tying you to them in some way.
Other people try to hold onto you by being inauthentic. They create themselves in the image of what they believe you want them to be.
I'm sure there are other ways, but I can only think of one that's healthy.
These are the only things you can do to be truly happy in a relationship and to keep that relationship intact—I'd love to know what you'd add (or remove) from this list.
Treat one another with respect
Be patient with one another
Be willing to listen with an open heart and open mind
Be willing to compromise
Be willing to apologize
Do all these things to yourself as much as anyone else
We are all responsible for our own happiness. A person who lives by these Six Pillars of a Happy Life is the one who's going to retain their relationships without force or shame. And should you be your best, authentic self and people still leave you? At least you won't have any regrets and you'll still like yourself. After all, our relationship with ourselves is the most important 'ship we've got and the only true relationship we'll never lose.
I feel I should add a caveat here because while I believe I live by these six pillars, most of my siblings and their children have ghosted me. The relationships that remain are tenuous. The loss of these relationships has hurt my heart in profound ways and I'm in no way immune to it, however, I don't have any regret about my actions or behavior. I followed the 6 pillars, so I can live with myself—it just doesn't remove the pain of losing people I love.