Personal Interaction Basics

Overview of Personal Interactions

Humans are social lifeforms, that is, we have evolved by working together to survive. Solitary creatures like crocodiles have evolved to be on their own so there is not too much competition for food and resources. Humans have improved their survival chances as they can make more resources together than if they were alone and thus we have learned to work together - socially.
Humans have to get along, work together and share resources to survive as a species. As a result we have changed internally (genetically) from;

 

When I say genetically change I mean our instinctual nature changes to recognise behaviour in others and we automatically react to outside influences in a socially acceptable way, that is, we adapt. Our current level of development is highly complex and fragile. The current thinking is built on many underlying layers of previous thinking, and thus are dependent on these previous layers being a very solid foundation.

 


As a result most humans are required to function at the highest levels of personal development to keep our society stabile. We must follow certain guidelines called "society's values" and society has put laws in place to enforce the critical values. At our current level of development humans must;

Unfortunately many people are not taught the basics of their own needs and how to interact well with others. This eBook hopes to open the door for you to improve your skills.

Why We Specialise Our Skills

In our current level of development an individual survives by specialising in specific skills with the hope they are in enough demand to provide a decent rate of pay. Those with better skills AND in high demand are paid more, and if there are not many like them then they are paid the most. We specialise because we have finite time and energy and we need to work far better than we have had to in the past. By concentrating on one thing at a time we do that one job much better. This helps maintain growth.


A modern human does not have the time to mine and process resources, grow and farm food, build shelter, make clothes, perform research and development, build transport, build weapons and other tools, build furniture, run companies, and all the other activities that make up the rich existence we have. Even if one person could, the results would be terrible compared to a group of specialists (company) and thus they could either not compete in trade, or would have to put up with a very inferior product / service.


Ultimately to work together as specialists we must learn healthy inter-dependency skills after we become independent from our parents / guardians.

The Layers of Relationships

Functional inter-dependent individuals recognise that their relationships must be layered and individuals treated according to the layer they have been placed in. Ultimately it is up to the individual (you) to define their own parameters for each layer and this topic will provide some basics to think about.


Layers of Relationships

Click to Enlarge


From the image above please note each layer is separate and they NEVER merge. Anything not a part of your physical body (including your mind) must be considered a unique individual or entity, and therefore cannot be considered a part of you. You may make an emotional connection with another entity but that does not make it a part of you. Those that believe something is a part of them are feeling the effects of co-dependency.


Each layer requires YOU as an individual to classify someone (or a lifeform) into the right layer so that you know how to interact with them in an appropriate manner that is safe to YOU.
Rule of Thumb: The closer the personal connection, the more trusting the relationship, and more energy/effort is required to maintain that connection. The opposite is simply, no effort - no relationship.
Also: An individual must realise that social relationships are very different from business relationships. In business it is about getting the job done and/or completing a transaction, not making friends.

Stranger

The outer layer for which an unknown person is classified as. People (and lifeforms) that fit this category are;

There are no expectations from strangers as there is no trust yet, nor is there any expectation beyond the societal norms. Little or no personal information is exchanged.
It is best that Strangers be;

Acquaintance

An acquaintance is a stranger that YOU have met and made a personal connection with. Trust has not been established but the door is potentially open to Friendship and there can not be any expectations of each other. YOU may socialise occasionally or perform certain actions with an acquaintance but that is all. Some non-personal information may be shared, but nothing that can be used against you or leave you feeling vulnerable if shared publicly. Once someone is an acquaintance they are never again a stranger even if you do not stay in contact.

Family

Family is those people we are connected to by birth - parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, children, and so on – all connected by ‘blood’. Typically people think that Family sits closer to YOU than a friend, but what about those family members that are not well known or even dislike? Just because someone is Family it does not mean they are trusted.


Family can be as Friend with regards to trust and support, but far stronger and sometimes unavoidable. As it is said “You can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your family”.


Some believe that you do choose you family… before birth and hence take they take personal responsibility for their family situation and what they can learn from them. This is a spiritual choice for you to make if you desire to.

Friend

When time spent with an acquaintance is mutually pleasant and a certain level of trust between the two of you has developed, the next step can be an INVITATION to become friends. Friendship is a mutually agreed choice to support each other in ways defined by each person. It is also a relationship level where more personal information can be shared. It is NOT a licence to throw your burdens on others and let them carry YOU through life. To achieve that YOU must be a functional individual. A friend is best demoted to an acquaintance if trust cannot be maintained.

Partner

A partner is a Friend who has moved to a unique status of the highest order. YOU can only have two partners, a life partner, and a business partner. They can be the same person or two different individuals. To avoid emotional conplications YOU must inform them both of their status and importance and how each is viewed.

Lover

A lover is the closest connection one can have with another. Absolute trust is a must as the closest secrets are shared with a lover. Sexual intimacy is shared which is a deep bond that goes way beyond simple touch. Sexual intimacy with a lover must be treasured and kept exclusive, such is the nature of the bond. Breaking trust at this level is the most destructive one can be and can lead to extremely destructive behaviour. Choose your lover well.

YOU

'YOU' represents your mind and body. YOU are unique genetically and in experience from everything else. No-one can see the true YOU not even the individual themself.  YOU and others may get a strong sense on YOU but it takes infinite energy to fully understand YOU, which of course is impossible.  Accept that YOU will always have its mysteries.


Your mind is yours alone and you have natural rights and responsibilities. YOU forms personal connections with others, some distant, some close, but YOU never merges with others (see the illustration below).


If YOU are religious then the connection to God is through YOU, not others. Others may guide you with tools and information to help YOU make this connection. By being a functional individual your path and connection to God is assured. This is a spiritual choice, not a religious one.


Layers of Relationships

Click to Enlarge

 

This illustration highlights how other people (dark circles) are connected to YOU. Strangers have no connection and thus there is no line between YOU and them. A line indicates some sort of connection has been made, thick connections indicate and stronger relationship and thus they are closer to you. You may only have a few dots in most layers, but strangers and acquaintances are always plentiful.

What to Expect in Relationships

Managing one’s expectations of interpersonal contact is key to successful outcomes. Improper or unrealistic expectations can sink a personal connection faster than a lead ball in water. Using functional behaviour will most likely result in a positive result, but at times one must adjust to the circumstances as a personal connection is about how YOU makes another feel about themselves.


One can act a little unhealthily to certain individuals without being destructive, but only when it is to meet the other's unhealthy behaviour. I have noticed time and again that people with neurosis can get offended by functional behaviour, and when this offence occurs one must adapt to the situation. Obviously the need to be functional most of the time comes first. Rubbing functional behaviour in the face of unhealthy individuals is abuse, and therefore not functional. Everyone is on the path to greater understanding, and respecting an individual's location on the path is key to helping them grow as a person. Children are obvious examples but even retired people who have not grown emotionally can act like children so it is important for our own personal growth to accept this.


Remember that you are sharing a period of time with someone else (or a lifeform) so make it count. We have a finite amount of time in our life, and finite time in a day (24 hours). Positive outcomes, instead of neutral or negative outcomes, help accelerate personal objectives. By positive I mean positive for both people as getting a positive result for one’s self at the expense of another will ultimately work against you simply by cause and effect and lowering your reputation.


It is important to note that it is far simpler to talk to others if both persons know the basics of human interaction, but if one or both do not then strange outcomes may occur. If you come across someone who is difficult to deal with then you may have to adapt your approach to suit their personality.


YOU can only bond with another individual, not a group or organisation.


The best you can expect is mutual respect and a willingness to work together. Do not expect obedience as that is power mania and result of negative actions.

Personal Connections are like Rope

Yes it is an interesting way of looking at a personal connection and an excellent way of visualising certain events. A rope is made of threads which group together to make strands and those strands group to make up a rope.


Rope Cross SectionRope Breakdown

 

A personal connection is a ‘rope’ between two people which forms a bond. The bigger the rope the stronger the bond. Positive and constructive events between the two people adds yarns and strands to the rope while the negative and destructive events break them. The greater the event, the more of the rope that is affected. A thick, strong rope indicates a solid connection.

 

Strangers Known Person
Strangers
Known Person
Acquaintances and Friends


A bond breaks when the last strand or thread breaks. Ever notice in a friendship or relationship that it can end due to some small event. We feel a little guilty over the cause because it sounds so trivial but realistically it is the end of a trend of disappointments. "That's the final straw!".

 

The Different Thinking of Males and Females

There are slight differences to consider between men and women. These are the differences brought on by evolution so ensure you take into account the personality and preferences of each individual as we are all different.


The main mental drivers for each sex are;

Helpful Personal Strengths

There are a number of personal strengths YOU can have which will make you far more effective when dealing with others.

Breaking Co-Dependence

The way to break co-dependency is to complete with your parents, whether they are alive or passed on. 'Completing' means tying up emotional loose ends. To do this an individual needs to let each parent know how they are feeling about their relationship with their parent and work together to find a mutual way to repair the issues. The parent has two options;

Often a parent is unaware what their behaviour is doing to their child and are willing to assist in bridging the gap. In some situations the parents are so undeveloped they see issue with this type of communication and cause more harm. In this case the child must decide to walk away, forgiving their parent for who they are, and just move on with their life. Co-dependent behaviour starts to melt away and the individual develops further emotionally. Often communications are totally broken to prevent further harm, and this must be an option of last resort.


If your parent has passed away then you may talk to them in your mind or write a letter to them. Let them know you forgive them for being who they are as they were imperfect beings like everyone else. Make a commitment to yourself to be the best person you can be and start acting on it. Forgiveness is the key here.

Listening Skills

We learn when we listen. We get results from what we learn and when we act on it. People who talk too much rarely learn much from conversation and can be quite boring, even annoying. Talkers can also be subtly abusive by denying the expression of others. Talkers can also be the types who get impatient and cut off others mid-stream – more obvious abuse. Take the time to listen. Discuss your preferred method of conversation as the setting of this expectation rules out the chance of offending.


Give the other person the space to talk and get their point and feelings across. Step in when they have completed. Allowing self-expression helps create a connection and aids emotional development.
When working with groups help establish guidelines at the start around taking turns and giving time to each person to get their point across. Importantly ASK each person in turn whether they accept the guidelines as this will help greatly with the individuals actually doing as they say.


Speak when there is something to be said, otherwise listen or finish the conversation. Social situations are very different to business situations. These guidelines are far more important in business and can be freer amongst friends.


My favourite conversation style is to listen, respond to a point, listen, ask question, listen for question, answer question, listen, talk some more, and so on. Obviously it doesn’t happen exactly like that but I hope you understand the two-way nature of this conversation style. Some do not like this so ask if they do not like it.

Persuasion Skills

The basis of persuasion is to raise the awareness of a concept in another, discuss it to allow the other person to see things as you do, and then walk away with a favourable understanding and an agreed course of action. This is not done well by control, dominance or trickery. If you feel the need to be right all the time, or dominate, then this indicates a neurosis in you.


It is key to discover, by listening, the other person’s level of understanding of the matter. Ask them their current point of view and then navigate the conversation to a mutual action plan to resolve the differences. There is no need to persuade someone (update their beliefs) unless action is required, so don’t bother with persuasion without cause.


There is no point in forcing an issue as that is abuse. It is best to agree to disagree and part the conversation on friendly terms. Often the other individual goes away and thinks about the topic and realises there was room in their belief system to move. By parting in a friendly way (the most effective way) you can always come back and revisit the conversation, as ending aggressively almost never allows this.