Facebook has created a new dynamic in relationships. It is called the “Friend Request”. Every time I receive or send a friend request, it reminds me of the notes that we sent in elementary school that said “would you be my girlfriend” and then two boxes, one to check yes and one to check no. The reason we sent these notes was to reduce the pain in case we were told no. It seemed easier to handle the rejection if it was not done in person. The request we send on Facebook often have the same implications. We often accept requests from people we do not even know and send requests to people that we have not even met because we have a need to be accepted and be in relationship with other people, no matter how shallow the connection may be.
One of the reasons we are attracted at a young age to the “check yes or no” notes and we continue to be attracted to “Friend Requests” now on Facebook is because there is a certain risk in relationships. The more distance or buffer we can place, the less pain we may feel. Facebook does not even tell us when someone rejects our friend request so we convince ourselves they did not get it or have not checked their friend requests in months. The real truth is that there are risks in relationships. Any relationship contains risk and the closer the relationship, the higher the risk of being hurt. Here are a few risks concerning relationships.
Anytime we reach out to someone, there is the possibility they will not be receptive to our invitation. There is always that possibility of that note returning with the box checked “no”. No one likes rejection. I have not yet met the person that enjoys rejection. We have all felt the pain of rejection. Where we wanted someone to accept us, but they had no interest in a relationship with us. Sometimes they show it by simple avoidance, other times they just plainly tell us they do not like us. Any time we reach out to make a new connection, we risk being rejected.
Betrayal happens after we are in relationship with someone. It is difficult to betray someone you are not in relationship with. We have usually gotten past the possibility of rejection and a connection has been made. Trust has been built and certain confidences have been placed in each other. Betrayal is a breaking of trust. As much as none of us like to be rejected, it rarely compares to the pain of betrayal. Because we have trusted, and in many cases loved, our hearts are broken when we are betrayed. Betrayal will often cause damage to people that will make them very guarded about the relationships they allow themselves to enter in the future. Anytime we enter into a relationship, there is a risk we will be betrayed.
Relationships bring responsibility. There is some risk in that. We are responsible for the trust the other person places in us. We should be responsible for helping them in difficult times. We may even feel a responsibility or caring for them in situations where they may not be able to help themselves. This is a risk, because we do not always know what may be expected of us prior to entering a relationship. We will often shy away from relationships if we think they require to much of us.
All relationships carry risk. But all good relationships have rewards. Good relationships are worth the risk. We all need to experience the rewards of good relationships.