Today I was with a group of friends. We were having a conversation about building relationships. And our experience with people in various parts of the world. I mentioned that I thought weather plays a role in how relationships are made and what kind of relationships are formed.
When I lived in the mid-west, people invited each other into their homes, the same was true of the winters in San Francisco, but here in San Diego it has not been the case. I get invited to play out doors or get invited to do something with a person, but rarely am invited into a persons home. Others joined in the conversation and who shared the sentiments, that it had been more difficult to build deeper relationships in places where the weather was great the majority of the time. The lack of hardship in the weather actually impacted the way people experienced relationship.
This makes me wonder else plays a role in the formation of relationships. I’d assume family of origin, life experience, income level and profession all play a role. For instance a good friend gets nervous when certain lines are crossed at work. This person feels unable to engage with fellow employees at a personal level, so they are kept at an arms length. I had worked in an environment where it was important to know the whole person and you were encouraged to be friends with those with whom you worked. Such different environments.
Environment plays a role in relationship building in many ways. But our goal as followers of Jesus is to love well those around us. So the challenge faced is found in how we love others in a way that speaks to their true self, getting to know people and their stories even when it seems unnatural or doesn’t fit into environmental stereo-types.
What have you noticed about how environment has played a role in relationship building? Does it?