Flexibility and friendships
One form of personal flexibility (PFL) is in the crossover between personal friendships & workplace relationships. This blogger has first-hand experience of several professional relationships developing into personal friendships, forged from helping a friend-in-need, or through shared-conflict experienced. In this blogger’s view, the relationship combination works better where both parties are evenly matched. Or think alike. And if the relations aren’t complicated by romantic love or lust.
Ideally, someone’s romantic partner should also be their best friend. It helps if they don’t work in the same professional team. Especially if at different levels in the hierarchy.
Strong professional working relationships and strong personal friendships have some similarities:
- mutual trust and mutual respect is high in both.
- both have been tested and ‘weathered the storm’.
- both have a high degree of openness.
- both retain a foundation of shared experiences. And perhaps a shared triumph of beating the odds.
In fairness to the employer, two friends who work together, need to put their work relationship first. And make sure there is no perceived bias in the workplace. But that merit prevails. Otherwise there is likely to be a perceived conflict of interest.
The trust in one domain (personal or professional) should carry into the other, speeding up some actions. However, for the parties concerned, try and avoid calling in favours in the workplace, from any favours previously done in a personal capacity. It doesn’t seem to be such a problem when the reverse situation happens. In fact, speaking from experience several times over, that approach can launch a solid, personal friendship.
Flexibility and romantic relationships
There are two phases to this – a relationship-building phase and a relationship-nurturing phase. Initially, the people involved should use flexibility to break convention and create ‘wow’. And be flexible enough to handle love & lust together.
It’s important to be flexible (FL) about pace – sometimes ‘still waters run deep’ and first impressions aren’t necessarily reliable. People should strive to be the best they can be. But even more importantly, be authentic. In fact, be FL-authentic!
In the subsequent relationship-nurturing phase, the people involved should try to oscillate between honeymoon period and enduring partnership as often as they can. Happiness comes partly from magic. And magic comes from unpredictability & mystery.
Both partners should realise that what they start out loving about a person, may not be what they end up loving about them. This is true of general friendships also.
Relationships are a journey, not a status. For love to develop, it takes an FL-mindset. Otherwise it’s just endurance.
Case study: In the 1997/98 Hollywood movie ‘As Good as it Gets’, directed by James Brooks, starring Jack Nicolson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear, against extraordinary odds, the characters show enough personal flexibility to grow and improve their life situations. Interestingly, although each character has a very different situational struggle and a different mindset, their personal flexibility created enough of a relationship, for love and friendship to eventually blossom.
Flexibility and parenthood
Firstly, parenthood is simultaneously a marathon, a relay race, a hurdles race & a sprint. Arguably, the price of sanity & safety is eternal vigilance. No parent is born an expert. Fortunately, the person gets to learn and practise every day that they show up for parenting duty. No one expects them to do parenting completely alone. Therefore, they need to be flexible and reach out to friends and family for help, as necessary.
Secondly, a person arguably stops being a child when they become a parent. That said, plenty of childless adults make very good grown-ups. Role models, babysitters, mentors, aunties and uncles too! Having one child will utterly transform someone’s life. Having more than one child will transform their bank balance. Either way, roll with it!
Thirdly, parenthood, like falling in love with someone – an act of supreme flexibility. In both cases, the person just knows it will be a life-changing experience, testing their boundaries, their patience and their self-view. There will be apologising. And learning from mistakes made along the way. That’s all personal flexibility at its best.
As a parent how can you use PFL to be more effective at parenting? One approach is to promote FL in the things that you are a parental stakeholder in. To elaborate, none of the following things are set in stone. Every day brings a fresh opportunity to alter those things for more positive outcomes. On striving for more positive outcomes, this blogger has figurative scars and skin in the parenting game, having been a step parent to two children for 13 years, as well as the parent of a trans-gender child.
Things you are a parental stakeholder in:
- Your child’s school. Try to become engaged in the parent-teacher association (PTA) at the school, even if for just a few hours a year. If the school is not be catering for the learning and social development needs of children like yours, use the PTA as a platform for change.
- Your child’s health.
- Your child’s future career and leadership opportunities. More about this in a future blog on career’s advice and career management.
- Your child’s confidence level. This needs parental PFL to create a dynamic mix of; realism, successes, structure, authority, grief, love and setbacks. It hopefully involves your child improvising and ‘winging it’ when they have to.
- Your child’s relations with wider family members. Them learning to interact with a variety of family ages and personalities will help their PFL and confidence develop.
- Your child’s memories of growing up. A parent’s job is arguably to balance any bad memories with some good ones too.
- Your child’s inheritance.
If you found this blog helpful, feel free to tell others. Constructive comments are also welcome.