A Reason. A Season. A Lifetime.

People are in our lives for a reason and they remain in our life for a season, or a lifetime. With all of the interactions we have (both online and off) the people we meet fall into one of these categories. From Grillmaster33’s video (the video is no longer online):

A Reason: People come into your life for a reason. How long are they meant to stay in your life?

A Season: It’s your turn to share, grow and learn. A person comes into your life to meet a need you have expressed. To help you through a tough time, to help you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Once the need has been met, your desire has been fulfilled…their work is done. Your prayer has been answered…it’s time to move on.

A Lifetime: Lifetime relationships teach lifetime lessons. Realize the lessons and apply them to other aspects of your life. Love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Know Your Role

I think the problem many people have in many types of relationships is the unwillingness to accept a person’s role in their life. A person meant to be in your life for a season will not morph into a lifetime person. I think there are signs, distinct signs, of the lifetime people in our lives.

Many of my good friends I met online (I just realized it’s 5 to almost 10 years I’ve known these people…wow!), not locally. Most online relationships (romantic and platonic) are seasons but with these people we went through things together. If one of use was “down” there is no way in hell we wouldn’t be there, even during the busiest of times we’d reach out to each other with a phone call or email…”do you need anything?”, “how are you doing?” or a simple, “I was thinking about you, what’s UP?”. We celebrated good times together, went through bad times together and we went through tough situations together.

People treat you the way they feel about you and sometimes that might be hard to grasp if the person isn’t meant to have the role you want them to have. I personally am not the clingy “try to change someone” type so if I get an inkling that I might have someone in the wrong role I will quickly rectify the situation (meaning even if it kills me, I’m gone – holla at ya later). I know through experience the person you have to “please, baby please”, bend over backwards, stretch yourself inside out for isn’t a lifetime person so I don’t do it to anyone and I try to stop guys from doing it to me.

Online Interactions Blurs the Picture

Social sites (and I’m talking about those of a personal nature like Facebook or MySpace) have the option to add “friends”. How many of those people are actually friends vs. complete strangers? For the longest time on these sites all information was distributed as if all friendships were created equal. Just because you interact with someone on a regular basis doesn’t mean you’re “friends”. It doesn’t mean the person can be trusted or that you even know the person as well as you think you do. You will see “friendships” questioned on a daily basis online.

Why do most online relationships fail? They were never meant to be lifetime relationships and the signs of that are usually obvious early on. In my experience online “love” starts when one of both people are going through a tough time, are unhappy with their life, etc. and they bond with someone they think has a similar situation or common interests. It can feel like the real deal, that lifetime person except for a couple of problems. The two people don’t “really” know each other and if one (or both) is going through an unhappy time in their life, the minute the situation is correct, the relationship quickly begins to die, leaving the other person trying to hold it together. Understand it was a season relationship, that you were meant to help someone through a tough time (or vice versa) and that’s it…that can be hard to swallow. It doesn’t make it any less true, does it?

Which is Why Offline Relationships Seem More Real…

Offline (local) relationships are easier to determine the role of someone. For example, you probably know the person you are dating is great for right now but that irritating habit the person has stops the person from being a lifetime romantic partner. That irritating habit the person knows he or she has is easier to mask online. Offline, looking the person in the eye, it is more challenging to mask the things we want to hide. That doesn’t mean that offline relationships are stronger than online ones. It means people are messed up and if a person has to be around you to act right – they aren’t a lifetime person, how can they be?

It’s Time For a Reality Check

Thanks to the internet we have the opportunity to meet and learn from people we would have never met in the past. More important, our connections to people we never thought would be known become public. We can keep in touch with our friends out of the country, make new friends everyday, find love, start businesses – we can it all online if we want. Those that are successful with their interactions, both offline and online, keep things in perspective. 95% of the people you encounter are not meant to be in your life for a long period of time (either as a friend or romantic interest). The 5% that are? You’re blessed to have them. Recognize who they are, respect them and appreciate them.