Making the Choice

Ron Sukenick Relationships, Strategy

The process of choosing and deepening relationships is interrelated.

At each point in your relationship, you and those to whom you relate may choose either to develop or not to develop your relationships further. How do we make that choice? Of course, there are many ways.

One person describes her experience as jumping belly first into the water.

Jane describes her process… It’s like going into a swimming pool and testing the water first. I gingerly test the water with toes, feet, and then slowly edge into the water. I temper my approach into the water with caution depending on whether it is a warm day in June versus a hot day in July. If the sun is shining or if it is overcast, I approach the water accordingly.

The same is true in relationship.

We are continuously feeling our way along in the meeting with another.

We test the temperature, gauging the mutuality and connection, and then step back to assess how it feels, and whether the other person or persons have a reciprocal response.

A multitude of factors in our environment are considered in going forward.

Sometimes, no holds barred, we jump right in!

I will offer the following five R’s to throw into the mix of discussion around this very critical topic:

For now, we’ll discuss the first of the 5 R’s: Rewardingness.

Webster defines rewarding as a sense of reward or worthwhile return.

We are building on this definition by defining rewardingness as an ongoing exchange and flow based on mutual benefit for all. This exchange may be in providing services or products, or sharing learning, contacts, or resources.

There exists a fundamental psychological principle that people are more likely to repeat behaviors that have rewarding consequences for them than those that do not.

Relationships are likely to deepen if partners can increase the range and depth of the mutual rewards they receive from one another, and if they are able to sustain a high level of mutual trust and benefits.

The relationship provides joyful experiences. This is the reward itself!

Phil Black, a student, writer, and teacher of Gestalt Psychotherapy poses the rhetorical question: “…when all goals are close to equal, what determines who we remain in relationship with whether it is business or pleasure? It is the relationship itself that determines this decision—the ease and the pleasure derived. In the end, there must be joy: a laugh, a smile, or we will not find satisfaction, and we will not stay with or return to.”

Capturing his remark and adding, yes, it is the reward of the relationship that keeps us involved.