Failing to be the Author

Sometimes you fall into relationships or they happen to you because others initiate them or they come with being part of a team or group. That’s always nice, but that needs to be complemented by you being the author of your life and your web of relationships – actively networking, which means establishing relationships and maintaining them.

You won’t always be successful – no one is – but the key is to keep working at it and getting better and better as a friend, teammate, colleague or family member. It’s a journey and there will be ups and downs, so being the author isn’t always easy – but it’s the only way to be successful over time. The pitfall is becoming discouraged or allowing setbacks to undermine your confidence and resolve – taking you out of the author posture and becoming passive.

  • Developing your web of relationships is a heroic journey – by definition – and it takes time
  • The journey is a rollercoaster experience with lots of ups and downs.
  • The key to a relationship is the “fit” of the partners and that is a challenge during the teen years as everyone is changing – lots of moving targets – so “fit” can be a challenge.
  • If you’re struggling with relationships, you are part of the largest club in the world – teenagers struggling with relationships. It’s just a natural part of the journey.
  • Your relationship with your parents will change significantly as you go from a parent-child relationship to an adult-young adult relationship
  • The key will be your willingness and ability to take on responsibility and your parents willingness and ability to let go of control
  • It can be a weird dance with lots of awkwardness and missteps and the need for forgiveness and trying again and again to find the new “fit”
  • There are very clear characteristics of healthy relationships and very clear characteristics of unhealthy relationships
  • Romantic relationships may be a major part of the journey early or they may become significant later in the journey
  • Romantic relationships can bring a bunch of benefits and they also come with some pitfalls
  • Whether to have sex or wait can be a difficult and confusing decision. The key is to make a conscious choice and there are guiding questions to help with that choice
  • Endings in relationships are inevitable and they can be difficult and painful – whether initiating the ending or having your partner end the relationship
  • Emotional intelligence (EQ) is key to being a good partner in a relationship. It is the ability to identify, understand and manage emotions in order to relate effectively with others.
  • There are three basic competencies that support good relationships – communicating out to others, active listening, and effective conflict resolution and problem solving
  • You have a whole web of relationships – and you are like a spider in a web, making the connections and taking care of the web
  • Some people will be in your inner circle of relationships and some will be in outer circles, but they are all important
  • You build your web by networking – working at forming relationships with individuals, groups, teams, neighborhoods, faith communities, etc. It’s a web.
  • Key to networking is being interested in others and remembering the value you bring to relationships
  • Social media offers a lot of opportunities to connect with others as individuals or in groups – and it poses some serious threats if not managed well. Manage it.
  • There are some natural pitfalls on the journey – giving up too much of yourself to be in a relationship; having too small a web of relationships; failing to realize the value you bring to relationships; and failing to work at networking and building the web (being the author).

How Does the Relationship Challenge Relate to the Identity and Competency Challenges?

Developing Relationships Developing Competencies
Identity Contributes To X Strong sense of identity brings confidence

Clear identity makes you “knowable” to the other person(s)

The more elements of your identity developed, the more opportunities for connection or attraction

Strong sense of identity brings confidence

Sense of significance or purpose motivates pursuing competencies

Different elements of identity lead to the need/desire to develop certain competencies

Relationships Contribute To One element of identity is “I am in relationship with… (individuals, groups)

In developing relationships, identity becomes more and more clear

Others can see you in ways you might not see

X The desire for relationships can build the motivation to develop competencies

Relationships are key in supporting the development of competencies (encouraging, coaching, etc.)

Pursuing competencies with others can be a powerful approach (learning together, healthy competition, etc.)

Competencies Contribute To What we are good at is a key aspect of identity

Being someone who pursues competencies is an attractive element of identity

Pursuing competencies together can build relationships

Competent people are attractive to others

People who pursue competencies are attractive to others and can provide common ground for a relationship