Some people in your life invest in relationship. You put something in, they put something in, and you become someone together with them. Both care about that relationship — your joint being, who they are with you — and they put effort into keeping it thriving over time, through calm and storm.

Some people are difficult to know. They are either reserved and protected, or imprisoned. Or are they or nonexistent?

Some people are just open for business. You give to them and they receive it as a transaction. They reciprocate. Transaction complete. Books balanced.

Some people are easy to connect with. You quickly develop rapport and camaraderie. But the relationship is ephemeral and swirls in and out of existence, depending on circumstance. They’re constantly swirling, dosey-doeing, forming, dissolving and haunting their grounds for the next impersonally intimate formation.

Some people just want another person around to distract them from themselves. You’ll do.

Other people view relationship-types as a formal status, which entitles them to certain rights and benefits. They assess the reality by an ideal to determine who is playing the role well and plays it poorly. A good friend would gladly do what you refuse to do.

Some people have only what Martin Buber called social relations. These are role-to-role, ethnomethodic performances, a playing of the game of a scene by the rules. Some people invent ethnomethodic games for people to play with them. Some people are so inventive this way that each relationship has its own game. It seems interpersonal, but make no mistake: it is intrapersonal.

It is entirely possible for the same person to participate in all the varieties of relationship described above. Even one relationship can shift from one kind to another. Some relationships are all of them at once.

Letting relationships leave and return — tending them when you can — saying goodbye with minimal bitterness, then saying goodbye to that bitterness when it leaves — seeing things clearly for what they are, not expecting anything to be what it is not, neither worse nor better — cultivating hoping without concrete expectation … sometimes I feel like a moment of sweeping awareness in someone else’s meditation.

The feeling of betrayal is physical if you allow yourself to recognize and observe it.

Grace cannot be earned or demanded, but it can certainly be driven away.

Totalitarianism is a social condition where betrayal is the norm, and loyalty is exceptional.

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