I’m sad, Colgate. I’ve been sad, or stressed or angry, pretty much for the past two and a half weeks. My mood can mostly be attributed to my involvement with a certain student organization and the recent debacle that occurred. If you know, you know. While dealing with the recent series of events I’ve thought a lot about my relationships. And while thinking about my relationships, I was reminded of an activity I did in Yes Means Yes 2.0 (big shoutout to YMY!). I made a list, called my intimacy toolkit, comprised of the things—physical and not—I needed to feel I could be close with another person. I liked my toolkit. It was honest and fairly comprehensive. Now, though, I need to re- vise it a tad. This is my personal toolkit, but I hope you find the things I list to be of importance in your own relation- ships, whether they be sexual, romantic, familial or platonic.
Honesty, Trust & Communication:
While separate constructs, these all contribute to making a relationship functional or not. I’ve had friendships end in college because of failures on this front. I’ve also had another relationship grow because of these factors. Honesty fosters trust. Communication also fosters trust. In any relationship, the involved parties need to be able to trust one another to communicate openly and honestly, even about tough topics. If I can’t trust you to communicate with me when you’re upset with me or if I can’t trust you to be honest about your sexual history or if we can’t be trusted to tell one another personal things, because they may get spread around, then we have no basis for a relationship. No one should have to feel the need to hide part of themselves because of a lack of trust. And no one should be dishonest and intentionally deceive another person. Communication is a pathway through which honesty and trust can be built or destroyed.
Effort & Inclusion: No one likes to be the friend to reach out again and again to no reply, or to be the friend who isn’t kept in the loop. This is where another relationship of mine has fallen apart, and has been a regular source of unhappiness in others. Relationships inherently involve some give and take. I’m not saying your relationships should be tit-for-tat, but we all need to take it upon ourselves to actively foster our relationships. It gets exhausting to ask someone every week if they can hang out, only to be told “an- other time!” and then to have to be the one to ask again at another time. It also gets exhausting to find out your friends made plans without you, again, because you weren’t in the room when the plans were made. Every relationship takes effort. I know we are busy people and it can be easier to just stay in contact and just hang out with those you live with, those in your Greek organization, your team or those studying with you at the library. But really, just a couple of texts a month to keep each other in the loop is that so much to ask for? Even if you don’t think your friend or partner is interested in going to breakfast, even if you think they are going to be too busy to go see the new Avengers movie, just ask them! It shows you care. Maybe you don’t see the relationship moving forward though. Then see the point above, and communicate honestly with that person.
One of my biggest frustrations with Colgate life has been how people treat one another. Please, I just ask everyone to show a little more respect, to give a little more of yourself, to assume a lot less and to remember, “treat others the way you want to be treated” or better yet, “treat others the way they want to be treated.”
Contact Kira Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.