Equity Theory and the Maintenance of Relationships
As I reach the halfway point of my third year at university and what is the final year for the majority of my uni friends (sad face) the daunting notion that I'm going to no longer be around people I care about haunts me weekly. I've been thinking a lot lately about what my life back at roho will be like without my squad and how to find ways to bring us all together once in a while but also how to stay in touch with the friends I've made here in France. The idea of not being around people I've been hanging out with every day for the past three months and also the possibility that we might not stay in touch and never see eachother again really makes me wonder, how do people maintain lifelong relationships?
I think back to A-level psychology and learning about relationships and one theory that really stands out to me is "Equity Theory," which is essentially the idea that if two people put in the same amount of effort into maintaining a relationship it will last but if the scale starts to tip (one person feels like they're giving more and not receiving the same amount of attention/effort) the relationship will surely fail and that's the end of that. However, my issue here is what if a person didn't want the relationship to end despite being left to feel unworthy. At what point does it stop being "aw cute she just really likes this person" and start being "girl, sort your life out."
For someone like me who has been moving around between countries, houses ,and schools since the age of 6 months, it's evidently difficult to keep up with EVERYONE you've ever met but some people really stand out to you and you feel a genuine connection to them that you want to preserve and make last forever; however in many cases the feeling isn't mutual. It may start off promising with the making of a group chat filled daily with updates of everyone's lives but sooner or later people drift apart which is always difficult to experience when it happens but what if you don't want to let go? What if you're the kind of person that still wishes for the greatness that you shared with others? #guilty
How many people feel like they give and give only to receive the bare minimum in return? How is that fair on yourself? How is that fair on me? I'm not ashamed to say that I'm the type of person that will forever hope that people I'm close to or was close to still want to be friends with me but more times than none I'm left sat in bed watching snapchats of my friends hanging out together and not inviting me. It gets to a point where you've just gotta say "enough is enough." Stop caring about the people that don't have time for you and focus and cherish the ones that do. It may feel like you end up only having like two people you really like but how is that not better than being surrounded by people who genuinely won't even miss you when you're gone?
In terms of romantic relationships it is the same thing. You can be totally in love with someone and want to spend the rest of your life with them but if it feels like you're putting more effort into the relationship and not complain about it or try to fix things, what does that say about you? Like my good friend Samantha Jones says, you can love someone but you gotta love yourself more (Sex and the City). If someone you think is the best thing to ever happen to you makes you feel unworthy or like you don't really have a role in their life anymore, then they're not really that great are they. Don't rely on someone else for your happiness. Do you, girl, and great things will follow.