What is it that creates human relationships?
There is one decisive factor pivotal to creating a bond with another human being, one that is often overlooked because of its simplicity and perhaps what it says about humans as fickle creatures scurrying about in search of company. This factor is proximity: nothing more or less than the people who coincidentally happen to be in the area surrounding someone. Proximity is the overlooked factor in human relationships, much more important than mutual interest, mutual advantage, or genetic links. If a human is spatially close to another human for long periods of time, some manner of bond will inevitably develop. Admittedly these bonds are strengthened by sharing of common interests and relationships may be sustained without proximity and across long distances through a mutual desire to see one another, to spend time in one another’s presence.
All relationships begin with proximity. A mere crossing of paths. A convergence of events precipitously bringing two people or more into contact. This proximity can be generated by a confluence of myriad activities: people forced to work together, people striving for education in shared vocations, children forced to live with their relatives until such a time as they have the means to leave, people who share a place of recreation, entertainment, or belief. When people are brought together for extended periods of time under any circumstances, a relationship will form. Great bonds are said to develop between humans in prison, in the army, in support groups, in school: areas where people collide; where they are brought together and left no alternative but to form teams relying upon mutual dependency. Would the protagonists of ‘Brokeback Mountain’ have sought each other’s comfort had they not been forced together on the side of the titular mountain?
This view may at first seem indeterministic, a dour and glib view of the human condition whereby relationships are formed randomly based upon chance encounters and nothing more. No soul mates. No lovers destined to meet. No familial attachment keeping kin together through thick and thin. Nothing but disparate atomic beings swirling in the void, sticking to those within close distance. Nothing but human creatures meeting and reaching out, reaching for a chance to escape the solitary confines of one’s own body, reaching for something more than the deafening silence within a lone mind, reaching, always reaching. Humans find packs and run with them: relationships have no more dignity or status than wolves enjoying one another’s musk.
However this unveiling of proximity as the overlooked factor can be liberating. How refreshing to believe that a great bond of sharing and intimacy can be formed with anyone who we are made to contact! The freedom to form a relationship for the ages with any person we come close to spatiotemporally. Anyone, any human no matter how different, could be the next great friend or lover of a lifetime. In scientific and clinical terms, force two elements together and cohesion will occur, at least in human sociology. In more poetic terms, a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.
FQ = Friendship Quota
P = Proximity = Hours spent within ten metres of one another
I = Number of commonly held interests/beliefs
(IQ1 – IQ2) = Difference in IQ levels
O = Number of offensive/annoying characteristics