Amar Bail

A plant of eternity

Formal Relationships

Posted by Haris Gulzar on December 25, 2009

I have always believed that there are a few relationships that need to maintain a level of formality, for example, the relationship of teacher and a student. Whatever the level of closeness there may be between a teacher and a student, the teacher should be saluted/talked to with respect. The choice of words used should portray the respect, and the attitude and behavior with which the two talk should depict that they are in a student teacher relationship. Similarly, I have believed that there are some relationships where there should be no formality whatsoever. For example, the relationship between friends. And by friends I mean people who are really close to you. You can be frank with them, you can say whatever you want to, knowing that the other person understands you. You can use words with your friends that you might not want to use in front of other people and so on.

I recently had a discussion with one of my friends on this topic. We both agreed that a few relations require some formality, but what we disagreed on was that a few relations can survive with complete informality as well. His point of view was that there needs to be a certain level of formality in every relationship, may that relationship be friendship. You can be frank, you can be straight forward, you can talk in languages that only you understand, but the choice of words is what needs to have some formality, was what his point of view was.

I hate you. A simple sentence. Just three words. Something very straight forward, something very frank, but what these three words mean is not as frank as one would have liked. The receiver of this sentence would definitely want the use of some lighter words. Although I believe that in relationships where you can be frank and straightforward, you won’t face a situation where you need to use words like those used above. And if you really think these words are required, they must be said. That’s what the beauty of frankness is. But this example really made me think again if there needs to be a certain level of formality in each and every relationship or not.

The sorrys and thank yous, I totally agree, make your relationship stronger, but I say they only make weaker relationships stronger. There are a few relationships that cannot be made any stronger, and those relationships do not require the usage of these words. But does not using these words mean we’re weakening a stronger relationship? Saying sorry and thank you is not the point, its the intention with which you say it that matters. If you feel someone really did something for you for which he had to go out of his way, you can thank him, but if the relationship you’re in with that person calls for going out of the way if required, there doesn’t need to be any formality of using words that are only temporary. But again, does the choice of words matter in all relationships? Does being frank and straightforward also require choosing the use of words? What’s your say on this?


11 Responses to “Formal Relationships”

  1. brocasarea said

    a simple thanku and appr always matters..!!

    we just underestimate its importance and moreover when it comes to close relatives..!

    read dale carnegie will help 🙂

  2. Saima Mushtaq said

    I will agree with this. Thank you and Sorry is very important.
    The way I understand it is if it would have not been so important then our Lord would have not asked us to say ‘Thanks’ and ‘Sorry’ to HIM. As to me relationship of ‘Abd’ and ‘Maabood’ is the most frank and deepest relation, so if it is recommended in this relation, then it is highly recommended in relations among humans too 🙂

  3. […] This cup of tea was served by: Amar Bail […]

  4. Raaji said

    I think the choice of words definitely matter. You never know when you can offend someone by being frank with them. Sometimes we think we know people but we dont. The more someone is close to me, the more respectful I am towards them because I want to show them that I love them not just through my actions but also through my words. Words create magic, my friend 🙂

  5. zain said

    i agree that choice of words really matters. one should be careful in the usage of words. your straightoward bad words can break the heart of your frend. if you want to say or advice something,use simple and light words that show your love and care. but the same thing you can say using harsh, bad and ugly words. the result will be a broken heart and angry mind.

  6. Sabahat said

    What I believe is that no matter how close you are with your best friend, there is always a BORDER LINE which should not be crossed no matter what. And that ‘border line’ includes trust and respect. Your friend knows that you trust him/her the most, still one needs to be careful not to go beyond that border line of trust i.e. not to take advantage of that trust. Similarly, one should not go beyond the border line of Respect i.e. not to forget that whatever you say or do must not be disrespectful to the other person in any way.

    The sorrys and thank yous, I totally agree, make your relationship stronger, but I say they only make weaker relationships stronger. There are a few relationships that cannot be made any stronger, and those relationships do not require the usage of these words.

    Being informal does not mean that you do not need the words like ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ any more. I believe that such words strengthen your relationship and reminds the other person of his/her importance in your life 🙂
    And as they say, ‘Sky is the limit’ , so you know there is no relation in the world that can not be made any stronger, rather there is always something that you can do to make your relationship more and more stronger, same is the case with even the most strongest worldly relationship – Parent and Child. 🙂

  7. Leena S said

    certain level of formality must be maintained in all relationships watsoever….everyone has a personal space which must be respected at all times

  8. @Brocasarea: I agree with the appreciation part (if thats what you meant by appr). One really needs to be appreciated and encouraged, but I don’t think it is directly related with using formal words in close relationships. But you’re probably right, we underestimate the importance of close relationships and the choice of our words…

    Will definitely try getting my hands on his books 🙂

    @Saima: You’re probably right, but I don’t know. Your point makes me even more confused. Saying sorry and Thank you to our Lord is dependent on the very purpose of our existence. We are here to serve our Lord, and if we fail to do so, we HAVE to say sorry to get ourselves cleaned, and we HAVE to thank HIM if he rewards us with worldly gifts so that we can keep ourselves on the right path of serving HIM. The frankness with our Lord is probably from some other perspective. But as I said, you have a very valid point here and I might be thinking wrong…

    @Raaji: They sure do create magic, no denying to that fact!! But the point is, why would someone be offended if he is your friend, and as I mentioned in my post as well, the word ‘friend’ to me means someone who is REALLY VERY close to you, so there shouldn’t be any point in him getting offended if he is close to you…

    @Zain: But what good is that friend if my words are breaking his heart. This means either I didn’t understand him, or he didn’t understand me, in which case we weren’t friends altogether… Actually, its getting me even more confused with every reply to this post 🙂

    @Sabahat: Thank you so very much for your comment. As for crossing the border line, I’d say once the friendship is defined between two people, the borders are set implicitly then and there. A friend always knows not to cross the border of trust and respect (and these are two of the three words that contribute to my definition of friendship). There doesn’t come any such situation where these borders need to be crossed, and if there is such a situation, then I’d say it is high time the borders should be crossed…

    And my point about making relationships stronger was not to make them stronger formally, but to make them stronger informally. A relationship such as friendship is already so strong informally that the use of formal words takes this relationship to another direction, i.e. towards formal friendship. If you get what I want to say…

    @Leena S: I agree. But no relation ever crosses personal space I think. Friendship doesn’t or does it? Its only about being formal or informal with those very close to you. Respect and personal space are always there and should always be given priority…

    Thank you so very much everyone for all your comments. Sorry for the late reply, I’d try and be more regular with my replies Insha-Allah…

  9. mansisg said

    Hello Gulzar

    Read some of posts in your blog..very impressive…
    On this Post I would like to say that I feel if a bond is strong between two person then there is no need to say these formal words “quite often”…but as u mentioned that if either of the person had done something for u out of his/her way…”he/she definitely deserve a big hug” and that will say everything u want to say…and again if u have hurt the other person feeling..then don’t waste a single second to say sorry also…that will make ur bond stronger 🙂

  10. @Mansisg: You’re right. Although I still believe that not saying thank you or sorry won’t bring any negativities in your relationship, but yeah, these words do make a relationship stronger!

    Welcome to Amar Bail. I hope you keep visiting my blog.

  11. mansisg said

    Sure Amar

    Thanks for replying

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