Six Degrees of Relationship

six degrees image I find it fascinating to reflect on the degrees of relationship between individuals. Technically, we are “already always” related in the big world, as a common species on a common planet.

But at the one-to-one action level, many fine distinctions apply. Whom can you count on in a crunch? To whom can you confide in trust? With whom can you be at ease? With whom will you be on edge? To whom should you avoid giving away too many details?

I list below six terms I’ve identified to represent the spectrum of degrees of human relationship. For comfort, I most choose a confidant, to whom I can confide my secrets in trust. For empowerment, to make things happen, to make my words laws in the universe, I most choose a committed listener, on whom I can count to hold my feet to the fire to fulfill promises I’ve made, when said feet have suddenly gone cold. The rest are more moderate levels of common interest and support that exist, or are assumed to exist, between individuals.

 Six Degrees of Relationship

  1. Confidant:
    a trusted friend or associate; one to whom secrets are confided or entrusted
  2. Friend:
    an intimate associate especially when other than a lover or relative
    one not hostile or not an enemy
    one that is of the same group and whose friendly feelings are assumed or from whom sympathy or cooperation is expected
    one that gives assistance or that favors or promotes something
  3. Acquaintance:
    a not particularly close or intimate friend : a person with whom one has had some social contact but for whom one has no strong personal attachment
  4. Colleague:
    an associate or co-worker typically in a profession or an office and often of similar rank or state
  5. Family:
    a body of employees or volunteer workers united in a common enterprise
    a group of persons of common ancestry
    a group of individuals living under one roof
    a group of persons sharing a common dwelling and table
    a male and female animal with their young
    a group of related plants or animals
  6. Committed Listener:
    one that sets himself to hear
    to hear with thoughtful attention : consider seriously
    to be alert to catch an expected sound
    to put into charge or keeping : give in trust
    to obligate or bind to take some moral or intellectual position or course of action
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