MsDora, former teacher and Certified Christian Counselor shares tips for smooth relationships with friends and for encounters with strangers
"As ridiculous as it may sound, sometimes all any of us needs in life is for someone to hold our hand and walk next to us."
— James Frey
It is absolutely ok to have companionship without commitment, where the only goal is companionship. The relationship may be short term or long term, circumstantial or intentional, with no interest in physical intimacy or any other gestures that belong in a committed marriage relationship. It is friendship for friendship’s sake.
Some young adults are not ready for a commitment, while some seniors have been there, done that and prefer not to do it again. And some people between the young and the seniors would be eligible if it were not for social, educational and financial reasons like those listed below.
Reasons for Not Committing
- Men without steady employment may be unwilling to commit or have difficulty finding women who want to commit to them.
- Women who are economically independent may be less willing to marry.
- Some adult children of divorced parents would rather avoid the disaster they witnessed.
- Some people simply never meet someone to whom they would like to make a lifetime commitment.
Meanwhile, every healthy heart longs for company—at least sometimes. Companionship offsets loneliness, provides a listener when it is necessary to vent, guarantees feedback when it helps a situation, feeds the sense of worth and the sense of belonging. Rather than deny the benefits of companionship in the absence of a mate, singles can enjoy them together.
Following are four ideas for companionship which they can enjoy regardless of age or gender.
1. Be Open to Companionship Opportunities
Talking, laughing, spending time with good company promotes good health and a sense of well-being. Companionship can bring pleasure with someone who shares similar interests, someone who offers a mutual exchange of ideas, or someone who just seems like a good candidate for friendship. It is not necessary to evaluate each other as possible mates. Just enjoy the present.
Older singles will appreciate the following advice from Eduardo Porter, New York Times writer:
"You don’t have to marry the guy to enjoy his company over a lunch. He can be younger than you, less well educated, have less money, and still be fun to hang out with. The partner standards one had in youth need to change as you yourself have done."
If the first meeting was fun, another one can be scheduled to see whether meetings can become regular. Or if there was no enjoyment, they can plan to meet with different individuals the next time. That’s companionship without commitment.
2. Schedule Regular Companionship Events
"Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people."
As singles begin to enjoy each other’s company, they may want to spend time together regularly. Weekly, bi-weekly or monthly events can be scheduled according to their availability. Here are some ideas for regular companionship events.
- Plan a Sunday brunch and spend time together preparing the food.
- Visit a museum or any interesting historical site.
- Play electronic games or share a skill; learn from each other.
- Babysit together for a mother who needs a break.
- Drive a long distance to a church service, a concert, or a shopping mall.
- Compose short stories, song lyrics or any other activity which brings out your creativity.
- Share a devotional on an assigned weekday, or on the weekend.
- Watch a sunrise or sunset from the porch, or from a selected spot in the park.
3. Serve in Volunteer Organizations Together
How many times have you heard or said, “I’d go (or I’d do that) if I had company?” Here are five service organizations (and there are many others) that will welcome companions. By volunteering together, they tighten the friendship bond, lessen the chances of loneliness and boredom, and add valuable meaning to other people’s lives all at the same time.
- American Red Cross: Volunteers make up 97% of their workforce. They help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters. They also offer classes in First Aid/CPR certification, lifeguarding, babysitters' training and more. To volunteer, find a local office at www.redcross.org or call (800) Red-Cross.
- After-School All-Stars (ASAS): The program provides a safe, educational environment for children ages 7-17 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Volunteers supervise the children, of whom 60% are middle school age. To offer services, call (323) 938-3232 on the West Coast and (202) 289-3904 on the East Coast or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- American Cancer Society (ACS): Volunteer opportunities include transportation for cancer patients, fundraising, marketing and communications, and other types of office help. Call (800) 227-2345 or find a local office at www.cancer.org.
- The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA): This organization nurtures the potential of children, helps people live healthier, and offers support to strengthen communities. To volunteer, find a local office at http://www.ymca.net/volunteer or call (800) 872-9622.
- Habitat for Humanity: They use volunteer labor to build and repair houses for low-income families. To get involved, call (800) Habitat or find the nearest affiliate office at www.habitat.org.
4. Extend Your Companionship to Others Without Mates
Why not spread the fun? Companions can plan functions together for other people in need of companionship. These other people may remain acquaintances, or some may become a regular part of the friendship circle. At any rate, they all extend their social calendars and enjoy various other types of companionship activities.
- Start an adult singles group in your church or community.
- Organize a book club.
- Spend one day a month helping a member of the group: clean the yard, paint the house, have a garage sale.
- Plan birthday celebrations once a month.
- Enjoy a grand event that you might not wish to experience alone: a cross-country trip or a Caribbean cruise.
Enjoy Wholesome Companionship
One of the greatest blessings in companionship without commitment is that it is not required to be constant. Friends can request time off whenever they please. All should be courteous enough to communicate what they feel, and be considerate enough to respect the wishes of others. These relationships are not substitutes for marriage; but they offer meaningful support for those who are not married. Enjoy wholesome companionship!
© 2014 Dora Weithers