Have you ever been in a surface level relationship? You know, the kind where both parties are only interested in what the other can do for them and nothing more. Well, if you have, you know it’s not a very fulfilling way to be around someone. It can be frustrating. You constantly feel like you’re not being heard or seen for who you are. And unfortunately, these types of relationships are all too common nowadays.
What is Surface Level Relationship
A surface level relationship is one in which two people are attracted to each other based on physical appearance and superficial qualities such as wealth or status. While there is nothing wrong with being attracted to someone’s looks, a surface level relationship is usually not very deep or meaningful.
This is because there is often little substance to the relationship beyond the physical level. If a couple only has a surface level connection, they may find little in common and eventually grow apart. In contrast, a deeper relationship is built on trust, respect, and genuine affection. This type of connection is usually much more satisfying and lasting than a surface level relationship.
Signs of Surface Level Relationship
Lack of Communication
Whether we like it or not, communication is essential to every relationship. The backbone allows us to understand each other and build intimacy. When communication breaks down, it is often a sign that the relationship is shallow and superficial. After all, if we cannot communicate our needs and feelings to each other, how can we hope to connect on a deeper level?
This is different from saying that all relationships require constant communication; sometimes, silence can be just as powerful. But when communication breaks down, it often indicates that the relationship is not as strong as it could be.
We’ve all been in a situation where the conversation lulls, and the silence becomes uncomfortable. While it’s natural to want to fill the void, this awkwardness signifies our relationship is surface level. When we’re truly comfortable with someone, we don’t need to fill the space with chatter constantly. Instead, we’re content to be in their company.
This doesn’t mean that every moment of silence is a bad sign – there’s value in enjoying each other’s company without needing to say anything. However, if you consistently need help to converse with someone, it may signify that you’re farther away than you are.
Lack of Trust
One of the most important foundations of any relationship is trust. Trust allows us to feel safe with another person, to be vulnerable, and share our deepest secrets. Without trust, we would constantly be on guard, paranoid that our partner would hurt or betray us. Unsurprisingly, a lack of trust is often seen as a sign that a relationship is superficial and not built on solid foundations.
We’re uncomfortable with our partners when we don’t trust them. We don’t feel confident that they have our best interests at heart, so we keep them at arm’s length. A relationship without trust is like a house built on sand – it might look stable on the surface, but it will ultimately not withstand any storm.
When two people enter a relationship, they commit to each other. This commitment can be seen in how they interact with each other daily. If one person is always trying to avoid conflict or withdrawing from difficult conversations, it may indicate that they are not fully committed to the relationship.
Additionally, if one person consistently fails to follow through on their promises, it may be another sign that they are not invested in the relationship. Ultimately, a lack of commitment can be a major red flag in any relationship. It can indicate that the relationship is only surface-level and that the individuals involved are not genuinely invested in each other.
Constant Arguments & Fighting
It is often said that constant arguing and fighting is a sign of a surface level relationship. While this may be true in some cases, it is important to consider the context of the situation before making such a judgment. For example, if two people constantly disagree about minor issues, it may be a sign that they have different opinions.
However, if two people constantly argue about the same issue, it may indicate a deeper problem. In such cases, it may be necessary to explore the reasons for the disagreement to resolve the issue. If two people cannot do this, their relationship could be stronger.
Being Taken for Granted
Being taken for granted is a sign of a surface level relationship. When we are in a relationship with someone, we expect reciprocity. Our efforts will be appreciated, and our thoughts, opinions, and feelings will be respected. If we find ourselves in a one-sided relationship where our efforts are not appreciated or recognized, it may be time to reassess the relationship.
Continuing to invest in a relationship that is not reciprocal can be emotionally and mentally draining. It is important to remember that we deserve to be in a relationship where we feel valued, respected, and supported. If we find ourselves in a situation where we are constantly giving without receiving anything in return, it may be time to move on.
Difficulty in Resolving Conflicts
Conflicts are an inevitable part of any close relationship. Conflict is bound to arise, whether it is a disagreement about how to spend time together or a more serious issue like finances or family.
However, the ability to resolve conflicts constructively and respectfully is a vital indicator of the health of a relationship. When couples cannot effectively communicate and resolve disagreements, it often indicates that the relationship is superficial and lacks the depth of communication and trust necessary to weather storms.
Therefore, while conflict is not desirable, it can signify a strong and healthy relationship. Those who can work through conflict positively often find their relationship stronger.
Lack of Intimacy
When we think of intimacy, we often think of physical intimacy. However, intimacy goes much deeper than that. It is about emotional closeness and connection. When intimate with someone, we share our innermost thoughts and feelings. We feel safe being ourselves. We trust that the other person will not judge or reject us.
Intimacy is essential to any close relationship with a family member, friend, or romantic partner. Without intimacy, relationships can become shallow and superficial. If you find yourself in a relationship lacking intimacy, it may be time to ask whether it fulfills your needs.
Inability to Compromise on Important Issues
In any relationship, it is crucial to compromise on important issues. Finding common ground is key to maintaining a healthy relationship, whether it is a romantic relationship, a friendship, or a business partnership. If two people are unable to compromise on important issues, it is likely that the relationship is surface level and not built on a strong foundation.
This is because compromise requires trust, respect, and a willingness to see things from the other person’s perspective. These qualities are necessary to have a meaningful conversation about complex topics. Consequently, an inability to compromise is often indicative of a shallower relationship.
In any relationship, it is important to have some level of expectations. This helps to ensure that both parties are aware of what is expected of them and are working towards the same goal.
However, rigidity in expectations is often a sign of a surface-level relationship. If one or both parties are unwilling to compromise on their expectations, it can lead to tension and conflict. In a healthy relationship, both parties should be willing to listen to each other and adjust their expectations when necessary.
By being flexible in their expectations, they can show that they are genuinely invested in the relationship and are willing to work together to make it successful.
Focusing on Mismatches Instead of Similarities
When we are in a relationship, we naturally focus on our differences. Those differences can become magnified over time, leading to frustration and conflict.
However, it is important to remember that relationships are built on similarities and differences. Find yourself focusing exclusively on your partner’s differences. It may be a sign that your relationship is shallow and lacks the depth of understanding that is necessary for a significant connection.
It is important to focus on the similarities between you and your partner to build a strong and lasting relationship. By acknowledging each other’s unique qualities, you can create a bond that transcends petty conflicts and disagreements.
Not Investing Time and Energy into the Relationship
No relationship can thrive without time and energy being invested into it. If you need to make more effort to make your relationship work, it may signify that it is shallow.
For any relationship to grow, both parties must be willing to put in the work. That means investing time and effort into communication, compromise, and understanding. These elements are necessary for the relationship to reach its full potential.
If you think your relationships lack depth, start investing more time and energy into them. Show your partner that you care about their well-being and are willing to work together to strengthen the relationship.
Feeling Trapped in a Cycle of Negativity
Negativity can have a devastating effect on relationships. If you find yourself stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts and behaviors, likely, your relationship is not as deep or meaningful as it could be.
When this happens, it can be helpful to take some time away from the situation and focus on self-care activities such as meditation and journaling. This will clear your mind and allow you to gain perspective on the situation.
Additionally, it is important to focus on positive interactions with your partner. When you feel negative about the relationship, try to engage in meaningful conversations and activities together. This will help remind you why you are in the relationship in the first place and help break the negativity cycle.
Making Decisions Out of Fear and Not Love
If you’re in a relationship where you make decisions out of fear instead of love, it’s a sign that the relationship is only skin deep. Love means being attracted to someone for who they are and not what they can do for you. It’s about wanting what’s best for them, even if it’s not what’s best for you.
On the other hand, fear is about losing what you have or not getting what you want. It’s about selfishness and control. In a relationship based on fear, you’re always trying to get your partner to do what you want instead of letting them be themselves.
This kind of relationship will never be fulfilling or lasting because it’s built on a foundation of insecurity and manipulation. If you want a deep, meaningful relationship with someone, make sure that your decisions come from a place of love, not fear.
Unclear Goals and Objectives
An unclear goal or unclear objectives is often a sign of a surface level relationship. This could be in a personal relationship, where one or both individuals need to be clearer about what they want from the relationship, or it could be in a professional context, where employees need to be clearer about what is expected of them. This lack of clarity can lead to frustration and conflict in both cases.
A personal relationship may mean it is not as meaningful as it could be. It may lead to inefficient work and difficulty achieving objectives in a professional context. Unclear goals and objectives are, therefore, a sign of a surface level relationship that is not as deep or meaningful as it could be.
Ideally, we’d all be completely honest with each other and ourselves. But that’s only sometimes possible or even desirable. It takes a lot of energy to keep constant communication and connection, especially in new relationships. So don’t feel bad if you sometimes slip into the surface level territory—it happens to the best of us. Just remember to come back up for air every once in a while and ensure you’re still on the same page as your partner.