Shallow relationships offer only shallow value. Most commonly, people seek out shallow relationships for a baseline level of comfort. This means that they have such little self-mastery that the predictability of idle chatter and distraction is preferable to the clashing voices in their own psyche. Watching movies, getting buzzed, or ogling at sports with so-and-so is actually better than having to sit too long in one’s own head.
We have to understand that this is a statement of fact: it is actually better but only in the short run.
To come out of a shallow relationship, we have to understand what it is that we get from that person and then internalize it for ourselves. This introduces difficulty into the relationship because the relationship has been based in low level stuff. The relationship becomes challenged to go to a deeper place. People tend to feel discarded and abandoned when they bump up against the realization that all they have served to another person has been to be some kind of comfort blanket. It is easier to feel betrayed by the deepening person and remain small than it is to self-examine and start to point out to oneself who formed and limited one into being a shallow person.
Shallow fun, in contrast with shallow relationships, is most certainly a part of life but it is a long-term reward merited to people who are close to fully expressed or who self-examined in order to become fully expressed. Some people are just born more fully expressed. Some lucky people are born to fully expressed parents and are saved a lot of the legwork.
There is an old saying that dissociation mimics enlightenment. You do a bunch of maturation and overcoming challenges in order to circle back around again to the fun stuff you enjoyed when you were out of your mind. The upside is that all of the degeneracy and self-harm are cut out. The downside is that it can be a lot of work and sometimes you go down dead end paths in your experimentation. That’s where having a mentor can be of lots of use.
Shallow relationships are based in mutual self-deception. “I will patch you up here and you patch me up there,” is the agreement. Such an arrangement allows for all manner of abuses, covert and overt. When we choose to become more real, hardly anybody will follow us because they’re invested in the codependent, the enabler we have long served as. This is a kind of social death that feels like getting kicked out of a tribe into the cold 1000 years ago. But the agony of arriving to middle age without having striven to become real is a far worse agony (many term it a “mid-life crisis”).
We can provide ourselves the social sustenance that shallow relationships do, if we will just talk to ourselves a bit. A bit of prayer and a bit of self-examination can go a long way.