The things we do to have harmonious and friendly relationships with others so that we can be happy and get what we want from life is ‘getting along’. It’s how we attempt to meet our emotional needs, which include safety and security, intimacy, connection, and status, making our ability to get along a critical life skill. 

While we’re all socialised to engineer our lives and engage in our relationships to best meet our needs, we all have different ways of achieving the same aims.

One person might meet their need for attention by spending time with a friend with a mutual interest in each other’s lives. Someone else might meet that same need by exchanging steamy images with somebody they started chatting with that evening on a dating site/app. Or they might pick a fight with a loved one—same need, different approaches and, of course, different levels of satisfaction

The level of awareness of our needs ranges from non-existent to high, and our competency in advocating for our needs and our ability to meet them for ourselves can have varying degrees of success.

If we have high awareness of our needs but haven’t learned how to meet these for ourselves, including self-care and how to make choices that are in harmony with our needs, we’re likely to have high expectations of romantic partners. This will then lead to frustration, disappointment and codependency (feeling excessively emotionally reliant on others, not knowing where we end and others begin). We might experience something many fear: being called ‘needy’. We’ll also get along with people for the wrong reasons. Typically, this occurs because we’re trying to ‘get’ or avoid something, which only further fuels codependency. As we run into various issues, it causes us to question our desirability

None of us are handed a manual with step-by-step instructions on how to make our way through life. When we acknowledge this, we can make things easier on ourselves. We recognise that getting on with others is one of life’s handy little vehicles for getting to know ourselves better so that we can grow.  

Getting along is critical to humans because, aside from us all desiring acceptance and fearing rejection, our ability to get on allows us to advance our relationships and opportunities.

If we can get on with someone with whom we share an attraction and a desire for a similar type of relationship over an extended period, we can realise long-term desires and goals that we couldn’t do with someone we’ve only known for a hot minute, or that we can’t get on with, or that we’re unable to do on our own. 

Getting along basically greases the wheels of dating: those things we do in the early stages of romantic involvement to get to know a prospective partner, determine our level of interest and discern the potential for whatever level of relationship we’re looking for.

However, compatibility greases the wheels of relationships, romantic and otherwise. So, it’s not enough to ‘get along’. We can do that with many people. We need to go deeper, meaning we must be ourselves and see others. If we do, and it’s harmonious, we know we share core values where it counts and have gone beyond superficiality. We’ll meet our emotional needs.

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