Breaking Down Types of Relationships: Intimate and Casual
Earlier we mentioned how having strong connections can support your overall wellbeing; these connections refer to both close (intimate) and casual relationships. Specifically, according to a 2021 research paper on the cognitive effects of social support, having people that you can count on to provide “supportive listening” leads to greater cognitive health and resilience in the long term. On an emotional level, having strong relationships can help people better manage grief such as the death of a loved one, job loss, or the diagnosis of a chronic disease, for instance.
Let’s look at some examples of the casual and intimate relationships you may have in your life:
- Spouse or partner
- The person you’re dating
- Familial relationships such as children, grandchildren, siblings, parents
- Close friendships (whether people you knew pre-diagnosis or someone you met in an acromegaly support group)
Prioritizing these relationships can provide much-needed emotional support when you have a symptom flare-up or experience anxiety due to all the changes in your life since you received your acromegaly diagnosis.
- Acquaintance-type friendships such as neighbors or the barista who remembers your name at your favorite coffee shop
- Work and professional relationships, such as coworkers, boss, or a team you manage
- Social relationships, such as your book club, walking buddy, or friends from volunteering
Although casual interactions may seem insignificant, they remind us that we’re part of a larger community. Plus, they can provide inspiration and connection in a lighter way than intimate relationships.
Having a broad social network can also yield opportunities for more profound personal connections down the line. For example, if you feel comfortable talking about your acromegaly with a coworker, you might discover that they know someone else who has it and can introduce you.
If you want to expand your social network, you can use technology to find and connect with people across the globe who are going through similar experiences. There are acromegaly support groups that regularly meet on Zoom, for instance; you can find them by searching for virtual acromegaly support groups. Many of these types of organizations hold virtual events or conferences you could attend.
Or perhaps you want to find people who have similar interests, whether that’s food, reading, or advocacy. Websites such as Meetup.com have hundreds of groups for every hobby. You can even find people to have virtual happy hours with!
Now that you understand the importance of different relationships in your life, the next post will dive deeper into how your acromegaly diagnosis might affect intimate relationships and how you can approach those challenges. How have your relationships changed since your acromegaly diagnosis? What behaviors have you noticed in others? Download the “Relationships and Acromegaly” exercise template to help you reflect.