Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Obligation is sometimes the "glue that holds relationships together," but it often carries negative connotations. Pixabay

Does a sense of obligation — from checking on parents to running an errand for an elderly neighbour – benefit or harm a relationship especially at a time where social distancing is in place and people are relying on their immediate social circles more than usual?

According to researchers from Michigan State University, obligation is sometimes the “glue that holds relationships together,” but it often carries negative connotations.”We were looking to find whether obligation is all good or all bad,” said William Chopik, assistant professor of psychology at MSU and co-author of the study.


“We found that people were responding to types of obligations in different ways. People distinguished between requests that were massive obligations and requests that were simple. There’s this point that obligation crosses over and starts to be harmful for relationships,” Chopik mentioned.


A sense of obligation — from checking on parents to running an errand for an elderly neighbour – benefit or harm a relationship especially at a time where social distancing is in place. Pixabay

The findings suggest that there’s a distinct point at which obligation pushes individuals to the brink of feeling burdened, which can start to harm their relationships. “We found that some obligations were linked with greater depressive symptoms and slower increases in support from friends over time,: said Jeewon Oh, MSU doctoral student and co-author of the study.

However, other obligations were linked with both greater support and less strain from family and friends initially. “While engaging in substantive obligation can benefit others and make someone feel helpful, it is still costly to a person’s time, energy and money,” the authors noted. Until now, similar research showed inconsistencies in how obligation impacts relationships.

This ranges from light obligation, like keeping in touch with a friend, to substantive obligation, like lending that friend a considerable amount of money. “In a way, major obligations violate the norms of friendships,” Chopik said. “Interestingly, you don’t see that violation as much in relationships with parents or spouses”. Friendships are viewed as low-investment, fun relationships that make people feel good.


If someone doesn’t have a great relationship with a parent or partner, a quick phone call to check in isn’t enjoyable, it’s an encumbrance. Pixabay

“Our longest lasting friendships continue because we enjoy them. But if obligations pile up, it might compromise how close we feel to our friends,” Chopik noted in a paper appeared in International Journal of Behavioral Development. Because friendships are a relationship of choice, people can distance themselves from friends more easily than other types of relationships when faced with burdensome obligations.

Additionally, substantive obligations may create strain in a friendship as we try to encourage our friends to do the same even when they might not be able to do so, Oh said. “Although we may feel good when we do things for our friends, and our friends are grateful to us, we may start to feel like we are investing too much in that relationship,” Oh added.

Also Read- Parental Diet Crucial for Health of Offspring: Study

Still, some types of relationships can make even minor obligations seem daunting. If someone doesn’t have a great relationship with a parent, a quick phone call to check in isn’t enjoyable, it’s an encumbrance. “Even for things we would expect family members to do, some in the study did them begrudgingly,” Chopik said. (IANS)


Popular

wikimedia commons

Children playing ringa ringa roses in an open backyard in England

Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.

Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.

Keep Reading Show less
wikimedia commons

Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.

In modern times, many social movements aim to bring reform to the society we live in, on the basis of certain existing patterns. Patriarchy is something that many aim to cleanse our cultures of, to usher in the era of social and gender equality. Despite all these so-called movements, in southern India, certain societies that patronise matriarchy have existed since before India's independence. The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country.

Kerala remains separate from the rest of India in many ways. Be it literacy policy, form of government, or cultural practices, this state does not always conform to the ideal that India is known for. Even so with their social structure. Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Medhat Dawoud on Unsplash

It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation.

Apple inc. Is an American multinational tech firm specialized in consumer electronics, computer programs, and internet services founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to manufacture Wozniak's Apple iComputer. It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation. Apple is the fourth-largest PC seller by unit sales and the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.

Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. On the day of the live event, Apple announced the iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Keep reading... Show less