This is the technical blog of Keyvan Nayyeri, a 29 years old software engineer at Match.Com, speaker and author. You will find content about computer science, programming, and technology on here.
I know it’s been over three months since the last time I wrote something here but I honestly don’t feel bad about it at all. Almost 8 years ago when I started blogging, I felt like I should write at least 20 posts a month and actually, I kept it up for years resulting in over 1100 articles and tutorials that served many people for good, but internet has changed, so did I, and my priorities have changed, too. I was busy in the past few months with reuniting with my mother after a few years when she was visiting me here in the states, and then picking up on music and piano again. Anyways, this evening I have some time to write and I thought I better write about one of my favorite topics: people.
I’d love to read and learn and as a part of this general strategy, I often listen to audio-books in my car when I commute to work. One of these recent books was The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. This book was a great resource for learning some general habits that can change your personal and professional life towards success. This book had an introductory section that talked about the main aspects of effectiveness that we try to achieve by developing 7 main habits and one of these main aspects of effectiveness is maturity. I found this discussion too simple and intuitive yet too critical that I’ve been thinking about it while observing everyone around myself recently.
In essence, we grow up to mature in three levels:
I’m pretty sure you have a good understanding of each one even before I explain them later on because they’re very intuitive!
These levels come in order but for different people there are different timings in life. Some people end up missing one or two of these levels in their lifetime but depending on the social and environmental settings as well as personal developments and education, these levels can happen to us at different ages. The only shared part of these levels is dependence that starts with our lives.
We happen to come to this world with very obvious and basic dependency on our parents to feed us, protect us, and raise us to the point that we can walk, talk, eat, and of course, use the restroom! Yet, we continue to be dependent on our parents for many other lesser obvious things like our education, decision-making, and world-discovery until we become older.
As we grow older, the form of dependence changes in us to a great extent and goes beyond our parents towards our siblings and friends. Although we try to remove our dependencies to parents, we just switch our dependency to our friends.
Most people go through the fake independence declaration around 17-19 years of age and try to keep their distance from their parents but in fact they are still very dependent people, maybe not on their parents, but instead on their friends. If you observe people (as I do as one of my main hobbies), you notice that people in their early and mid-twenties tend to socialize more in much bigger groups more often than people in later ages. This is because they have this dependency on each other. They cannot manage to live alone for a long time without finding close friends to go out with them often.
Another aspect of dependence is how we cling to others to help us with our education, career, relationships, and others.
Furthermore, another bigger aspect of dependence is how we try to find relationships with opposite gender in this stage and cannot live without somebody who takes care of us. You can easily notice this in younger women. The majority of younger girls have a hard time staying out of relationships so they go in and out of relationships very quickly even when they know they’re not good matches with whoever they’re dating.
Some people are too dependent that they get married at a very young age and this has been one of the main sources of divorce among the couples I observed. Of course, this doesn’t imply that any marriage at a young age is due to such a dependency and any divorce coming out of such marriages is due to the dependency phase.
Dependency changes its shape at different points but many people stay in this stage until a very later age. I’ve known people in their late thirties or early forties who were still dependent people.
The next step is independence when we start to brag about being independent and not needing anybody else to survive. We have jobs, make our own money, manage our finances, buy ourselves gifts, and start to think we’re a big deal only because we have a degree, a job, and a little stability in life.
Independence comes at different ages but when it happens, it starts to change our lives and turn them upside down. We happen to have a smaller social circle and have a harder job finding relationships. We tend to see everything in the mirror of “I” and assume that it is the so-called others who are responsible for adjusting everything to match our standpoint. Our reasoning is linear and simple: I manage to live on my own and don’t need others, so why should I bother?
Independence is the saltiest part of the maturity process, the source of modern world social issues, late-age marriages, high number of divorces, and the fact that many people stay single for a big part of their lives.
Unfortunately, independence is a stage that many people can stay in until very late ages or even for their lifetime.
I personally believe it’s best for everyone to pass this stage as quick as possible, and this doesn’t happen until we realize a simple point that no matter how successful we are with education and career, we’re not still such a big deal because most people have these things to some extent. We’re not very unique to not have any alternatives, and if we don’t have an alternative, we can be replaced, and if we can be replaced, nobody can put up with us forever!
The most poisonous part of independence is how we avoid compromise, and the lack of compromise is a big social, professional, and romantic failure for individuals in our world.
Interdependence is the most important stage for everyone where we start to be effective and successful, and the earlier we get to this stage, the better it will be for us (I mean really getting there not the dilemma of being there and fooling ourselves that we are there). I got there two years ago and it has helped me know what I want in life and what I have to do to get to those things.
Interdependence is essentially the combination of dependence and interdependence. We need to grow to understand that we should be independent from our parents, friends, and relatives to live and survive on our own if needed, yet we still need to be dependent on every single person around us for different purposes to live with them in a cooperative and constructive way.
Interdependence is too obvious yet too hard to achieve for most people that I don’t think I need to elaborate it, but I’d have to point out that with interdependence we can be the most successful and effective people in our careers and relationships. With interdependence, we learn to compromise for our loved ones and maintaining our relationships, and with interdependence, we learn to compromise at our work to resolve issues and get the work done.
Unfortunately, the lifestyle in modern ages has taken us away from getting to interdependence at the age when we need that. We are mostly stuck in independence that we suffer many problems and we even don’t notice that.
With interdependence we always try to think win-win in all our decisions and behaviors, but with independence we try to think win-loss and once we do that, we just fail.
Based on my observations of people’s lives in the US, I realized that the majority of men live in dependence mode until early twenties, and then go through the independence phase until early to middle thirties. That’s where they happen to start developing interdependence skills. Women in the US, on the other hand, tend to stay in the dependence stage until middle or even late twenties and start their independence stage at that point. Women tend to start their interdependence pretty much at the same age as men do although they start their independence later.
As I mentioned above, dependence is the source of many relationships we start with opposite gender at earlier years like early and mid-twenties. We simply can’t live without somebody to take care of us (taking care is more mentally in this context), and this is a more severe case for younger women who periodically go in and out of relationships.
The danger comes when we marry in this phase because our dependence pushes us so hard. After some years as the couple grow older and enter the independence phase, they start to go too far away from each other and push their spouse out and that’s why we see many of these young couples at the divorce courts in late twenties or early thirties.
If we manage to stay single until we enter the independence phase, we happen to develop very high and almost impossible standards and have a hard time entering a long-term relationship and the only way we can get there is to find somebody who’s a giver (who is in the interdependence phase in our terminology here) to help us manage things. Even if we manage to do this, we still have a high chance blowing things up for very stupid reasons.
This independence phase is where almost all men tend to avoid committing in a relationship and women tend to have a hard time accepting anybody. I’ve heard this from many of my single female friends in their late twenties and early thirties that they wish they could find a decent man. The problem is not the lack of decent men, it’s the view they have about things. Because they view themselves as an independent and successful woman, they believe they deserve to get the best guy and they define best by factors that they will regret later.
Interdependence is the golden phase of our lives when it comes to relationships. We would be much more successful in starting a healthy relationship and maintaining it in long term with interdependence. All the successful people in their personal and professional lives that I observed are those who could get to this phase faster.
Now two people may get to interdependence at the age of 20, get married, and live happily ever after, yet some individuals may not get there until late forties!
I think these three stages of dependence, independence, and interdependence are very similar to any reader who has passed the 30 point in life. I personally prefer for everyone to pass the independence stage as fast as possible because that’s where most people in our world are stuck in and have been hurting themselves.