Relationship Fitness

S21 E5: The Role Our Friends and Colleagues Have on Men’s Identities

In this episode of Relationship Workout for Men, host Vince Vasquez interviews clinical social worker and psychotherapist Roni Maislish about the significant impact that friends and colleagues have on men’s identities and relationships. They delve into the concepts of twinships and the importance of surrounding oneself with positive influences for personal and emotional growth.

**Vince Vasquez speaking:**

Welcome to Relationship Workout, a podcast dedicated to helping men be intentional in choosing a better partner and being a better partner for the person they choose. Season 21: Men Navigating Strength, Vulnerability, and Addictions. Episode five: The Role Our Friends and Colleagues Have on Men’s Identities. Today I’m speaking with Roni Maislish, a clinical social worker and psychotherapist who has been working for 20 years on the psychological roots of emotional eating, food addiction, and obesity. So, Roni, welcome. And what do you think about this topic where we’ll discuss connections with friends and colleagues and how these can impact men in our relationships? What do you think about this?

 

**Roni Maislish speaking:**

Yeah. You know, by preparing for this topic, I remember once that my patient, one of my patients, told me that we are like kind of the average of the five most close people to us. So, you know, I’m sure he heard that from somewhere, you know, I don’t know, but I like that so much. So think about the five people who are most close to you, maybe your wife, two of your friends, two of your colleagues, and you’re like the average. So, he told me that like four or five years ago, and it’s like walking with me, you know, this line, and I really like that because it just emphasizes how much it’s important, you know, our connections, our relationships with those five people, you know, it doesn’t matter. So you need to be very, very, very, you know, in life sometimes and really choose the people surrounding you, what kind of energy they have, what kind of influence they have on their, you know, people, on their community, what kind of values those people have. And I think when those values connect somehow to the truth, authenticity, art, creativity, then you can start working with those people. Then you can really, you know, make them, you know, your partner in this journey of life, of being, you know, doing transformation, all sorts of transformation, and they become, you know, partners in your healing journey.

 

**Vince Vasquez speaking:**

Does this tie into what you talked about earlier about we have to have purpose, that these five people who are close to us should somehow be related to that purpose we have?

 

**Roni Maislish speaking:**

It’s interesting, yeah, it’s very interesting because it takes me back to the self-psychology of Kohut. And so, like there is, from Kohut’s point of view, there are like three areas in ourselves: the empathy or the empathy that helps you to become more, you know, energetic in a way. And you have the transpersonal idea, like that you need to be part of something that is bigger than you. But the third part is the twinship. So Kohut believed, maybe only in his last year of, you know, his work and life, that you need to find your twinships. You need to find some people that are alike you, they are your twins, or maybe you have a purpose together, maybe you have a mission together, maybe you’re just very like them but you’re doing other stuff in life. I don’t know. But yeah, I think, you know, I’m speaking now about twinship. So what is twinship? You know, and, you know, he believed, Kohut, and I agree with Kohut, that if you’re finding and staying and operating and doing creative work with your twinship, it helps you to work on your area in yourself, connecting to talents and abilities. And I think for men, it’s crucial to work on their talents and abilities.

 

**Vince Vasquez speaking:**

So is your partner part of that twinship, or is your partner, your romantic partner, outside of this twinship?

 

**Roni Maislish speaking:**

Ok. It’s interesting. You know, I don’t know. It reminds me, you know, a TV series named Sense8, like 6-7-8 years ago. You saw this? You saw this? Sense8 is those two brothers that became two sisters that did also the Matrix. They have this Polish long name. You saw the Matrix? I saw the Matrix. The same people that did The Matrix. I liked this, the first only the first season. So all of them are, there’s another word we didn’t use today, cluster. So who is your cluster? You know? So they were empathic to each other. So they’re, in a way, they didn’t use that word in this series, but they were twinships. They were in this cluster, they were doing this twinship work to each other. So I think if you find, you know, your partner is also your twinship. So this is something, wow, very special. Yeah. And again, there is, you know, there’s, I don’t know, but you need to be careful, you know, not to lose yourself in this person. Maybe in the next two episodes, we will speak about codependence and, you know, being addicted to a person. So you need to be in a way strong enough that you can dive into this twin partnership, and you can be yourself, and you can be in this kind of emotional state that you can dissolve into another person.

 

**Vince Vasquez speaking:**

So it goes beyond compatibility, right? I mean, compatibility is you talk about twinship, you’re well beyond we want the same things in life. Compatibility. You’re talking about a deeper. Can you say what twinship looks like with your partner?

 

**Roni Maislish speaking:**

Like, you can, you know, think about, you know, these twins, you know, identical twins, you know, they are like, in a way, in a way, they are one. So I’m talking here about this feeling of oneness. So you can practice this oneness in art with your, you know, with your painting. You can feel oneness with your painting or your singing or you’re playing the guitar. You can feel this, you know, with the song. You can feel this twin, but you know, feeling twin with a person, you know, this is something very, you know, could be very powerful, right? And I think there are a lot of, I think a lot of, you know, bands and artists that do work together, feeling those feelings of these twinships. There’s something there that for a particular moment or more, they are feeling this oneness, and that, you know, elaborates their work in a way.

 

**Vince Vasquez speaking:**

So I have a friend who I called the expression as a brother from a different mother. And actually, this whole top relationship of the podcast all began 23 years ago with him and I talking about these types of things. There is that twinship — I didn’t use those terms. But you know when you have that companionship, and then over the years, you just have so much depth in your connection with that person. And yeah, I so find five of your twinship folks.

 

**Roni Maislish speaking:**

Yeah, like let’s start that part of those five will be your twinship. Let’s say one or two from those five will become, in a way, or you chose them because there is a chance for, you know, for this kind of twinship energy. And maybe you can feel it from the beginning, right from the beginning. And maybe you need to work on that. It’s very hidden and subtle, but you will, you know, you will find it. There is something there, you know, you just feel it. You don’t, you are not, “Ah, I’m in love.” You know, well in love we are feeling some kind of oneness, you know, but you like, maybe there’s some kind of stages before, like you’re building this kind of twin. And I think for this particular time in history, working on ourselves is not enough. We need our twinships. We need to grow up together. It’s not enough in this particular time in history that we will grow up emotionally and spiritually by ourselves. Every person in his or her cave is not enough. We need to do it together in our cluster, in our community, in our five people twinship.

 

**Vince Vasquez speaking:**

So you’re saying that we need to make that a priority as well to kind of foster, grow, and nurture our twinships.

 

**Roni Maislish speaking:**

Exactly. And again, we need time for that. So if you don’t have, if you are workaholics, you know, if you know. Yeah. No, we need to just stop for a moment, and sometimes, you know, life helps us to stop, right? So it helps us to stop. And then we have a decision. We have a choice whether we are listening to what happened in life or we don’t, like we can, like a train crash on us, and we can still not hear, you know, the yearning of our inner child to grow. We can miss it. Sometimes we can, you know, it will be, you know, like a very huge accident that we will become woken, and sometimes we will need another person that will help us to say, “Mm, something really dramatic happened to you, maybe just stop for a moment, you know, and see what is happening now.”

 

**Vince Vasquez speaking:**

It could be as simple as just a creative idea that pops in your head. And if you’re not open, if you’re distracted, then oops, the idea goes away and you just totally lost that opportunity from the idea.

 

**Roni Maislish speaking:**

Because of that, many of the artists have their studio. So it’s like a meditation room for them. So they’re going to the studio, lock themselves in the studio, and they’re like, they’re closing their phone and everything, disconnect actually. So it’s a paradox. They are disconnecting to become connected.


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