The common good depends on the quality of relationships. As soon as you connect outside yourself you are in a relationship. These connections are a network of interactions that impact the common good. Besides your personal relationships, you are subject to the dynamics of others that impact your life. In this global environment, these relationships extend to many domains. Family, friends, coworkers, shopping, government, social organizations, and faith communities all involve relationships. These are extended relationships where we live, work, and play. Interactions among these relationships depend on the collective behavior these interactions.

Behavior is the predominant factor in relationships. You cannot control how others behave towards you. You can only control how you handle their behavior. Remember an individual’s behavior is a complex set of mental messages. Anxiety, mood, health, fear, and agendas influence the sender’s thoughts. The sender thinks that the receiver understands their message. Both sender and receiver incorporate body language, environment, urgency, and other factors that can confuse the message.

The message distance adds complexity, especially when the words used in the message are incomplete. This is especially significant in relationships between the governing and the governed. The common good depends on the integrity of these relationships. The environment is beset with noises that distort messages – communications. Too frequently this is intentional, in most cases it is the lack of understanding how messages impact relationships.