The people factor

I’m this season of getting to know myself, here’s another thing that I’ve learned: I don’t feel particularly attached to people just because we were in the same proximity for some period of time in our lives. I used to feel like it was a little part of me that was broken, like I couldn’t become attached to other human beings. In truth, it just isn’t my nature and I’ve come to accept that there isn’t anything wrong with it. It’s just how I’m built.

Three things got me thinking about this lately.

  1. For the second day in a row, I’m going to reference the podcast Spiritualish and something host Laura MacKowen said in an episode. In episode 58: Friends, when they talked about – you guessed it – friends. As we both identify as enneagram type sevens, I often get what she’s saying about personality related tendencies. In this episode, she said that at times in her life, she’d been accused of dropping people when she was done with them. She said that she didn’t really register that she ever felt done with people, but she did find it easy to move on from people without feeling an emotional loss. I totally related to that.
  2. I did this thing where I synced my contacts through iCloud so contacts from the past eighteen years that I’ve been an Apple user appeared in my contacts on my phone. Don’t ever do this. Unless you are meticulous about your record keeping. As you can imagine, I am not. So I came home this evening and had to go through them one by one and delete them. I must have deleted at least two hundred people from my contacts – family’s members, former friends, people from other lives and some that are even still in my life – and not one of them prompted even the slightest emotional response.
  3. While out with some friends I watch basketball this afternoon, another friend of our friends showed up. He also happens to be the brother of a guy I dated for a number of years in my late twenties and early thirties. It was a serious relationship to I knew this brother and his wife and their children quite well. It was lovely to see him and to get caught up on each other, but it wasn’t until I got home that I realized that it never even occurred to me to ask after my ex or their mother, despite having been shown photos that included all of them while we sat there. Thinking about it more now, throughout the entire afternoon, I never felt even a hint of nostalgia.

I don’t want to come across as completely uncaring. There are certainly people I hold dear to my heart and whose absence would sadden me greatly. At the same time, I’m convinced of the impermanence of relationships so when one dissolves, I understand that for this time, at least, it isn’t meant to be. Sometimes they resume later, sometimes they are forgotten. Other times, they remain perfectly what they were before they disappeared. I don’t feel like I need to have people front and centre in my life, to talk to or see them all the time, to know that they exist and that our relationship, for whatever it was, was perfectly contained in its contraints. It couldn’t live forever, but it lasted as long as it was viable.

Someone once asked me how I dealt with breaking up relationships because I always seemed to be able to detach without complication. She was being bitchy and passive-aggressive when she asked it because for her, giving up on a relationship is sacrilege. For me, however, it wasn’t an insult. I decided very early on in adulthood that I never wanted to be someone who chased relationships to make them work. Am I willing to make sacrifices to work on a relationship? Sure. But I’m not willing to be sacrificed.

There are lyrics in an old Matthew Good Band song that go like this:

It’s times like this

When you just close your eyes and kiss

‘Cause everything after this

Is just bullshit and being cruel

The whole song speaks to many of my beliefs about relationships, but that has stuck with me for nearly twenty years. For me, it’s important to enjoy the sacred time in a relationship when things are still beautiful and beneficial. Past that point, sometimes things mature and sometimes they need to be let go.

Stay fearless. 😘

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