Why getting TOO attached to people can backfire

Some of us have a tendency to become very attached to people in our lives, whether friends or coworkers. Maybe we grew up with them, have worked them for 20 years, and/or have shared a bevy of great experiences with these people. Sometimes we can't help but hold people in high regard, going so far as to consider them more like family than our actual relatives.

However, as noted in many of my posts -- including some within the last week or two -- we often have a hard time accepting changes (whether abrupt or gradual) in their behavior, which ultimately change the dynamics of our relationship with them.

Here are a few examples of ways people can change:

1. They get in a relationship, tie the knot, and/or have kids, leaving them with little or no time for you. 

I have a friend who fell off the map last year while he was in a relationship with his ex. Once the relationship ended, he reverted back to his old ways, wanting to hang out with my wife and I almost every weekend. Needless to say, his behavior nearly destroyed our friendship. He's well aware that if he were to pull that stunt again, it would spell the end of our friendship for good.

2. One of you moves or switches jobs.

A lack of physical proximity can sometimes mean "out of sight, out of mind." In this scenario, the person might stay in touch via text or Facebook, but they'll suddenly draw closer to other coworkers or neighbors whom they get to see more often.

3. Their interests change.

Maybe your friend, now a mom, would prefer hanging out with fellow moms to shooting the breeze with you at the local bar like in the old days. Perhaps her interest in puppy dogs, saving the environment, reading fiction novels, or whatever interest brought you together has petered out.

Before you let yourself become close to someone, remember one thing: Your friend -- and, by extension, your relationship with that individual -- can change at any time.

People aren't robots. We can't expect them to always act and think as we'd like. We shouldn't expect them to remain the same fun, loving person they were when we first met them. Though there may be cases where this does happen, they're few and far between. Experiences, events, and changing life circumstances -- from parenthood to family deaths to job relocation -- can change our perspective on who and what we consider important in our lives.

Put simply, people are unpredictable. The best thing we can do is not put all our eggs in one basket. Cultivate as many relationships with people as you can without getting overly attached to any one person. At least you know that if one individual starts to flake out on you, you can always move on to someone else until he or she comes around again.

And if having a large circle of friends and acquaintances isn't your cup of tea, don't despair. There are many things you can do to occupy your time that don't have to involve people -- from reading to traveling.

There's no telling how long a relationship will last, whether it's of the platonic or romantic variety. And there's no guarantee the other person over time will remain as interested in keeping the relationship going as you are. That's why we should strive to make the most of it while we can.

While it may be tempting to wear your heart on your sleeve with everyone you meet, that may prove costly in the long run.


Miss A. said...

Good & wise advice..

Miss A. said...

Good & wise advice..