28 January 2021 | 00H11
I’ve noticed that it’s easy to love someone from afar when you don’t know much about them. Once you get to know them and have that individual in your space more frequently, things gradually change. You start to notice that perhaps you don’t like them as much as you thought you did or you pick up some flaws you wished you never knew. As a result, there are people we prefer keeping at arm’s length to avoid the risk of getting to know them personally as having a person in your space exposes both you and them. Just as you get to know them, on the other hand, they get to know you too and they could be having the same thoughts you’re having of them.
I have an aunt who’s always lived the farthest from the rest of the family. Having her visit over the Christmas holidays was an occasion and almost a dream come true. When I got the opportunity to study away from home, I lived with her and my sisters were green with envy. As time went by, she became unpleasant towards me and to this day, the thought of her brings a bitter taste to my mouth. Gone are the innocent surreal ideas I had of her because I got into her personal space and learned that she didn’t smile as often as I thought. It’s easy to pull up a big smile in public but no one can smile for too long – your face will get numb. It can be for such reasons that we choose to keep certain people at a distance; we prefer loving them from far and giving them our best Colgate smile for 5 minutes to uphold the vague friendship shared.
Just when you realise that you’re fond of a particular someone, you’re awarded the opportunity of exchanging numbers. This can be exciting at first but inundating at a second glance because now you have to intentionally forge a relationship – something you never did at first, as all engagements were natural. After you get their number, you invite them on social media and when you see them online you have to initiate a conversation – if they haven’t started one first. At times, such encounters can turn out to be lifelong friendships but others end before taking off. You see them online, greet them, and after they respond, you struggle to get a decent conversation going. Before you know it, you get blue ticked, or even worse, you see them online posting statuses yet they haven’t read the text you sent one week ago.
Personal space is sacred and should be respected. When someone doesn’t welcome you in, perhaps you should take the hint. Similarly, I’ve noticed the sacredness of one’s name. Some people have two names: In some cases, one name is for the public and the other strictly for close family. I once introduced a friend by her second name to someone she didn’t know and right then she boldly said “please do not call me by that name, it’s strictly for family” – Ouch! I wasn’t offended, I’d never called her by her second name either but at that moment, I wanted to see how she’d respond and I got the message loud and clear. In a case where an individual has one name, they have no choice but to have everyone refer to them by that name, so in such cases, they could have an alias, nickname, or shorter version of their name used by close friends and family. If the name is Samantha, those close could say Sammy or Sam while the rest of the public calls the full name. Also, for a popular like Samantha, many people could be aware that the short name is Sam but out of respect, they would stick to the full name. I remember when I started a new job at a media company, everyone had nicknames in the office but I felt I didn’t earn the right to call any of my colleagues by their nicknames until I felt I knew them enough to use them nicknames. A name is sacred, it carries your identity among other personal information so before you call someone by an exclusive name, you should ask for permission if you don’t know them well enough. I prefer people who don’t know me to call me by my full name – it’s an invisible line I draw to set a boundary that suggests to the other party to keep it professional at all times.
When it comes to getting to know people, if you don’t get the same energy reciprocated, take the suggestive hint and respect their space. They might enjoy knowing you from a distance and that might be in your best interest in the long run – no hard feelings. If there are hard feelings, set your boundaries too, and don’t immediately allow others in your space. Each one gets an opportunity to be a bull in a kraal.
Buckets and buckets of Love, Phindy xxx