Note I didn’t say “a” relationship. I find those quite easy to avoid. Or maybe they’re avoiding me. Either way I don’t have one. The irony here is that all the ones I’m not looking for seem to be the ones that find me.
I recently moved into a little 3-roomed house in my village. The hope was to escape the constant obligations that come with being in close proximity to other humans. If that makes me a misanthrope, then I may indeed be one, albeit a misanthrope who needs people. I’m that kind of guy who will never invite anyone anywhere or even dial a number, but will sit in his cold, dark room in the fetal position, rocking back and forth, wondering why nobody is hanging out with him.
This has worked perfectly for me in Kyrgyzstan because people are continually asking for me to be around; whether it’s to work on a project, help a student prepare for a contest, eat dinner, slaughter a sheep, drink champagne, search for Yellow Tree or anything else on God’s brown earth.
Since I’m frequented with these types of interactions so often, there were several occasions, mostly early on, where I would meet someone, strike up a conversation and then promptly put them out of my mind forever. Or others I would get to know, criticize highly and then brush off my hands knowing I would never see them again.
The problem was, they kept showing up.
Separated at birth
“Uh, what’s your name again, person I spent an entire weekend with and helped celebrate your birthday and who allowed me to crash at your parents’ house and who lists me as a good friend on Facebook?”
“Oh, haha, yeah, that thing I said, the one meant to be behind your back…I, uh…sorry.”
Talk about a lesson in humility.
When you first make a connection with someone, whether it’s a simple ‘hi,’ or a week together on a mutual trip, you have begun a relationship that will last forever. You don’t know when or where or how you’ll see them again, and maybe you never will, but that doesn’t mean the relationship has ended. So be civil when meeting, honest when getting to know someone, kind towards one another always, and maybe for good measure, try to remember their name. You’re in this for the long haul.