My “Prompt” Attention

I saw something today on Facebook that piqued my attention.

If there are toxic people in your life, are you obligated to enlighten them to that and explain why you no longer want to interact with them? Or, is it acceptable to just, well, slip away….quietly, without explanation? Discuss.

The only word that comes to my mind when I think about this question is “expectation.” We are implored as peaceful people to live without them, but we are all fallibly human instead. Expectation management is not easy. There’s no schedule. Emotions aren’t due on the 15th. Our society tells us that when someone else has an expectation of us that we do not want to fulfill, it is truly ok just to walk away and let it go.

Let’s think about that for a second.

Do you have expectations of those same people? How would you feel if someone slipped away without telling you? Would you be able to walk away from them as easily as they’re supposed to walk away from you? Will you be able to handle the gorge between you if and when it’s inevitable you’ll see each other again?

These are flowery words, but come with a velvet hammer.

Get. Your. Shit. Handled.

People are so afraid of conflict. We just are. We hem and haw and put off until it is the very worst situation possible and we react with “I JUST CAN’T HANDLE IT ANYMORE!” Maybe the answer isn’t finding out how to slip away quietly, but how the relationship got so strained in the first place. Relationships don’t generally start out with antagonism. That stuff grows over time, especially if the person is related to you or such a close friend you forgot when they came into your life, anyway.

And eventually, holding someone at arm’s length to get some distance from the situation will turn into someone holding on, because they don’t know.

They. Don’t. Know.

They don’t know you aren’t on their team anymore. They don’t know that you’re over it. With long relationships, would it occur to you that the person was done if you’d always been able to pick up right where you left off in the old days?

Break the habit of slipping away if only to protect yourself, because it will bite you in the ass if you don’t.

For instance, when I was single and living in Portland, I was dating three women at the same time. I say that to look like a badass, when what I really meant is that I went on three first dates.

I didn’t handle date #2 well, and I slipped away without calling. Cut to a huge scene in a bar that would be better left undescribed, but I still had all my hair at the end of the night so it couldn’t have been that bad.

The take home message is that bailing without telling someone creates more trouble than telling the truth ever would. I should know. I’ve seen me do it.

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