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Friday, 17 January 2020

Why is it so hard to reconnect to someone?

My original title was "How to reconnect to someone". I struggled with this "How" perspective and left it on my list of writing ideas. This week, a friend wanted to know more about this How as she is also struggling with it. My answer to her was: you should give something valuable to that someone. That giving part is, however, an obstacle for us. This blog is about the reasons Why.

Giving something valuable to someone creates a choice for the Receiver: acceptance, bargaining (ie, asking for more), or - worse - rejection. Latter invokes humiliation for Sender. Humiliation is an emotion that many people fear or are eager to avoid. That likelihood of humiliation, after reaching out to someone, is a reason for not reconnecting.

Several years ago, I asked my daughter about her wishes for a birthday present, in order to reconnect with her. She chose something expensive. At my birthday, 8 days later, I didn't even hear from her. The "conversation" that followed didn't go well. Ever since that event, I have realised that reconnection is a two way street and requires lots of time and patience.

Besides the fear of rejection and/or humiliation, we also fear that Receiver will ask Sender for more and will start bargaining. Before reaching out to reconnect, you must first consider that Receiver may want more than you are willing to give. An old Dutch saying already argues: when you give him one finger, he will take your entire hand.

The likelihood of acceptance should be some 33% but often it feels much more like remote to us. Moreover, acceptance does not automatically cause reconnection - far from it. Bargaining might be even more likely to do that because now Sender suddenly has the power to decide whether to give Receiver more - or not.

Ultimately, we see reconnection between people (eg, family, friends, lovers) as a zero-sum game of Power: Sender loses power and Receiver gains power. Often, our fear over losing power is stronger than our hope for reconnecting with someone.

So, why do we then still long to reconnect to someone? The answer might be in the 1979 hit song (see below) that "spent four weeks at number one on both the R&B singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1979 and sold over 2 million copies. Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for 1979." (Wiki).

Two memorable quotes by Fran├žois de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), a French author:
  1. Hope and fear are inseparable. There is no hope without fear, nor any fear without hope.
  2. We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears. 

Reunited (1979) by Peaches & Herb

Reunited 
And it feels so good 
Reunited 
Cause we understood


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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