I’ve been having these intense conversations with a few close friends. Coincidentally, almost all of these friends are single. And I guess not so coincidentally, many of these conversations revolved around relationships – both romantic and platonic (but relatively close friendships). A common theme has begun to emerge. People play games – knowingly or unknowingly, even with people they are close to.
It is not just a “who calls how many times” and “responds to texts how quickly” kind of a game. And it is beyond the quality of the conversations and responses too – no more a dissatisfaction with a “hmmm” as a reply. It is more manipulative than judgement of self-worth based on these quantity and quality parameters.
They are games, I am not sure, they realise they are playing. It is things like –
– She is giving me attention, now she can be taken for granted. It’s as if some battle has been won and now the territory doesn’t need to be heeded to – by way of time or attention.
– As a converse, I should behave as if I don’t care about him. That’s the only way to get him to talk to me.
– If I share my emotions, I will be “showing my cards”.
– Let me ask this question. Her answer will tell me if she is thinking of me/likes me/is angry with me.
– I am giving away too much control. Let me not do this thing he wants, (even though I want to) so he knows, I am boss.
All the above lines of thought point towards one thing – hiding one’s true feelings from oneself and the other and ending up expressing quite the opposite – nonchalance. Faking nonchalance when you actually care.
In most cases, this isn’t a calculated move. It just materialises in the back of one’s mind in a fraction of a second. Only when questioned, might the person figure their train of thought. Unfortunately, though, once they realise it too, it gets only a shrug. It has become so ingrained in the system. When I ask them, “isn’t that a game though?” They either are stumped or they go, “That’s how it goes, Meeta.”
One close friend pointed out, people don’t “show cards” because it is self-protection and if the other person knows how important they are, it makes them vulnerable to the other. But, how does showing the opposite of what you feel help the relationship?
What is so wrong about letting the other person know you care, that you think of them at random times, that you think of them more often than not? Of course, you don’t go about saying that to one and all. How many people do you feel about that way, anyway?
What struck me was this wasn’t restricted to romantic relationships. Other than those, I saw a daughter-father relationship, a relatively close friendship, and colleagues who are friends also pointing towards, “let me not make myself too available”. Most of these people would count the other in the top 15 important people of their lives, if not better.
As far as I understand, close relationships are meant to fulfill emotional needs. Needs of companionship. Companionship comes from sharing. Not only sharing of other things going on in life, but also what you feel about each other. Of course not in words or a “I love being with you” every second day, but by actions – little by little, one at a time.
It doesn’t surprise me that people play games. It surprises me that age (maturity?) is not a barrier here, neither is gender. It surprises me that people are faking nonchalance in relationships that they deeply care about. **shudder**
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Thank you Ashlu for your input.