“Not-there”

How do you explain something that is not? A non…quality, characteristic or state? A thing that should be there and you expect to be there that startles and confuses by it’s absolute absence?

I have grappled with this phenomena for some time now. Trying to discern error, find my mistakes and understand my utter misconceptions.

Through the internet we can find the best of worlds and the worst of worlds. We may encounter the truest of friends and the craftiest of tricksters. Though as a rule I think largely we encounter fair weather friends. Nothing wrong or unusual about that because in normal non-virtual life we encounter such people constantly. That aside, there were a few people of whom I was absolutely certain were the stuff of profound friendship. And it was these people after literally hundreds of hours of phone talk, thousands of emails and regular exchanges of gifts and cards, I ventured to meet in the real world.

Not much of a risk really because it seemed we all knew each other so very well that in fact we were all dear old friends. I truly believed that and approached the meeting with great enthusiasm. However, within moments of meeting the first ‘old friend’ something told me I was terribly mistaken. The not-there was so not there that I felt disoriented and incredulous at once. Which was immediately followed by copious amounts of denial. I had to be imagining the lack of warmth, the indifference and lightly veiled antagonism. It was travel day after all and we were tired and not ourselves, right?

And so planes were boarded and eventually landed. And baggage problems greeted us at the airport which served as a useful distraction for a time… And then onto the next friend – the one whom I’d known the longest and the best and once again the not-there appeared and that void left me scratching my head in wonder. And then the next and …. And after everyone settled in, got rest, food and sunshine the not-there did not relent.

What made it worse for me was that I could see there were connections between the others – making me wonder what awful thing I’d done to be excluded. To inspire such indifference about my presence on a trip I was encouraged greatly to take.

The week was one of the longest of my life and though I was crammed into a house full of people it seemed I was utterly alone. And I didn’t think of much else than being home among friends. I couldn’t sleep, nor eat – hell I couldn’t even make a phone call because my cell fell into a water trap at the mini golf course – effectively cutting me off from everyone.

And when the big good bye finally came it was little more than a lift to the bus station with a wave and a ‘see ya.’

For weeks afterward I told myself I imagined it or must have misunderstood. Things would soon return to normal – but no, they never did. The void simply kept growing. And eventually I had to accept that the friendship, warmth and love I’d felt simply wasn’t mutual. And that was just the truth it pure and simple. As the saying goes they just ‘weren’t that into me.’ And the reasons and explanations that might have been offered were irrelevant because it wouldn’t change the truth.

For a long time I was hurt, angry and confused and part of me wanted some sort of vindication or validation. But eventually I realized there was no point in that kind of thinking either. You cannot make another person care about you – it cannot be done (and even if it could, what value is there in that?).

So…I let go and walked away. Not an easy thing to do when you feel so invested but under the circumstances certainly the right thing to do. For all of us. I wish them all well and bear them no malice. Perhaps just a tinge of lingering sadness over it all but this is life and life is full of interesting lessons.

And make no mistake, I don’t write this any kind of cautionary tale. I have made many wonderful online friends whom I hope to meet someday too and will approach those meetings in the same way. And even if I never do, my life is better for the presence of these people.

I think I just write this to so I can put it all to rest and finally move on.

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5 thoughts on ““Not-there”

  1. Now imagine you’d married one of those people! Yeah, I actually did that.

    It’s not only the “not-there,” but all the unexpected “there.” I think our imaginations assume and fill in all kinds of information that was never actually related. We assume we can read and understand and “know” people from what they say, what they write, what they look like in pictures. Consciously or unconsciously, we infer qualities that aren’t really there.

    I’m not explaining it very well, but yes, I’ve been there, and it’s stunning how wrong we can be. It’s one of the reasons I have a rule now never to mix my online life with my real life.

    Oh my lord…that would be hard to imagine and yet…I can.

    Yeah, we definitely do a sort of mental or emotional fill in sometimes, don’t we? I totally get that you’ve been there.

    Too bad about your policy though cuz I guess that means we’ll never meet. 😦

    Annie

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  2. Hello my dear friend Annieo.

    I’ve had a not to dissimilar experience of connecting to people here on my computer. I flew out to Texas to meet a man and became a sick mans wifey for a week. As soon as we met I knew there was no connection on my part but out of common courtesy I played the role as best I could and tried to make the week as less stressful as I could I had to work hard. I managed to succeed,Bo died two years ago and before he did he told me he can die feeling loved and lovable.I’m so pleased I made the trip allbeit very confusing for me. I then had strong feelings of connection around my friend a woman and was prepared to make the trip to America again but that never happened. I was so sorry about that.

    I remember when you and your friends were making the trip to meet each other. I was so excited for you all and a tad envious. ( I wonder where it went all wrong ) and I also wondered how your friends on the trip coped with the connection issues. I know you was very hurt sweet heart. I walked with you just know that won’t you.

    I CAN’T WAIT TO MEET YOU. Either you here in England or me there in America.
    Loving you Annieo
    Di xx

    Hello wonderful Di
    Yes, you have had similar experiences haven’t you, darling? Although I think you were probably much better at handling them than I.

    Yes, I know you ‘walked with me’ I know that very well indeed. 🙂

    I can’t wait to meet you too. I wonder where it shall be. Perhaps Ireland, eh?

    Love
    Annie

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  3. Hi Annieo,

    WoW ! I can’t believe that you would say that I probably handled my situation better than yours. I felt I handled my Texas trip pretty good but the connection with my friend, well, I don’t feel I handled that too well and hey it wasn’t for the lack of trying. I don’t think I handled myself and my own feelings around it too well.

    I hope everybody that we have connected to are ok, I really do. I enjoyed watching you and your friends interact here in blog world. You were all very welcoming to me and I thank you for that.

    I wonder what happened. I know what happened with me and my connections and I did talk it through ( a lot ) so I don’t feel like I have to explain myself anymore, I’ve done all that.

    I can’t wait to meet you too. Ireland sounds wonderful and a place I’ve only been to for a day. I’ve never been either – should we go for it Annieo.

    Oh ! Myslef and a few Lovely Like Minded Ladies are going to Goa in India for two weeks. Renting a beach house, wanna be a Lovely Like Minded Lady Annieo and come to Goa.

    Love ya
    Di xx

    Well, honestly, I don’t wonder anymore- seems little point in using up the time and energy on it, you know?

    India sounds exotic and exciting but I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it. Thanks for asking though. 😉
    Love
    Annie

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  4. Lets just wonder about us then darling….. Thats more exciting isn’t. I can hold both my hands up to be a bit of a Wondering Walter. I spend a great deal of my time in wonder and wonderment. I enjoy wondering about you and I think online friendships where theres a strong connection there’s a great deal of wonder. There is for me.

    Laughing – maybe I do wonder too much.
    Love Di xx

    Hiya again Annieo. xx

    Yes wonderful Di, let’s just wonder about us. 🙂 I suppose you do wonder too much but then so do I. 😆
    Love
    Annie

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