Chemistry Fundamentals

Having not slept well and been driven to distraction all morning because of it, I have been doing the mindless work of re-creating a presentation, then I decided to take the afternoon off. This gave me the opportunity to think about connections between people. How and why do we instantly connect with some people? I mean the kind of connection that leads to going beyond the superficial everyday stuff and really getting to know each other. What’s more interesting to me is why it is that some people make friendship seem so much more effortless than others. Why do we seem to have chemistry with some but not others? (I’m talking the kind of chemistry that really matters for the long run, not physical.)

I don’t think I make it effortless. I can be very superficial in my friendships, just like everyone else. I can be what my mother always said was, in reality, just a good acquaintance. I mean really, we use the word “friend” like we use the word “love,” very freely. I think I have established, by now, if you have been following along, that I keep people at a distance. Because I’m not much of a talker, I tend to engage with people who will talk, so I don’t have to. (I particularly like these people at social gatherings and networking events.) I don’t mind meeting new people, and I have a lot of “friends,” a very eclectic group. But people I consider real friends, my inner circle, are very few. Funny thing is that of the extremely small number that I count in this group, with one exception, C, they don’t know each other. She knows all but one, W. The rest don’t know each other.

This group of people, who are currently in my life, who really know me and of whom I really know, number 4. I may be wrong, but I still know 3 of these people, better than they know me. W, who at this point knows more of the depth of who I am, is the one who has known me for the least amount of time. (I’m not comfortable letting any of the others read this blog.)

When I look at these relationships individually, I don’t really see any common themes. One, V,  is a friend from childhood, so time is a big variable – 35 years. We were eight when we became friends. Two friends, well, it might be a stretch, but if you count that one is a former colleague, D, from years ago, and W is a current colleague, there is the initial catalyst of work. There’s a commonality. But where D was slow to become the person of importance she is to me today, I can’t say that about W. There was a kind of chemistry with her, when we actually had a chance to spend time alone. (We had briefly been around each other before, but always in the presence of others. I do think I know why it took being alone for it to happen.) Once it was just the two of us, we just seemed to “click.” It took me by surprise, and maybe freaked me out a little. That has never happened to me before. Not like that. How does that happen? The last person is C. We also clicked, but that’s different. One would hope anyhow.

I understand how over time a friendship can deepen, like with D, but when there is that spark of friendship, what is that like and what is it for you? I guess the question is “why”? Can you pinpoint what it is about that other person, what it is that draws you in? What do you do if you begin to sense resistance? According to what I’ve read, it isn’t always mutual, for one reason or another –  like trust issues. What keeps you there, if you don’t give up? Lord knows, I’m not an easy nut to crack, but I know it wouldn’t be fair for me to have a billion questions floating around in my head that I want to ask, because I want to genuinely get to really know someone, if I wasn’t willing to answer whatever was thrown my way.

No, I’m no longer having issues with this topic with regard to W. I think I’m more fascinated by it than anything, most likely by its rarity and current inexplicability.

Obviously, I don’t like things I can’t understand, so I even Googled this topic hoping the social or hard sciences could give me an explanation. The science reports that it is the effect of my amygdala and posterior cingulate cortex dealing with emotion and assigning value to make my decisions based upon passed experiences. According to the Campbell’s article below, aside from science, destiny or something spiritual may even be at play. Interesting.

It explains why I haven’t experienced this before, but not why I did this time. Maybe that’s Campbell’s destiny. I normally don’t believe in the “everything happens for a reason,” but maybe this one time, I will.


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