Complicated relationships – does time cure or curse it further?


A colleague of mine shared something rather personal recently and today’s prompt just reminded me about that. My colleague’s college reunion just went by last month and after agonizing awhile he decided not to attend it. He confessed that the thought of meeting some of his old friends and a friend in particular was too much to handle. The relationship was warped so much that ‘complicated’ is just about the word to describe it.

I was not much sympathetic with his cause – for me running away from the situation is not a solution to anything. Well I have been known to be short on tact – perhaps discretion is the better part of valour at times.

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Human relationships become interesting when one considers the tightrope we walk at times to express ourselves while taking care of the other person’s feelings. Some people have a better knack of doing it – though nothing can improve the effort of a person who is patient and persevering. Tall words in today’s rushed times I guess wherein our attention spans are dwindling and time is too scarce for all that we need to do.

High school or college invariably throws up memories of nostalgia, some dear friends, a few rivals who hated your guts and vice versa, a few non-entities who recede quickly in the background. Often you have a person who will not fit perfectly in any of the three categories – possibly he moved buckets over period of time, we knew that much before ‘frenemies’ became a common lingo in our lives. These would possibly be the relationships that we would describe as ‘complicated’.

My insta guide to know your true feelings about someone and why you think it is ‘complicated’.

  • The relationship is no longer direct i.e. except exchanging civilities / banalities of human discourse, you avoid (possibly dread the possibility of it) having a meaningful conversation.
  • Your mutual friends know about it and post making some well-intentioned attempts at patching things up, are now resigned to status quo.
  • But the relationship is not about being indifferent – in a manner of speaking you are acutely aware about the significant going ons in each other’s lives. (One can chuckle to quote Elie Wiesel, ‘The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference’)
  • Whatever be the trigger usually time does not quite heal the hurt – instead life’s vicissitudes throw up occasions for darker emotions like Schadenfreude. Thankfully it never lasts long as one does feel guilty about it. Eventually one reconciles to most things in life with the philosophical, ‘This too shall pass’.
  • The bigger person amongst us is able to let bygones go and start a fresh innings. But many of us are far too hurt and carrying too much emotional baggage to make amends easily.

No wonder an occasion like the college reunion scares the wits off of such people. Rather than face and confront their past, they simply attach the tag ‘it’s complicated’ and run away from the encounter.

If some of you have read so far, guess my rambling was not all that meaningless. Am sure you are stuck by one thought, ‘Do I have a similar skeleton in my closet’? and how will I manage it at my reunion.

Tactless people are known to drop what are popularly called ‘Clangers’ by the British and so they easily mess up tricky situations with people. However one thing that’s  a positive for us is that we like to call a spade just that. So nothing lasts that long – we just express all that affects us and move along. Revenge may well be a dish best served cold but it does cost you too when you keep emotions bottled up. Its end up being ‘रस्सी जल गयी, बल नहीं गया’ (even after hitting rock bottom, the attitude is unchanged).




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