Keeping Your Distance Doesn’t Mean You Hate Someone

black and white photo of two trees set several feet apart behind a fence, in an otherwise empty landscape
Image by motiqua / CC BY

While I’m a fairly easygoing person and tend to get along well with others, I have a confession to make: I have people I avoid.

People that I don’t talk to on purpose.

I do.

The exact reason why varies in each case. Some people are more draining than anything else. They tend to take, take, take and give very little to others in return. Or they offend and annoy other people on purpose because it delights them, never giving a second thought to how it affects those around them.

I’ve also known individuals in my time who were more overtly predatory. Terrible at respecting other people’s boundaries. And often in ways that could be quite dangerous. (And quite difficult to call them out on or correct, since they were not only predatory but also lacking in self-awareness and quite defensive to boot.)

There are still others that I was close to in the past that I haven’t even fallen out with per se, but we both changed, and we respectively belong to pasts for each other that we’d both soon forget. (This category of avoidance, the drift, seems to usually be quite mutual and easy to maintain.)

But here’s the thing: While there are people I would rather avoid, situations where I keep my distance, that doesn’t mean I hate those people. Hate’s a strong word, sure. But there some folks I avoid that I don’t even dislike.

I just have concluded my life is better if I limit my exposure to them. If I interact with them as little as possible (for whatever reason).

And truth be told, sometimes I’ll miss one of them. I’ll remember some happy past memory that’s specific to them. Or something that we did together.

When this happens, it can be confusing. But then I remember: You can miss someone you don’t want in your life.

It’s perfectly okay. Happens to most people, actually, I’ve found — as I’ve talked to people about this phenomenon.

Keeping your distance doesn’t mean you hate someone.

And that’s something I try keep in mind, too, when I’m on the other side of it, when I discover (or suspect) that someone is avoiding me.

It doesn’t mean they hate me. Or I’m a bad person. We all get to choose what’s best for us, and sometimes that isn’t me. (Or you.)

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Books by Page Turner:

Dealing with Difficult Metamours

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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