As we come out of this pandemic, I’ve noticed a few of my friends and colleagues are acting differently in the last few months…
Whereas our relationship was pretty equal in sharing and caring, now every subject matter in text or chatter is turned into being about them. I’m talked over in mid-sentence, multiple times. They have very regimented, strict needs that have to be catered to a lot more. Even one day we were on a walk and a homeless man lunged at me, I ducked away, and my friend stared forward and didn’t even flinch!
I’ve been baffled at what has happened to this heightened insensitivity and lack of social cues. These people were not like this before and I’m finding even the shortest interaction is now exhausting!
And then I saw this post on Instagram:
Selfishness is a sign of loneliness??? WHAT??
One would think that people would realize this pushes others away, right? Well, not necessarily…it comes down to emotional intelligence. Those functioning on the high side of this scale are empathetic, compassionate, and have a keen sense of self-awareness. On the low end, they’re literally stuck on number one.
In fact, in 2017 a neurological study concluded that this strange reaction is actually a deeply imbedded stress response from when primitive humans were hunters and gatherers and being alone was a sign of danger. Scavenging as a singleton was a highly vulnerable situation to be in so a self-preservation mode would be activated which makes the individual the utmost concern and not the tribe.
Especially for anyone who is already unaware of how their cognitive environment fuels their reactions, the unconsciousness of low emotional intelligence makes them even more susceptible to being at the whim of what an ancient amygdala is creating.
While our own egos might be keeping score a little, in order to spark the electricity of connection, it takes two to contribute similar frequencies to do that. So if you’re finding that your relationships are not as fulfilling as they once were, it might be time for some breathing room.
The only remedy for unconsciousness is for that person to take the initiative to develop a practice of mindfulness. Confronting them and pointing out their downfalls could escalate their defensiveness and cause permanent damage to any kinship that’s left.
If you have to spend time with them, try to ground your energy before the encounter and set an intention of exercising your skills in having patience. Remember they are lonely and, whether appreciated or not, you are doing a self-less good deed by keeping them company.
Vaccines aren’t the only hurdle for us to go back to how life was before. Our social skills are directly related to mental health so when we can realize that these people are not intentionally inconsiderate, we can take the higher road and grant them some merit of forgiveness…