Thousands of meters up in the sky, clouds are always in motion, even when the wind appears still. They are part of an always-moving atmosphere. Up there floating around, there are clouds of condensed water vapour that are lighter than air. In their circling journey, they meet other travelling clouds and morph into a different version of a shapeless form. Two or more clouds could come together to form one, and eventually, when the moisture becomes denser than the air, it begins to rain, giving life to the earth.
Humans are social beings, which makes us similar to moving clouds.
You meet someone and begin to model your life after them. You take on their subtle expressions: the funny retort they make upon receiving news, the unique way they laugh, the carefree attitude that you’ve grown to admire, and the restless energy after a few glasses of red wine.
Some of these attitudes, behaviours, and habits creep up on us quickly. This phenomenon, known to sociologists as the "social proximity effect," demonstrates how our social interactions shape who we become. We adopt their mannerisms at a subconscious level.
Over the course of this ongoing connection, we grow an attachment that makes us move in unison. Their likes, interests, musical tastes, and movie fantasies become ours. This holds for both platonic and romantic relationships.
At some point, the wind blows the clouds apart.
Accepting the possibility that two people may grow apart due to internal or external circumstances can be very difficult. No matter how tightly the bonds are woven, this possibility still exists.
For me, I first try to find a way to change the direction of the wind. I could come up with a different way to keep the harmony going, like shifting from a relationship to a friendship. I believe that when we’ve had such a lasting effect on each other, maybe we can intentionally direct the flow rather than let ourselves drift away entirely.
This belief underscores my admiration for people who are more decisive in completely cutting off other people. I feel a mix of respect and disdain, and at the end of the day, my understanding is that sometimes separation is the right move.
To have lasting happiness, we need more stable social connections with people. I've noticed that lately, I find myself gravitating toward platonic relationships rather than romantic ones. Because of my experience with unsuccessful interactions, I can now better recognize potential successful connections and help make them work.
Making conscious efforts to nurture interpersonal relationships is crucial.
- Join a group that shares your interests, such as a yoga class, a book club, or a sports group.
- Reach out to friends and family
- Organize periodic meet cues with loved ones
- Connect and chat with neighbours
- Reconnect with old friends
What matters is the quality of relationships, not their quantity. It is your responsibility to nurture new and existing connections.
Always remember that some clouds will move away and some will stay.