Disconnection 101

Disconnection 101

It dawned on me the other day that I would be really good at giving instruction in something I would never want to teach.

If for some crazy reason I was enlisted to teach someone how to be disconnected – to give lessons on keeping their distance from others – I could put the curriculum together in a snap. In Disconnection 101, I would simply tell them to think a lot of the same thoughts and follow a lot of the same routines I had – notice the use of the past tense – for years. These include:

Wait for others to call/email/text you with invitations – be it for a meal, a movie, a party, you name it. Behind every invitation, there’s someone extending and someone receiving. Avoid the former. After all, if others wanted to be in connection with you, and enjoy the pleasure of your company, they would surely reach out.

Focus on what you don’t have in common with friends and family members so you feel justified about keeping your distance. Remind yourself that you’re a different person than you were years ago and that you’ve simply just “grown apart” from many of them. (While they’ve remained the same.)

Live alone. Don’t get a dog. Dodge your neighbors. The occasional obligatory smile and wave is fine, but don’t strike up a conversation about their son who just left for college or the new farm to plate restaurant that opened up across the street. And by all means, don’t invite them over for a meal. What are you thinking?

Remember some of those words you use to describe yourself, like shy or introverted – those labels that often developed in childhood and have continued for years? Well, you’ll want to continue to self-identify with them. Give them lots of meaning to support you in remaining disengaged from others. These labels can be your best friends, so keep them in your back pocket at all times.

Limit sharing and risking in interpersonal conversation. When you share what you like / don’t like or your personal beliefs about a topic, you risk judgment and rejection. On the flip side, if you suppress your thoughts and feelings, it’s much more difficult for someone to get close to you – the real you.

Can you relate to any of these? If so, I invite you to join with me on the journey to making them part of your past.

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