Since the beginning of this new semester, I’ve seen countless social media posts, comments and responses from friends about how much they miss [insert name here].
Normally these words are accompanied by a combination of various emojis: hearts, kissing face and/or crying face.
Just the other day, I was on Facebook and received a notification that it was a friend from high school’s birthday. Several posts from other people wishing her a happy birthday appeared on my feed. Most of her loving birthday wishes included additional sentiments such as “I miss you” or “missing you lots and lots!” I couldn’t help but sit at my computer and wonder how much of these were real, heartfelt feelings or how much of these were just common courtesies to save face.
It’s important to remember a common problem of the 21st century and the socio-digital age: what people post and say on social media isn’t often what they really mean.
I do my best to keep this in mind so that when perusing social media, I take everything with a grain of salt. But, I know that I don’t always do a good job of saying what I mean.
One of my best friends from high school began college this fall. Last year she expressed how much she missed me with not having me around and I reciprocated those same feelings then when they were actually occurring.
When she and I were recently texting each other, she told me how much she misses me now. It didn’t feel accurate for me to say back, “aww I miss you too” — although that is exactly what I said in response.
Because the truth is, which I hope my friends and family don’t hate me for admitting, I don’t actively miss anyone right now.
Don’t get me wrong, I dearly love and care for all my close friends and family, I just don’t miss them. Does that make me a heartless monster?
I don’t think so.
A lot of times missing someone can be described as feeling as if there’s a hole in one’s self or one’s heart. For me (and hopefully I’m not totally alone in this), these holes are filled by the love I have for these people. I do not require their physical being to feel fulfilled. It’s not necessary to miss someone you love because you love them.
More importantly, the absence of someone in our daily lives does not necessarily mean we have holes. Regardless of where I am or who I’m with, I am a whole person on my own.
It is so vital to be confident in one’s own being. The people whoever’s presence I am currently in only elevate myself and expand my overall wholeness. As for the people whose presence I am not in, I am able to reminisce on the memories we share to bring myself joy.
Humans are a species that are meant to be simultaneously independent and codependent. This is a weird paradox.
We are supposed to be independent and be able to function on our own. We are also supposed to want to other people’s presence even though we can’t always have it (and express this want often, and in the 21st century, on social media).
This intertwining of two polar opposite needs makes missing someone (or not missing someone) so complicated.