My Problem With Proactive Bonding.

TLDR: It comes with conditions, it’s inorganic, in many ways lazy and a massive red flag depending on who you ask.

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Proactive
(of a person, policy, or action) creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.
 
 
Bonding
 
 
The establishment of a relationship or link with someone based on shared feelings, interests, or experiences.
 
 

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(And because this is a personal post I don’t believe I need to answer questions like:

“What about people who’re waiting for the other person to make the first move?”

I don’t care. This post is about me.)

If we’re going to connect, we’re going to connect. No need to shower me with compliments and all other associated embellishments.

I would rather hear about the things you enjoy, even if they’re things I don’t find particularly interesting. Who knows, I might actually learn something and begin to have a newfound appreciation for your niche interests.

See that’s what often happens when people are authentic. People are introduced to new and interesting realities. That’s the best-case scenario.

There’s no worst-case scenario. Because authenticity will be at the centre of everything. If two authentic people are incompatible, they part respectfully.

I respect authenticity. I say this all the time.

Authenticity comes with consistency.

You will grow to resent me if you take this proactive bonding approach to relationship building. If you think offering to help me every single time will instil in me a desire/obligation to help you just as much you’re living in a world of illusion. (And the world just so happens to be a loving habitat to the rarely seen elephant of the entitlement variety)

You can’t, for example, buy me a rose that I never requested and expect me to buy you one in return. 

That behaviour is synonymous with “mirroring” and I find it particularly annoying, to be honest.

If I told you the number of times I’ve had to explain to people that I don’t remember birthdays and they insisted on saying “Happy Birthday” anyway expecting me to say it back you’d be surprised. I understand the sentiment of telling people you care about “Happy Birthday”. But I don’t believe that sentiment is a fact or a moral imperative I have to live by.

Why not just act authentically without expecting anything in return? Why is that so hard? Pro-active bonders would rather subject themselves to a sprint from which they’ll eventually burn out (and make no mistake, they will). At which point they’ll show their real selves and we get to say “Nice to finally meet you”

To proactively bond (to me) is to take charge of how the relationship flows. It means you know (for certain) how it’s supposed to go.

It means being impatient to see a bond evolve organically over time and choosing to add a bit of your grow-grow juice. Tasteless reasoning in my opinion.

This can be done in a friendship or otherwise. And in some cases, they (the proactive bonder) will be expecting some kind of return for their efforts — or at least some kind of result. A result that signifies compatibility.

The absence of “expected” results is somehow considered self-evident. It somehow signifies the lack of compatibility.

<<Make that irrationality make sense>>

The lack of results is because the recipient of all this proactive bonding is a bad person. It’s definitely not because of this cornucopia of potential reasons:

“Maybe I creeped this person out by being so smothering, that’s why they distanced themselves”

“Maybe telling them I’ve planned a surprise trip without letting them know didn’t translate over to them as a sweet gesture”

“Maybe I need to start putting in the effort to get to know someone before assuming I know what they want”

“Maybe a relationship not growing in the exact way I want isn’t always a bad thing”

I mean, these are just some of the things I would hope these individuals think of before trekking their self-actualised Mt Sinai. 

But I’m just one idiot behind a keyboard, what do I know.

Please, educate me. Show me how wrong I am.

– O.D. ©2022

Art by: nathanaeI

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