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Is it really necessary to become attached to people? Do not we still finish to be disappointed?

I would like to know that people think about bonds of friendship or love because I find that in the life, we are too often disappointed by certain persons whom we trusted. So I ask you to tell your experiences, and tell me if that is always worth relying on the others or not.

Topics: friendship love
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    Jul 4 2012: Hi Sarah,
    Disappointment generally manifests when we have expectations of ourselves or others. We can recognize the interconnectedness/ interdependance in relationships without attachment.

    We can ask the questions of ourselves:
    If we are "often disappointed by certain persons whom we trusted", as you say, are we disappointed because they are not who/what we want them to be? Because they do not do what we want them to do? Are we disappointed in ourselves for trusting someone who may not be trustworthy?

    In my perception, to feel disappointed is a choice. When we have expectations, or become dependant on others for our emotional well being, we can set ourselves up for disappointment. In doing this, we are expecting something that may not be possible for another person to give us. When we detach from expectations of a certain outcome in relationships, there is no reason for disappointment.

    For example:
    I LOVE communication... to explore many different thoughts, feelings, ideas, have LOVED that my whole life, and it is an important part of who/what I am. I married a person I love for many reasons, and he was NOT a person who liked to explore feelings. I tried to get him to talk/communicate in a way that I like to communicate for 24 years. It was something he was not willing to do, or capable of doing, so I finally decided that I was giving up something that was really very important to me, and I chose not to be in the marriage. I still, and always will love him as a friend, and I'm sure that he loves me as well. We had different expectations going into the marriage, and in order to be able to continue to love him as a good friend, I needed to give up my expectation that he would communicate on a level I want to communicate.

    After the first 10 years, I was disappointed. Then I realized it was my own expectation that was causing the disappointment. We were together for another 14 years in which I explored my own dependancy, expectation, attachment and love.
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    Jul 8 2012: I'm going to agree with Colleen's statement about the root of disappointment isn't attachment, its expectation.

    One of my favorite sayings is 'plant an expectation, reap a disappointment'. This flies in the face of what we've been taught - especially in western culture. That we should expect to be treated a certain way. And while I agree that all friendships and relationships have a certain bedrock of social norms (treating each other with mutual respect, etc) any thing on top of that often is an expectation.

    I struggle immensely with dividing expectation from social norms. I would *think* someone would react a certain way (i.e. calling to cancel a pre-arranged appointment, etc) but the reality is not everyone is that conscientious. I am extremely conscientious, so any small slight (showing up 15 minutes late) grieves me greatly. This isn't to say that I can't set standards (i.e. I give people 20 minutes to show for an appointment - and unless they call to say that they'll be late, I leave) but the reality is that if I held everyone to my expectation of showing up exactly on time, I'd have a very small circle of friends indeed.

    You have to give people room to be them selves, but at the same time create standards that you are comfortable with. For example that conscientiousness is very important to me - I wouldn't marry a partner that lacked this key trait. They'd likely grow tired of my incessant demands for more conscientious behavior and I'd likely grow tired of their lack of conscientiousness. I probably couldn't stick around for long.

    Know who you are, know what your core values are. Give people room to be themselves, but don't allow people into your life who will invalidate your core values by just being themselves.
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      Jul 8 2012: Hi Robin,
      I LOVE that..."plant an expectation, reap a disappointment"...it's going in my quote collection....thanks:>)

      Re: Being treated a certain way....
      We can have boundaries and preferences regarding how we wish to be treated, and let that be known to those we wish to spend time with. If that person is unwilling or unable to treat us as we wish to be treat, we can first let that be known, and if that doesn't work, then I no longer choose to spend time with that person. I don't expect anyone to give me something s/he is not capable of, or willing to give. I also am clear that I have a choice who I will and will not spend time with.

      If we are spending time with people who have certain patterns...consistantly not showing up on time for example...we have choices...we can accept it, if the relationship is balanced in many other ways, we can tell them how we feel.... we don't spend time with that person. Depends on what the relationship means to us.

      Here's an idea...
      Many years ago, I used to be consistantly late. A friend told me that I was being disrespectful of his time, so I changed the pattern. It was a habit that I was simply not giving any attention to. When I was told that it felt disrespectful to the other person, I simply paid attention. My pattern was only 15-20 minutes late.

      I once had friends (a couple) who were at least 1 hour late ALL THE TIME. Our group simply got into the habbit of giving them a time that was at least an hour earlier than the rest of us! It worked pretty well:>)

      Excellent points Robin:>)
      Know who we are...know our core values...give people room to be themselves...don't let people in our life who will invalidate our core values...
      I will add...adjust our "self" (our attitude/perceptions) to a certain extent if possible...communicate clearly...create balance so that the relationship is mutually appealing to everyone involved:>)
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    Jul 12 2012: I think there is a strong link between the trust we have of others and our own self-esteem. If our self-esteem is robust, then trust in others seems less crucial. If someone lets us down, it is of little consequence, because our own innate strength carries us through life with few problems.

    If our own self-esteem is not so strong, we tend to reach out to others to bolster that deficit in our trust in them. If someone then lets us down, our feelings are more intense. The consequences can vary from feelings of betrayal to absolute devastation. We then use this as a kind of 'confirmation bias' to further enhance how low we feel.

    I say this because my own self-esteem varies from quite robust to being more fragile. I try to observe my own reactions and the actions of others in such times. Sometimes that's difficult in the heat of the moment.

    Like most things to do with interaction with others, self-knowledge I think is the key to a stronger immunity to the perceived negativity from others, based on acceptance of who we are, rather than trying to make ourselves into someone else who we have come to trust and who we think is better than us. They are not better or worse than us - just different.
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    Jul 7 2012: You have to learn to know people. You have to learn on what and how much you can rely on them rather than expect them to be something they might not be. That makes the attachments easier on both, you and the other persons. It also lets you get surprised when they do much more than you expect. You also have to learn that attaching to people does not mean leaning all of your weight on them. People are individuals. We all prefer our freedom to anything else. We do not appreciate being needed too much. We like being able to act independently at least from time to time. So, give people space. You will be surprised how healthier your relationships become, and how much people will enjoy being with you knowing that there is no all-or-nothing demands on them. The better you are at being attached without thinking about it as an all-or-nothing, the better off you will be and feel. Enjoy your own freedom too.
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      Jul 8 2012: I agree Gabo, that it helps to know people, and to do that, I think it helps to know ourselves. Then we can maybe avoid all the "projection" of ourselves onto others. Expectations are simply our own projections of what we think people "should" do..."should" say...etc.

      YES!!! I LOVE the idea of being surprised when I have no expectations. If we have NO expectations, the reality, is that people always give MORE!

      One of my favorites...
      "Be happy with what you have and you will have plenty to be happy about..."
      (Irish proverb)

      I find that as we are genuinely content with what we have, it actually invites more giving/recieving. In my perception, gratitude is a big part of moving out of the attachment/expectations/disappointment cycle:>)
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    Jul 4 2012: Necessary or not (and it is very necessary for well-being and happiness) we need people. Letting disappointment rob you of connection is like observing that cloudss block the sun and concluding that rain is bad or that you do not need the sky.
  • Jul 3 2012: Yes. Vibrancy, growth, joy....stuff like that. You have choice about what to focus on, so you may as well focus on the positive aspects of being attached to people. That is probably the richest, best, happiest experience life has to offer any of us earthlings.
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    Jul 12 2012: It's not even that it's necessary to become attached to others, but it is just an instinct. A baby cannot just become a 'self;' an individual... S/he has to get educated and nurtured, by which those who do so are the people that baby will attach with in order to mime, copy and re-represent..

    Nietzsche coined the word 'resentiment' - it's a type of jealousy - means: mimetic resentment. I can see myself in your job position that you have, but think I can do better. (Without this emotion I am assured that the person who is resentful is striving for the job position and/or possibly just lazy and upset).

    Desires lead to attachments, but some desires are innate -

    Disappointment is good when reflected on and not just negative emotions. Part of our problem from educations is that we do not teach how to handle criticism, so when we are wrong we become personally offended rather than just accepting of what we do not know...

    Shouldn't be afraid of relying on others, but at the same time shouldn't be completely reliant on anyone or two people!
  • Jul 12 2012: Hey Sarah,

    One who truly wants to evolve himself in life would have to get attached with others. You are correct, it is a risk, and we will certainly get hurt at some point. But just like any other domain in life, the more you practice, the better you get. Look at it that way; a baby who wouldn't try to crawl, walk or eat by himself, etc, wouldn't be developed physically. This is exactly the same; open yourself to people, embrace the experience, the feelings that come up, embrace those that you consider as negative too, it's OK, you will end up much stronger, I'm sure!

    Lia
  • MR T

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    Jul 7 2012: Expect less give more
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    Jul 4 2012: In Arizona we had a mountainman named Bill Williams who said, " If you find one true friend in your life time you are very lucky". To answer your question. No it is not necessary to become attached. I know / associate with thousnds of people but have invited very few into my private life. Colleen makes valid points (as usual), whos expectations are we making judgement on.

    Here is a what if. What if you went to jail. Name a non family member you could call that would say I will be there in 15 minutes. No questions, no lectures, no you owe me, no its to late see you tomarrow ... just I'll be there is 15 minutes. That really narrows the group down.

    I would like to think that in most cases your best friend is your spouse, wife, husband, significant other, what ever you call them. That you can confide in them and rely on their loyality. This is not always so and that is a shame.

    Some of the issue might be the location we gather friend from. If you meet people in a bar you have certain pre concieved notions that may or may not be true. If you meet them in church there are also some things you would assume.

    Remember, if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, walks like a duck why are you surprised when it turns out to be a duck? Make wise choices.

    All the best. Bob.
  • Jul 2 2012: We are social beings, for better or worse, so I don't think we have much of a choice. And what exactly do you mean by trust? I, personally, open up to people quite easily, yet I don't expect anything of them. I try not to rely on their aid, good will or respect, and I try to be as less dependent from others, as possible.
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    Jul 2 2012: Hello Sarah,

    thank you for opening this debate!

    In my view there is no given necessity to attach to people at all, as long one is able to deal with it. And in my experience, this turns out to become the 'hard' part, as we are born as and therefore emotionally equipped to be 'social beeings'.

    To make things easy, in this world there are two kinds of people, those who are not suffering much when they get disapponted and move on with their lives quickly, and those who don't.

    This seems to be related to the set of 'values' one have and the ability for, and depth of these 'emotions' surrounding them. Also what matters is the ability to really care for one another, which comes in various forms and intensities. And those with high quality skills seem to me beeing kind of rare nowadays...

    So if solitude becomes no option, risks got to be taken. And luckily LUCK has already been invented yet...

    :o)
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    Jul 2 2012: In my personal experience it takes A LOT for me to give my trust away but it allows people to go through a lot of trials and tribulation to get closer to me and therefore, they actually want to be around me and love me for who I am. I don't push relationships and actually have learned to love the time I have alone with myself.

    The biggest problem, I feel with the term "attachment" is this NEED for someone else which in my opinion is a problem. The saying "you must love yourself before you can love another" not a cliche for nothing. Once you are completely comfortable with WHO YOU ARE! Creates the opportunity for relationships with other to ACTUALLY be given true meaning. Of course you'll never actually figure out who you are completely but a general sense, is in my opinion, good to have.

    I have very few close friends, many acquaintances and even less close love affairs. It takes a lot to gain my trust. You have to earn it but this is where balance comes into play. Once I trust you...your in. You get my everything. Until, you prove that you can't handle that trust and than I can reevaluate our relationship.

    Balance is key. You want to be able to allow people to be given the chance without harsh judgement but you also want to protect your self from people that can be detrimental to your life, today and tomorrow.

    Love yourself over all else but love others who show you love. Wraps up the entire conversation pretty well. I'm long winded. =]
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    Jul 1 2012: Loving and being loved are among life's great joys. This doesn't mean you have to find great love to be happy, I am sure, but not giving the possibility a chance out of fear of disappointment may be living too cautiously.

    I'd think for almost anyone, this should be a risk worth taking.

    Part of loving is accepting imperfections in people and thus feeling some slight disappointments now and then in the people you love. Your daughter might accidentally damage the car, your son might break a vase, your mother might watch reality television... but these occasions for disappointment don't really detract from the love you share.