Out of sight out of mind

When I worked at a call center years ago, we all had computers with internet access at our desks and communicated through MSN Messenger for work purposes and fun.  There were 3 floors and each floor had a number of departments.  At most times we would have a few chat windows open trying our best to beat the monotony of sending canned responses to customers who were also being serviced through instant messenger.   This would continue after work too.  We would get home and instant message each other about BS.   The weird thing was that once someone would quit, get fired or move departments the chatting would end pretty soon after.  You’d almost become strangers.  You would no longer IM at work or IM at home and eventually lose all contact.  It was like once there was a little space put between you, that would be the beginning of the end.

It’s like a natural instinct to not give any attention to someone who is not benefitting you or who is not in your regular environment.  Something tells your mind that if you haven’t seen or communicated with someone for a decent amount of time then they must not be important so forget about them.  “If I don’t see you it must mean I don’t need to think about you”.  Humans are all about conserving energy and resources.

Even with long time friends I’ve seen them drop off completely or to a point where the friendship is holding on by obligation.  No one wants to do anything they don’t have to do especially if it doesn’t benefit them.  And why would they?  I think the issue is that there’s a belief in our culture that certain people should have a regular role in our lives no matter what.   The expectations and beliefs keep people in contact.  It can get pretty pathetic after a while.  People can’t admit or believe that they don’t really care about you.  It makes them feel like a shitty person.  But the actions or lack of action says it all.

Old time friends and acquaintances are all great when you see them face to face.  They get an overpowering rush to say kind words and bring about a sense of camaraderie.  The embrace is fleeting though once you disappear from each others sight.

To date I have no contact whatsoever with anyone from that call center.  They were the bulk of my IM list at that time and many were in my phone contacts.  I don’t play a role anymore in my group of friends either since they are all into different ways of life.  They don’t need to see me.   So I guess “out of sight out of mind” isn’t really something you can hold against someone.  It’s just part of life.  Unfortunately, you have to learn about it the hard way.



6 comments on “Out of sight out of mind

  1. It’s true. Office friendships (or clubs or whatever) rarely last after people leave. You’re just trying to get along and have a little amusement while you’re there, it’s not real though. And yeah this happens in all friendships when someone moves away or gets married or just leans in a different direction.

    ‘An active social life’ is considered crucial in every article I read about being happy. I don’t seek out these articles, they are so ubiquitous you bump into them everywhere, and I’m really sick of modern-day monkeys dictating how to be happy. I even read the other day that people who don’t have Facebook aren’t normal. I disagree. This isn’t happiness, it’s desperation to keep up, or ‘FOMO,’ fear of missing out. Maybe everyone is so busy with their Active Social Life that they don’t have time for real friendships. An active social life isn’t for everyone–ha ha maybe happiness isn’t either!


    • MrJohnson says:

      Remember about 50 posts ago you thought you’d have to share comment space on my blog with other bloggers? You’re still the only one most of the time!

      I remember at the time I thought those work friendships would continue on. I probably thought this cause everyone acted so friendly that it seemed impossible they would just drop off. I guess in movies they never have people just disappear unless if they die.

      Yes, ‘active social life’ appears to be crucial for a happy existence. Maybe but only if you’re enjoying it and embracing it. I don’t think any of those monkeys have the cure for unhappiness. Although sometimes they may have decent advice to alleviate the sadness.

      What is an active social life? Going to places with people just cause you think you should? I guess as long as you think you’re doing the right thing there’s some sort of happiness to it. I think Facebook is just an easy and quick method of stimulation and fake camaraderie. And ya FOMO for sure. Happiness is for everyone! Except not everyone can have it. What a sham.


  2. mobowill says:

    I don’t think it’s such a black and white issue. Just because you’re not still active friends with someone doesn’t mean that the previous relationship you had was meaningless.

    The previous friendship grew out of common experiences. Even though those common experiences have stopped, the friendship can still exist although it may not continue to grow deeper.


    • MrJohnson says:

      I wouldn’t say they were meaningless either. Even a brief encounter in an elevator can bring some kind of lifelong meaning.

      I guess the friendship can still exist but what does exist mean? Just because you didn’t have a falling out, it qualifies you as friends? Does it mean if you by chance bump into each other, that you may start the friendship wheels rolling again? Possibly but I wouldn’t be too hopeful. But yes, it could happen. More often than not though and I mean way more often, those friendships are over. Most people in your life are just people who are passing by.


      • mobowill says:

        Yea. I guess what I’m arguing against is the idea that there are no real friendships because no friendship continues and grows forever. It’s possible that if you see an estranged friend again, the relationship will not automatically pick up where it left off, but that doesn’t mean you two can’t be considered friends. Perhaps my point comes down to semantics: Just a different interpretation of what it means to be friends.


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