I started writing thinking I’d talk about my recent experiences of judging some events at Mumbai’s Malhar (St. Xavier’s) and Kaleidoscope (
Sophia College) and how college festivals here are so
– I mean how can you call yourself the city’s best student festival without a
DJ night with Jasbir Jassi? - but I’m somewhat emotionally distraught right now
after having eaten a dirty bowl of Gobhi Manchurian from a restaurant called
“Shree Krishna Veg”; and whenever I think of Gobhi Manchurian, I think of love.
So that’s what I’ll talk about in this post. Delhi
I’ve been exposed to a new kind of sentiment recently which I don’t know how to respond to. Scouring through the relationship section of this blog didn’t reveal any answers or historical context in how to grapple with this (social scientists call this act of dissecting existing text on an issue a “literature review” – but I’m so awesome my review only consisted of my own damn blog) So what I’ll do is talk about how it makes me feel and hopefully get your opinion on it in the name of audience interaction.
This situation is what one calls the relationship limbo.
Scientific definition: Relationship limbo is when two people, usually friends, attracted to each other with variable intensities (one wanting it more than the other) are left in a constant state of flux and reassessment of underlying power structures after an official declaration of affection disrupts this equation by attempting to expand to a higher emotional terrain inorganically.
Relationship limbo is exactly like limbo in the movie Inception i.e. your heart is absolutely spellbound by what is unraveling in front of you and you want to continue watching because it’s all so intriguing, you can’t really figure whether your world is real or fake and in both cases there is no sex involved.
In layman’s terms:
Person X: Hey I just wanted to tell you I really like you
Person Y: I like you too…I just don’t know what it means though…also..I don’t like you as much as you like me…but I want to be friends because you’re awesome and who knows something might happen because we have something
Person X: #FFFFFUUUUUUUU
Why relationship limbo sucks:
You can’t be an asshole: I’m a firm believer in the fact that the best way to deal with most situations in life is by being an asshole. In this situation however, you’re fucked because you can’t be an asshole to people if you genuinely care about them. I know this is paradoxical, because the people you care about the most at one point of time in your life (including friends, family or lovers) invariably end up being the maximum recipents from your Flipkart shit dispenser – but this is where you open iTunes and play George Michael’s Faith and hope that this time would be different.
Being an asshole in this situation for example would be suddenly starting to hate the person for not responding to your advances or devaluing the basis for your friendship. And here is where one needs to make a clear distinction about not being an asshole. If you’re not being one simply because you’re hoping something might happen in the future in which case you want to play your cards right like it’s a game – you’re doing it wrong. I think that is perhaps my only learning from all my flaming piles of relationships – people are more important than the labels to ascribe to them and that if you really care about them you wouldn’t let them go. I imagine when you’re 21 you think you have your whole life ahead of you and that makes you reckless with the people you meet and your intentions, but at 25, probably not.
There are no right answers to the question of space: In conventional relationships, when people need space there are clear demarcations of things that you can and cannot do. It is understood that you shouldn’t call or text or email and generally get in someone’s face if they don’t want to. Requests for space in relationship limbo however are totally different because the fact that you’re friends and within the same workplace/social group/university etc always keeps you in proximity. This makes it next to impossible to know when to bring up or not bring up an issue, reading signs given that in the back of your head they’re somewhat attracted to you too and how much is too much. So if you don’t know how to tip toe around this – there are massive chances of you being classified as an asshole which is something you absolutely do not want.
You’ve to be alright all the bloody time: Relationship limbo leaves you emotionally exhausted as you swing from utter elation over something as random as a sweet text message to OMG IM GOING TO STAB SOMEONE IN THE MOUTH at realizing that it probably means nothing at all within a space of 49 seconds. This is then supplemented by joy at seeing things work out between people in movies and imagining yourself in that situation to feeling like shit like you just discovered the diamond you got studded in your tooth was actually a piece of glass that the dentist conned you into buying – again within the space of the same hour. These PMS worthy swings happen everyday – and despite how good you think you are you cannot control them from screwing up your system. This is when you realise that the only time you are sane is when you’re around him/her, which is pathetic because it can turn into a notion of dependency which is dangerous for your ego and sense of being. Did I mention how all of this only happens AFTER you’ve managed to stop feeling that life is unfair? Fun stuff.
You can’t fault anyone or anything: Relationship limbo, although enmating from a state of uneven levels of attraction between friends also amalgamates every other fear into one big massive ball of doubt that forms a lump in your throat even if part of your heart is starting to melt (Fuck, that was awesome prose. Someone offer me a book deal) This includes, like I mentioned already – fear of ruining the existing relationship, its implications on one’s circle at large and how they would perceive that decision, fear of making the wrong decisions or rushing in too quick etc etc. The problem is that these are all valid concerns for anyone to have and thus cannot be brushed under the carpet as easily as beating up a third guy who decides to hit on your chick. This fearball moves in to disrupt whatever fleeting moments of courage one might have to want to give in to their gut or try something new – thus controlling the individual and their actions in its entirety.
You need to give it time: Because the situation isn't as easy as one person not being attracted to other at all and feels some connection that they can't describe - they go with the obvious choice of waiting and giving it time to be able to determine what it means for them. Time however, can be a piece of shit because it turns the other into an insecure mess living off Oprah and Alanis Morissette. This is because notions of time in relationships are usually associated (in my age group) with healing and moving on rather than focussing on it as a positive associated with growth and understanding each other in depth. Time also kills spontaneity in conjunction with the fearball because you're too busy trying to place relationship limbo in context with your existence instead of living in that moment and enjoying what it has brought to you. And not living in that moment is perhaps the biggest tragedy of it all. But all you can do is suck it up, because if you're willing to wait, and if it is worth it you will, you have no other option. It is, I imagine, much much sweeter though.
Have you ever been in limbo? How did you get out of it? What’s your story? Discuss.
Image courtesy Wikipedia