In blog #962, I wrote how the further away from something we get, the more affinity we feel toward it.  I will amend that thesis to add time as another element that influences our fondness for a particular event or person.

We just finished homecoming and it reminded me of this variation.  The more time between encounters the less closeness that is required to be glad about the reunion.  People who hadn’t seen each other in decades — and may not have been particularly close when they did — were embracing like long lost sisters. I received hugs from previous students who barely said hello when they saw me every day, but because years had passed since our encounter, the warmness increased.  

This phenomenon happens with things too.  My dogs totally ignore a certain toy — until it has been lost under the couch for weeks — and then it becomes their favorite bone when they are reunited.  Items that I saw every day in my mother’s cupboard meant little, but now when I see that same pattern of dishes in the antique store I want to buy it “just to have.” 

This perception distortion is perfectly natural, but it is something of which to be aware.  Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder, so make your decisions with that bias in mind.

— beth triplett

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