At The Risk Of Offending All My Family And Friends…

 

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I realized something strange about myself a few months ago. At first I thought it was a bad thing, like I was missing a crucial part of my brain or something, but I’ve come to accept that it’s just who I am, and believe that it actually helps me be a happier person. Here it is…

I don’t miss people.

As in, when I’m away from friends and family, I don’t miss them. I’ve been in Spain now for almost two months, and except for a few brief moments of self-inflicted loneliness, I haven’t missed anyone from back home in Ireland, or from New Orleans (where I lived from 2007-2010).

This October I’ll be embarking on a three-year round-the-world trip without flying, and it’s likely I won’t see the majority of my family and friends for all that time. Will I miss them?

Nope, can’t imagine that I will.

Why do we miss people?

I believe we only miss people when we’re not enjoying the present moment. When we’re busy wishing someone else was around, we’re not exactly giving a vote of confidence to our current situation. It’s as if we’re saying, “Now sucks. It would be better if my buddy/sister/boyfriend was here.”

Funny thing is, when you’re busy missing people, you end up missing whatever’s happening right in front of you. And that usually includes a bunch of good stuff.

I choose not to fight the now. I choose not to resist the present moment. I do my best to focus on being fully present, enjoying new people and experiences, rather than pining for old ones.

If I find myself in a situation that truly does suck, I do what I can to change it. I see that as a vastly better course of action than wishing I was somewhere else.

Not missing people vs. not caring

Don’t confuse not missing people with not caring. Just because I don’t miss people doesn’t mean I don’t care about them. You can be my best friend and I won’t miss you while we’re apart, but next time we see each other I’ll be delighted. I’ll enjoy our time together as fully as I can.

And then I’ll move on to the next moment, with or without you.

I care about my parents, but I’m okay with the fact that I may not see them for three years while I’m off lapping the planet. As long as I know they’re happy and well, I’m all good.

But what if one of them died? Would I miss them then?

I think so. If I knew I’d never see a friend or family member again, that would upset me. But I’ve been lucky so far in that I’ve never had to deal with the sudden loss of a loved one. Nobody’s been taken away from me before old age.

Methinks it’s a whole different ballgame when it comes to death, because we never really know what comes after. I like to believe in an afterlife, in reincarnation (Deepak swayed me on that one), but there’s just no telling what happens when the blood stops, and I’m not willing to believe with any huge certainty that I’ll see people again on some other side.

So yeah, I would be upset if someone died and I never got a chance to see them again. But I see that as just another great reason why we should be living in the now and enjoying the present moments we have with people. Once those moments are over, move on and enjoy the next. Experience each now fully, leave nothing unsaid, collect no regrets.

Ebb and flow

People naturally come and go from your life, and that’s fine. It’s like that with one of my best friends. We drift in and out of each other’s lives, often going months at a time without contact. But when we are in each other’s company, we’re all there.

I’ve noticed though that we’ve grown more apart in recent years. Not because we don’t keep in regular contact, just naturally. That happens sometimes. I’m not going to fight it. Resistance is futile. Everything changes. That’s the transient nature of relationships. You can’t keep every relationship the same all the time. You have to accept the ebb and flow.

People will leave your life, new friends will come along, old friends will reappear… it’s all good. You roll with it.

That’s not to say you don’t make an effort to keep in contact with people. I touch base with certain friends every so often, make time to meet and catch up. But I only to do this when I want to, not because I feel obliged to.

Missing a romantic partner

I broke up with my most recent girlfriend a couple months ago. We got along brilliantly while we were together, but I was moving abroad, she was staying put, it was time to end it. I felt pretty low that last day. There were tears on both sides. Not much fun.

I allowed myself a little time to grieve, and then the next day I got right back to enjoying the present. I decided that the time me and my partner had had together was great, I enjoyed it all thoroughly while it lasted, but that time had now passed and it didn’t serve me to dwell on it.

I’ve thought about her many times since, but I can’t say that I’ve missed her.

This viewpoint can be tricky. I’m good with it personally, but try telling a girl that you’re not going to miss her when you’re apart. Not an easy thing for most people to hear.

If you take issue with this viewpoint, here’s a question for you: Do you really want your partner to be upset when you’re apart? Would it make you feel good if they were unhappy without you?

If your answer is yes, it sounds to me like your love for that person is totally conditional. You only want them to be happy in your presence. You only love them for what they can give to you, not for who they are.

The flip side

Since I don’t miss people and have come to believe it’s perfectly fine not to, I’d be a wee bit of a hypocrite to expect others to miss me when I’m not around. Luckily, I don’t. I want people to enjoy my company, sure, but I don’t want them to feel any sadness in my absence. Why would I wish that on anyone?

Yes, I love for people to remember me fondly when I’m away, but not at the expense of their present. I think of all the things they’re likely to miss out on if they’re busy missing me. No thanks.

Please be happy when I’m gone.

Methinks this is unlikely to be a popular viewpoint. That’s okay. I just wanted to write my truth. This is who I am. I’m a guy who doesn’t miss people. I enjoy experiences and moments, and I try to live in the present. I’ve accepted myself for that. I feel no urge to change it.

Not that I’m some master at living with present moment awareness. Not by a long shot. I still sometimes worry, still sometimes reminisce. That’s okay. I just keep trying my best to remain in the present. Methinks I’m getting better at it.

What’s your take?

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81 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for writing this!

    Having just moved to Colorado from California (where I had lived my entire 25 years) I was worried I would miss everyone so incredibly much. Surprisingly, I don’t! I wondered if I should feel bad about not missing people, but I can’t really say I do.

    In fact, I’m grateful that I’m exploring a new environment and that the times that I will see my family and friends will be that much more meaningful because of our distance!

    • Thanks for reading, Sarah! Glad this resonated with you. And that’s a great point about quality of time vs. quantity of time. I’ve long thought that way, too. It doesn’t as much matter how often you see your family and friends, as much as it matters the quality of that time you have together.

      Cheers!

    • I am very glad to have read this, when I moved to university I had to work full time to afford to live and study. I would see my family and friends a week here and there but not frequently. I felt really happy about seeing them when I could but honestly I just got on and did my own thing. I constantly get told by people that I do not make enough effort such as sending texts, facebook messages. It has made me feel down because in some way I have questioned why I do not “care” the same as everyone else, but truthfully I care alot about my friends and family. However I just feel I live my life and I do not count updating my life on facebook each day as making effort with people. I feel I appreciate seeing people when I am with them, and I can interact and have a good time, but when Im not there its not that I dont care its that I feel I will see them again. That they are doing their thing and living their life and I am living mine.
      I feel that as the world has become “smaller” and technology has advanced so we can contact any one at any time e.g. texts, facebook to the point you can even see when someone has seen a message youve sent, that this has forced people to feel they need to constantly contact eachother to show they care. People may respond to a message out of duty rather then with any thing meaningful to say due to the fact that they know you may have seen that they have read the message you have sent. Whereas in years gone by not seeing others for long periods means that when you catch up it is actually meaningful and you have things to talk about. It is hard to find new subject matter when you have seen someones daily routine documented over the internet. I think reading this for me has shown me that it is not bad that I do not miss people, I enjoy my life as others are doing. I am appreciative of peoples company when they are with me but when they are not, I remember them fondly and will enjoy their company should I have it again. I am very glad that this has showed me that there are those who think as I do.

  2. Hey, Niall.

    I do understand where you’re coming from. I’m very big on family, but don’t live near them. And I’m fine with that. I enjoy visiting on occasion, but typically find the need to leave sooner rather than later. I guess part of that is being an introvert, and the fact that I don’t actually have anything in common with them. Plus, they tend to be part of the rabblement.

    I’ve been toying with the idea of moving out of this state for a while, but didn’t want to make the move because of family. Maybe it’s time to rethink that. Thanks for the pep talk.

    • Thanks, Matt! I’m finding more people are with me on this than I expected.

      I had slight hesitations about moving far away from family initially, but in the end I just had to go follow my dreams abroad. My family often wishes I would stick close, but deep down I know that they’re happy that I’m off following my wildest dreams. They’d never begrudge me that. I hope your family can also see it like that.

  3. You have an amazing brain and a powerful pen. This article is like ‘ when the penny drops ‘ for me. It is a moment of truth. NOW I want to be like that. Care and love people but no longer miss them . Aha the unconditional love ! Thanks and here is wishing greater power to your pen.

  4. This was a great read for me. I love when I’m given a new perspective on something I’d never considered. Especially when it’s something we’ve been conditioned to believe is the way it should be…like missing people. So now when I’m missing someone I can use it as a reminder to get back to the present moment…cool.

    And thanks for being brave enough to share your feelings around this even though they don’t follow the status quo.

  5. Hi Niall, great read and good for you for being up front about your feelings. What you write resonates with me (as usual!). A few years ago I spent four months back-packing around South America and felt quite concerned at how little I missed family and friends, I worried it made me a bad person but actually one thing I’ve realised about myself is that I am a live in the moment kinda girl and that’s okay, it doesn’t mean I love people any less! Thanks for reminding me that I’m not such a weirdo :)

    • Thanks, Caroline! I went through the same thing, thinking I was a bad person for a while. I was equating not missing people with not caring about them, but now I realize that’s just not the case.

      I have to disagree though about the weirdo thing. You’re thinking deep about your life, working on yourself and trying to make a positive difference in the world. You won’t catch many “normal” people doing those things :-P

  6. Thank you for being the one that with your articles is making me reflect on myself. And thinking now about how and in what situations I miss people I came to realize that I miss them only when I feel lonely or self-pity, or when I get to remember the past deliberately, but it doesn’t happen involuntarily. So I guess I learnt today I don’t miss people spontaneously and unthinkingly, but I think about them on purpose. Thanks again, Niall!

    • “And thinking now about how and in what situations I miss people I came to realize that I miss them only when I feel lonely or self-pity”

      That’s a great way of putting it. Gracias por leer, María :-)

  7. Hi Niall,

    Briiliant post – really interesting and I think lots of people would agree with you. We aren’t brought up to think this way and so we feel ‘odd’ when we don’t miss people. I totally agree with living in the present and I’m trying to do this (not as easy at it sounds at times though lol). I think it is sometimes easier for those who move away/travel than for those left behind as they are embarking on a new life/adventure whereas those left behind need to readjust to life without what they used to have. I know my Mum found it very difficult when we went away on holiday for a few weeks…it was hard for me as I was having a great time and didn’t miss home at all. Many thanks for writing this and speaking from your heart :-).

    • Thanks, Debbie. I definitely agree that it’s easier to be the one leaving than the one left behind. Although I can’t say I have much experience with the latter myself. Some day I’m sure I’ll find myself in that situation and it will probably hit me like a ton of bricks!

  8. You’re totally right Niall. It’s good when you know you won’t miss people, I think it’s a more sincere friendship if one could say “I just want you to be happy, even without me”.

    And I tend not to miss people (family and friends) myself. But I’m in a relationship now and I realize that even if I’m ok when my partner it’s not around, sometimes when I live something that I really enjoy I think “I’d like to share this with him”: so, I think I sometimes feel the need to share the experience, just to enjoy it more.

    It’s not exactly like I miss him, but maybe this means I’m not completely free, I ‘m not completely satisfied with the situation if I think “it could be better”.

    Apart from that, surely I’d like to find a way to tell people I won’t miss them without them feeling offended..!

    • You bring up a great point, Sara, with the whole “wanting to share it with someone” bit. I guess it does still suggest that you’re not entirely content in the moment, but methinks it’s a huge step forward from missing someone because you’re completely dissatisfied with your current situation.

      I think of that movie Into The Wild, and how he realized near the end that happiness is real only when shared. I’m not sure if I agree with that entirely, need to chew on it for a while…

      • The movie ends with that realization, but as in any thoughtful piece of art, it doesn’t attempt to be the whole truth.
        In life, I find, nothing is ever the whole truth. As a counter to “Happiness is only real when shared” you have his trip alone, uncovering his true self.
        The best line for me was when he talked about how god put joy in everything, not only in human interactions. It is joyfull to simply live, to breathe, to smell, to watch a bird or climb a mountain. its in everything (I highly agree, regardless of me not believing in a god).

        I personally find the feeling of “missing” as well as “nostalgia” not to be “bad”. The fact something can be sad doesn’t mean its bad. I want and need to be sad about certain things.. its just human.
        That being said, it’s not the whole truth. I also agree with you :P

  9. A very inspired article, Niall. I understand why this might feel a bit insensitive to some people, but personally I couldn’t agree more with your perspective. There are friends and old lovers I think of fondly, but if I stopped to mope about their absence I’d be missing out on all the new and interesting things in my life!

  10. Great article as always Niall.

    I follow pretty much the same attitude towards this kind of situations. When i explain my thinking on the matter to my friends and family most of the times i get empty looks or even a bit of aggression towards me.

    I believe that our life is a river, as a stream of water we come across other friendly streams (friends, family…) and physical obstacles (everyday problems…), but we are a stream of water, we can’t just stop. Even if they try to stop us with artificial constructions () we will find a way. And who knows, maybe we will meet one of those friendly streams again.

    • I like the stream analogy. That fits well for me. I like to enjoy whatever time I have with people and then move on. If I’m meant to see them again, it will happen.

      Thanks, Thanasis!

  11. I totally agree – glad to see the subject here!

    From a young age my daughter has been going away every second w/e and sometimes for longer – I don’t miss her when she is gone nor she me. (some friends can’t understand this!)

    There is plenty of love between us but we don’t need to be in constant communication to reassure each other how we feel, we are happy within ourselves – and I’m happy to have an independent 14 y.o. who finds her own happiness.

    • I really admire your parenting approach, Karen.

      I think it was Pam Slim I heard speak recently at the World Domination Summit, and she said how the main role of a parent is to raise independent kids that can look after themselves and solve their own problems. It makes perfect sense, but I imagine it’s very hard to do in practice. I’m sure your first instinct when you start out as a parent is to try protect your child from every bit of discomfort. But by begrudging them that discomfort, you’re really begrudging them growth and independence.

      So yeah, massive kudos to you. If I ever become a parent, I hope to follow in your footsteps.

  12. This is a topic I can really relate too but I’ve never discussed with others before, due to that lingering worry of offending people. :p

    I left all my high school friends behind a little while ago when I went to college and I only see them a couple of times a year now. I don’t miss them at all! In fact, I think I value them much more now that I’m not seeing them everyday of my life. It makes our meetings so much special now that they aren’t an ordinary part of my life. :)

    I explained this to my mother at one point when she asked if I missed my friends and she thought I was quite strange to not miss the people I used to be so close to. Although I look back fondly on the times where I shared everything with those people, I don’t miss them and I’m glad for all the opportunities I’ve had that wouldn’t have happened if I stayed with them. Great post, and it’s awesome to see that it’s not a strange concept to not miss people!

    • Thanks, Lucy. My mother doesn’t really get this either. But no worries. I’ve accepted it as part of who I am, and I accept that others might not be able to accept it ;-)

      And I’m with you on that point about the meetings being more special when they’re fewer and further between. I’ve found that, too. Usually there’s less small talk and you get right into discussing big things so you can make the most of your time together.

  13. Hey Niall! I found this to be an interesting read and one that sparked some thought. I can honestly say that in certain situations I do miss people. Maybe it’s because I am in the moment and realize that they would benefit from and enjoy it as well. Maybe it’s just because I’m in a selfish moment and either want company or want someone else to be as miserable as I am. I tend to think that when you’ve built up close relationships with friends and family there will be situations where you will miss them. I guess maybe I don’t believe that missing people and not being in the moment are exclusive of each other. Honestly I’ve never really thought about whether missing someone reduces or inhibits our enjoyment of the present.

    I’m definitely going to keep this post and your words in mind when I’m in Indonesia thousands of miles away from friends and family. It will be interesting to see if I really do miss people or whether I just live fully in the moment. Right now I really don’t know how I will react or respond. I’m sure I will have moments of both.

    As a father I can definitely say that I have times where I miss my kids when I am not with them. But at the same time I live in the same town with lots of family members and we rarely see each other despite living a few blocks away and I don’t really miss them. So I guess for me it depends on the relationship I have built with the person. I think it’s OK to miss people as long as it doesn’t interfere with you living your life the way you want to. I’ll have to let you know how I feel about it all in Indonesia. And good for you for living your life as you want to and not worrying about what others think. Cheers!

    • Thanks, Matt! Would love to hear how you get on with this in Indonesia. Part of me definitely wonders if I’ll still feel this way when I have kids or get really deep into a romantic relationship. I can’t claim to have a huge frame of reference here, so I appreciate the input from a family man like yourself.

      Cheers!

  14. Wow, I feel so much less strange now! I’ve always wondered if I was somehow lacking some important emotion that others had.

    The idea of not being able to be in the present moment if we’re missing someone really resonates with me. Because I can be somewhat social and enjoy people’s company, there are times when I think it would be nice to have someone sharing that moment. Not that I’m missing them but that it would be nice to share.I’ll have to be more aware of it and see how that plays with the idea of being fully present. It’s interesting.

    I know that I’ve been guilty of self-inflicted loneliness at times. I’ll definitely view it differently in the future.

    Great article, Niall!

    Espero todos es bien contigo en espana!

    • Muchas gracias, Peggy! All is good with me here :-)

      Glad this post resonated with you. Someone else brought up the “wanting to share” idea, and that definitely has me thinking. It sounds like a similar “wish you were here” feeling, but coming from a place of giving rather than a place of selfishness.

  15. I understand what you’re saying here, and I sincerely hope no one would be offended by your honesty!

    After giving it a bit of thought, I realize that my personality type mixed (of course) with my individuality, makes me a person who can enjoy an experience on my own without missing my loved ones; yet the more exquisitely beautiful and enriching I find an experience that I think they would also welcome, the more I wish I was sharing it with my daughter and my sister. They are the bulk of my family, and the times when I miss their presence, usually isn’t a result of not enjoying the moment so much myself or not being fully present in it. In those moments, I find myself more consciously trying to record the details of an experience so I can relate as much of it to them as possible later on. Having read this article, the next time I find myself in a moment like that, I’ll probably be taking my emotional temperature to test your theory and my own.

    • And please let me know of your experience, Ré. The whole idea of missing people simply because you want to share a great experience with them, and not because you’re lonely or bored, is something I hadn’t really considered while writing the post. Glad I have smart commenters like yourself to add that perspective. It’s something I’ll try to monitor in myself going forward.

      Liking the term “emotional temperature,” by the way :-)

      Thanks for the comment!

  16. Mate, the way you dealt with the ying and yang of this post was fantastic. Obviously at first, after the initial few paragraphs your family and friends could have taken it the wrong way, but I reckon you explained yourself pretty prudently.

    To be perfectly honest, when you told me this on Skype the other day, even I was at first shocked. Then after giving it proper thought – I realised I was of the same mould!!! :)

    And you are bang on about the not missing/not caring thing not being the same. My favourite DTR post so far!

  17. Umm So I’m not weird for feeling the same way, lol. I honestly have never been one to miss people when they are not there but the issue I have is that close friends and family get offended if I don’t stay in regular touch with them! Unfortunately, I still haven’t figured out a way for these individuals to understand my point of view. They just don’t seem to get it!

    • Send them this post, lol!

      Or maybe not. I think we just have to accept that some people don’t get this, but not let that make us feel guilty or broken in some way. I know it can be tough though, especially with family.

      Thanks for the comment, Usman.

  18. Niall, I have similar feelings towords family and friends. Sinse moving out of my parents house I have not really missed them. In my own case it could be put down to The lack of empathy commen in autistic people. Howeaver I don’t think there is any need to slap a medical label onto this. The human race is diverse, both physically and mentally.

    And like you say, not missing someone is not the same as not caring.

    On the whole issue of living in the present moment, it seems that everyone with a desire to do something with there life has this attribute. Almost Bhuddist-lite.

    • Thanks, Robert. Definitely agree about the diversity thing. Just because we or others think differently doesn’t mean there’s something amiss. Different strokes for different folks.

      Cheers!

  19. Hi Niall,

    I realized that the issue of missing anybody is an issue of terminology and commitment.

    For example, you are in a relationship and give a specific experience to your partner that noone of her acquaintances does. All in all, being unique – is all what we are talking about.

    She can has an interesting time without you but it seems natural for me that if she was excited by the experience it sometimes could come up at her mind.

    Wants and derires naturally appear, it is life.

    If it is a desire to meet with friends and they are available, you jus call them and make an appointment.

    But if certain desires are strongly linked with a certain person – there naturally a moment of “Oh, it would be cool to have that experiences with him, but is unreal” arises.

    Of course, diving back to present moment is a best answer to the situation, but tiny amount of could anyway be naturally there.

    So, in your life conditions not missing anybody seems authentic.

    But having commitments this thing is one of the first to be changed.

    • I think I get what you’re saying Pavel. I often think about people when they’re not around. I look back fondly on some moments and look forward to others. So yeah, definitely agree that such wants and desires are a natural part of life. I think the trick lies in not allowing them clutter up your thoughts and cause you to miss out on the present moment.

      (Also, my apologies for the late response. Your comment got caught in the spam queue for some reason.)

  20. Hi, Niall,

    I’ve been following your site for a while now, and I’m amazed by how inspiring your posts are. I feel great admiration for your commmitment to follow your profound dreams. If I don’t comment regularly (this is my third comment so far, I think) it’s just because I’m not an English native speaker, which makes it harder to express oneself. I just wanted to drop a line to say this post blew me away – again. I’m with you on the “not missing” feeling.

    Keep the ball rolling. Cheers!

    • Thanks so much, Angel, I really appreciate that! And if you´re a native Spanish speaker, feel free to comment on my posts en español. Reading them will help me practice :-)

      • Ok, si quieres escribo en español. O en inglés y en español, para así practicar yo también my English writing ;) Si quieres mandarme tus respuestas también en español, yo encantado de revisártelas y corregirte para que vayas acelerando tu aprendizaje.

        [Feel free to write back in Spanish if you wish. I'll be happy to mark-up your pieces of writing so that you can accelerate your learning pace].

        Escribí que no dejo comentarios a menudo porque es difícil expresar las ideas si tu lengua madre es otra. Justo después recordé tu post sobre que no es necesario escribir sin errores, que no hay por qué ser perfectos. Me sentí identificado con lo que decías: a veces no nos permitimos a nosotros los fallos que disculpamos naturalmente en otros.

        Un abrazo.

      • Gracias, Angel! Sí, es bueno no preocuparse mucho sobre lo que piensan las otras personas de nuestros errores. Todo el mundo hace errores! Como yo, ahora mismo, estoy seguro :-)

  21. Dear Niall,

    I just discovered your blog, and was enjoying reading through it, but this post really hit the spot. Thanks so much for saying this! I don’t miss people, though I might love them tremendously. I do reflect fondly on great memories, and that by itself is rewarding and full, and I feel no lack. A few years ago I took care of a very dear, wonderful aunt of mine as she died of cancer at the ripe old age of 47, and while I can still get very upset at the fact of death, at the unfairness of an early death, etc. more than anything else I feel as though she’s a part of me and I still get to enjoy that.

    My only caveat here though, is that things are not so easy for her lifetime partner, as they had an intimacy of 20 years. I think after 20 years the distinction between self and other can become terribly yet beautifully blurred. Then, I think I might really miss somebody.

    I’m glad to hear there are so many others, here in the comments, who are so honest about this.

    Best,

    Anne

    • Thanks for the comment, Anne. I think you make a great point about long-term relationships. It must be a lot tougher saying goodbye to someone after so much intimacy and connection.

      Glad this post resonated with you. Cheers!

  22. Wow. I’ve been following your blog for a couple of months now but only just discovered this post, and what you’re saying here really resonates with me. You just made a light bulb go off in my head. I now realize that I don’t miss people either, and that’s okay! I was just never able to express this out loud, I guess because I was hung up on the cultural concept of “missing people” as something normal and emotionally sane. But I guess it’s because I *don’t* miss people that I can do things like living abroad for long periods of time. I do think about my friends and family sometimes, but I think it’s more just wishing I could share my experiences with them, like some other people have explained in the comments. Thank you so much for this post! I feel like I understand myself a little better now. =D

  23. I’m much the same. After moving to Ireland from South Africa I did not look back or miss anyone. Not family nor friends. The one person I potentially would have missed the most was my dad, but we had an intellectual connection and it was satisfied by email, SMS and phone calls.

    The friends I had I kept in touch with remotely too and it was sufficient for them and me. It seems that all my friendships were based on intellectual and emotional ties that could be satisfied over the ether rather than requiring a physical presence. I’m not a man’s man so that physical bonding never enters the equation.

    There were some people who made it difficult, said I was leaving them and they weren’t happy about it. I didn’t miss them much. I hope they are happy but that’s not my responsibility.

    I have missed my dad since he died though. The circumstances of his death do make me slightly regret not being physically present, I could have helped by being there.

    There is one exception to all of this; my daughter. I couldn’t live far from her. The times I have been away from her for a few days have touched me unlike any other separation in my life. It is a very real feeling. The joy she seems to get out of being around me also makes me think it is not just me being selfish. Skype, video, recordings etc. don’t make up for it. I can understand how separated parents can go a bit crazy being away from their kids. I expect much the same with the birth of my son in February.

  24. That was a great post Niall. Ive never missed anyone since I was a little girl. I would fly from Fla to visit my granparents for 3 months every summer till I was about 15. I never missed anyone back home. Its like you said….Its not because I didnt care about them but I always knew Id see them again. I have always felt free to follow my dreams where ever they would take me. Most of the time I made quick decisions on my journeys. Heres a little piece Ive always relied on when I had questions about whether I was doing the right thing or not.

    Reason, Season, or Lifetime

    People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

    When you figure out which one it is,

    you will know what to do for each person.

    When someone is in your life for a REASON,

    it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

    They have come to assist you through a difficulty;

    to provide you with guidance and support;

    to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

    They may seem like a godsend, and they are.

    They are there for the reason you need them to be.

    Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,

    this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

    Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.

    Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

    What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.

    The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

    Some people come into your life for a SEASON,

    because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.

    They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.

    They may teach you something you have never done.

    They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

    Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

    LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;

    things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.

    Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,

    and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

    It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

    — Unknown

  25. I read the second line of this post and went YES. I’m exactly the same way.

    I think missing someone has to do with comparing one state of being with another (them being there and them not). I realized recently that I don’t do this unless I try to, which I never do, so I don’t miss people. This has certain drawbacks for me though, as it makes it difficult to tell when a situation is getting worse, because wherever I am, I am. if that makes any sense to anyone other than me.

    On the topic of death. I’ve had a few people in my life die and I don’t miss either of them. Then again, I had plenty of warning about both deaths. I think a sudden death would shock me, but after I’d regained equilibrium I doubt I would miss them.

    Anyways, live the post.

    That was supposed to say love, but live works too.

  26. Not missing people is great, the only thing that is annoying is when you come back to people who have missed you and expect you to of missed them too.

  27. I’ve always been a loner,and have next to no family, and just a couple friends.
    Everything changes all of the time, and it’s important to enjoy your own company, and live in the moment.

    Most people can’t pickup and travel continuously, leaving travelers/backpackers to forge relationships on the road.

    A funny thing happens, you just adapt to your new environment and enjoy it. Just like when moving from a longtime residences. You miss it, but soon forget about it, and enjoy your new dwelling.

  28. Great post! I often hear such questions from my relatives when I travel… “Do you think about mum? “Do you sometimes miss me?” Being honest, I say “no” and the response is you don’t care about me.” For people it’s quite difficult to understand that not missing doesn’t equal “not caring.” I guess a feeling of missing someone/something would only appear when you don’t feel comfortable in some situation and being elsewhere would make an improvement. Your article is definitely something to show to such people, thanks!

      • Hi Niall, I have no idea what this place is but it reminded me of Latrabjarg cliffs on Iceland so that’s what I changed my blog background to after having stayed there for 1,5 month. By the way, I had a discussion with a stranger today; we talked about traveling and changing places you live quite often and he touched upon the topic of missing people… He was very surprised it’s a feeling I barely ever have. But that’s the point, you can keep in touch with friends and family and still not miss them!

  29. I think you nailed it with the idea that missing is not equal to caring. I think you can still totally appreciate the moment and wish someone were there with you — similar to what Re was saying about wanting to share it with her close people.

    I’ve always carried guilt around because I didn’t miss people, though I would still think it would be cool if they were there. Now I get to just enjoy the moment. :)

    I do think people like knowing they are wanted or missed, but I now suppose it doesn’t have to be at the expense of your own experience. It’s just affirming that you care about them and would like to share the joy of where you’re at with them. It seems more honest, for me at least.

  30. Hi Niall,

    It’s not as uncommon as you may think. I made the decision to leave my family behind in the Middle East and move to Canada when I was 17, and then made the decision to live in a different city from my fiance for a couple of years for the experience.

    Fortunately he is very supportive and thinks the same way as I do. Do I get lonely occasionally? Yes. But I realise that it is in my power to overcome it.

    The only disagreement that I have with your post is that if I truly loved someone and I felt that my moving away caused them so much pain – I don’t think I would be able to do it.

    Thanks for articulating it so well.

    Cheers,
    Deepthi

  31. Well shit, I’m glad I found this, makes me understand myself so much better! Superbly written, thank you so much man! Can be a bit awkward at times, especially when someone else misses you but you don’t really miss them back. I was starting to feel I had some kind of problem, but reading this makes me see just how perfectly reasonable and natural it is to feel (or not feel) like this. Thank you! :D

  32. This resonated with me as well. Now I feel that I understand a bit more about myself. My sister lives pretty far away from me and my family. Her and her husband came to visit for this past Thanks Giving (2012). When they left, my other eldest sister was quite upset; I, on the other hand, pretty much forced tears, because I thought if I don’t miss them, then I’m not loving or caring. Now I see it’s just who I am. I Thank you dearly =)

  33. Hi Niall,
    My son posted this on his facebook page. I understand what you’re saying completely! However, as a parent I would like to respond. I too, find myself not missing people who have been or are presently in my life, family members included. That being said, just because you don’t miss someone shouldn’t mean that you don’t share highs and even lows that happen in your life with those that you love and who love you. Family, whether blood related or those that you choose as family, delight in sharing even the little accomplishments or tiny disasters that happen in your life. I do not care if someone misses me or not, however, I do care if people I love and who I hope love me don’t wish to share things that happen in their lives that they are proud of, accomplishments they make or even when a bad day turns in to a funny story. Relationships are what you make them. If you want to keep relationships with people you love you also need to let them know that you love them by sharing not because you miss them but because you cherish them and the relationship you have with them. Parents, especially, want, no need to know that their children are doing ok. Again, not because they miss their mommy, but because they love them and wish to share in their lives.

  34. I just found your blog via a video you made with Paula from Afford Anything. I’m reading through as many of your posts as I can. I love your point of view and your attitude! I’m from Brazil (but live in the states) so looking forward to your post from there next year.

    As for missing people, I used to be exactly the same way. I’ve always been happy on my own. Even though I want to catch up with friends and family via email or phone when we’re apart, I’m not really missing them. I can even be apart from my husband, whom I truly adore, for a few days and not miss him terribly. However, now that I have a delightful 3-year old, I really do miss him! I make a point of having him stay with grandparents for a night now and then and sending him to preschool so he can gradually become more independent. But I do miss him when he’s not here, even though we’re never apart for long. I suppose that changes some as kids grow up.

    I also miss a dear friend who died too young many years ago, as well as my grandmother. Every time something major happens in my life, I miss the two of them greatly.

    Anyway, great blog!

  35. Cracking post here Niall and I completely know what you mean. To be honest if I missed my family, I wouldnt have travelled in the first place. You get on with your life wherever you are and you love being with your family when youre with them. I agree with most of your post and thanks for sharing your opinion on it! Jonny

  36. Exactly same thoughts here!
    For a while I thought that something is wrong with me for not missing anyone. Few months ago I realised its actually not a bad thing and I don’t hide it at all.

    I have awesome life, I travel and meet new people a lot, I enjoy present moment and I found its really hard for me to miss someone from my past. I was away from my family house for over 5 years now and I haven’t seen my family, I am by myself in the place I live, far away from my country. Yet, I am very sociable person, friends come and go and thats completely fine with me.

    Thanks for sharing! You are not alone and I completely understand you :)

  37. Hi Niall! After reading your post, at first I was relieved, you gave me hope in thinking I am not “wrong”. I’ve been in China for 3 months and my family is back in Italy,but just the other day my sister complained that I’ve never once said I miss them, stressing the fact that for me it might be normal, but for her it isn’t. The story is actually pretty long, parents divorced, 3 sisters, I’ve never gotten along with my parents, and in the last few years we’ve struggled pretty hard, we’re drifting apart.They all think I am an emotionless person, don’t care about the family,have no respect and quite a few other remarks about me.Now,when I hard times come,I just feel I want to run away and never see them again, say f* off and that’s it.I think I don’t miss them, although I’m not even sure what does “miss” mean indeed. But I could never say that to them, it would be like launching a nuclear bomb.
    What d’you think? (I am a 26yo female)

  38. Reading this I instantly thought of my boyfriend, who traveled without me for about 3 months in Australia, also having a similar attitude to yours when It came to living in the moment. I can not personally say that I can understand the emotions that you guys have, though I do envy that ability to let go of people you treasure in order to enjoy the present. I feel like I am far to sentimental and over analyzing about things, so i often find myself dwelling on the past, missing people and basically being unable to create my own happiness. I suffer from depression and seeing your positive but also very simple view on living is therefore almost alien to me, haha. It is very true that I hope people are happy without me, and I know my boyfriend for example, much rather liked me saying I was having a good time back at home than saying I was missing him. I feel so inspired by you to travel, my dream is to be a illustrator, so I am hoping to be able to move around since you work from home :)