Caged No More

Did you realize that we maintain a tag cloud of emotions for every person within our social network? The mere mention of a person’s name will summon a unique constellation of feelings that we associate with them. All of our previous interactions and experiences leave an emotional imprint on us. Certain emotions will be experienced with greater frequency and intensity. They will stand out among the rest and dominate our overall impression of a person. Given that our relationships are fluid, the tag cloud of emotions will be updated with each new interaction.

Over time, we acquire a baseline of people’s behaviour patterns and can usually determine what to expect from future interactions. Additionally, if someone’s behaviour seems off or out of character, it can signal that something has changed for either the person, or the relationship itself. Some relationships feel light, easy-breezy and give us energy. We feel a sense of openness, acceptance and comfort within them. We experience enjoyment and gladly welcome the interactions that ensue from them. By contrast, other relationships feel heavy, uneasy and deplete our energy. We feel vulnerable, guarded and uncomfortable within them. We go out of our way to avoid or minimize our interactions in these types of relationships.

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