I have been pondering the thought of being flat and of having no affect, of being emotionless when dealing with people. It made me reflect on when I first noticed that I did not get close to people, that I did not let them in.
Approximately four years ago, I was going through a very difficult time with my health, I had been through several surgeries and I was going through some very intensive physical therapy. I was required to go twice a week for six months, it was my understanding that I went to therapy for a longer duration than most of the patients at the facility. I saw many other patients come and go and many of them appeared to develop a close rapport with their therapist.
When I was about halfway through my therapy, my therapist was going to go out on maternity leave. It was around Christmas time and the office was full of holiday cheer with many of the patients and therapists exchanging holiday greetings and wishing my therapist well as she spent her last few days in the office.
On my last visit with her, I noticed that some of her patients (even those she had only seen for a matter of weeks) hugged her warmly and wished her and her baby well, some even bringing her cards.
As my appointment ended, she introduced me to my new therapist and gave me an appointment card and we said goodbye.
While I was driving home, I wondered why my exchange with her had been so different than those she had with other patients. It did not particularly bother me or hurt me, I simply noticed the difference.
That evening, when my significant other came home, I told him about my day and opined that my therapist and I had not exchanged holiday pleasantries or any other goodbyes. “Well,” he stated, “it was because you treat everybody you deal with as if it is a business relationship. You are polite, straight forward, and unemotional.”
That was the first time it occurred to me that I had no affect.