Do we miss people or the times we had with them?

Something that I thought about when people say they miss a person due to a break up or to a death they mention how much they miss them. But I wonder if we actually miss the person themselves or all the times we had with them. Or maybe it’s both.

How could you miss a person if individuality is an illusion?
How could you value memories if value is imaginary?
Please get professional help to assist with keeping your obsessive ideas internally consistent.

Have you, personally, ever been close enough to another human being to actually miss them? Do you have first-hand knowledge of that experience, or is your entire life imaginary or illusory?

The only loss I felt we my dog when she passed away, that’s about the only thing that really affected me. But I wonder if I missed her or the times I had with her. I mean I remember them fondly, but what I miss are the little things she did that made her her. Stomping her little paws when she wanted food was one, or her little growling that turned into licks.

It’s what they brought to our lives. The time we had with them included them giving of themselves to us (for various motivations). The time we spent with them gets us to recognize their value to our lives.

I certainly miss the memories of times I’ve had with people, but what I really miss is the potential future memories. Because of that I’d say I miss the people.

Both but a leaning towards the times we had and the times we could have had; moments lost in the rush of time.

I used to miss people, but my aim is improving.

What you miss is the effect she had ON YOU at the time. There’s nothing else in your life that’s having the same effect.

I agree. I still have the times I had with somebody. It’s the times I would have had with them but didn’t that I lost.

What’s the difference?

Both, obviously. People bond by doing things together, and you tend to want to do things with folks you like.


See that’s what I thought too, but then I got to wondering if I am just attributing things onto them that aren’t really there. Like do I miss the person themselves or the time I spent with them? Do I miss the moments and not really them and by wanting them back am I really just wanting more of the same moments with them again? Am I taking the moments I had with them and projecting that feeling onto them and thinking they were the cause of it.

The problem I have with the “times that I miss” means that I don’t really value or love/care for the person but rather the times I had with them.

<bolding mine>

Take that moment with your pup. Imagine that exact moment in time without her in it. Who or what exactly would replace the foot stomping or the growling or the entire pup-ness of her being if she were not present, as herself, and interacting with you in that moment? Would it be the same?

Now, go wash your bowl.

The more I think about this specific question and the idea(s) behind it, the more it reminds me of that old koan: what is the sound of of one hand clapping? (or something along those lines…)

When you have a close relationship with someone, your idea of ‘self’ incorporates that person. Who you feel like you are is partly due to the relationships you have in your life. When a person is no longer with you, it can feel like you have lost part of yourself.

Sometimes you can miss someone just because they were fun. A coworker might be an example. Maybe a coworker made work more enjoyable. When they are gone, the workplace feels duller. But you might not have that kind of personal connection with them where you feel a sense of loss if they aren’t there. They were more serving a useful function rather than helping your life to feel more complete.

When I miss a person, I miss the person. I only know the person via our interactions, it’s true, but interactions convey information about the person on the other side of the interactions. So when I say that I miss spending time with a person, that doesn’t mean that any random person could step into their shoes and replace them. There is an accumulation of knowledge and feelings and expectations that are associated with the specific person that the replacement person will not evoke. I knows that the other person knows me, and that can change the person that I can be around them.

Of course I can also miss the things I did with them. Good times, good times. So it can certainly be both.

George M?

I guess that exact moment wouldn’t be the same without her to be truthful. Without her little stamping feet and such it would not be the same.