The psychological side of missing someone?

2 years, 4 months ago

Hey Everyone.

I was wondering about human relationships and their purposes and this 2 questions came to my mind:

What makes us miss someone?

Is there some kind of relation between the feeling of missing someone and what that someone still has to teach us?

Just the other day, I started missing an old friend, we didn’t talk in years. I wasn’t sure if I would have a response, so I was insecure in doing so, but I did it anyway and I asked her help about something, and turned out that she told me exactly what I needed to hear to get back on tracks.

Right now I still don’t have an opinion about this, but I would like to hear yours.

November 27, 2012 at 11:18 am

You must sign in or join to reply!

Profile photo of tyler_ponte tyler_ponte (@tylerponte) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

I love this topic! Really good ideas, I think we miss someone because the lack of them being there is greater than the presence of others. We miss the times we had with the person and the way they made us feel. If you share a lot of happy experiences with someone wouldn’t you begin to associate that person with happiness? Almost as if that person is a direct link to your own private source of happiness. Those are just some of my thoughts though.

Profile photo of Jane Jane (@jquail3) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

hey @bcavaleiro,
I’m new to high existence but I’m loving it so far. I’m also a psychology major so I figured I’d offer my own personal opinion not only from a psychological standpoint but spiritual as well.
I am a firm believer in the corny phrase that “everything happens for a reason” and I believe it goes hand in hand with the belief that everyone is put in your life for a reason.

I lost my mom when I was 16 and I constantly miss her, and especially being a girl without her mother, I seek her advice and lessons more than anything. I have received several signs from her that it has fully freaked me out, such as when I first went away to college, I was homesick and didn’t think I could handle it, and the next day I was looking through old files and pictures and came across an article she wrote titled “Accepting Life’s Challenges Helps Us to Move Forward”. I read the article and it was as if she was talking directly to me, and that was exactly the advice I needed.

And on the topic of what makes us miss someone, I think its a combination of love, jealousy, lack of familiarity, and cosmic relationships with one another. You can miss this one person because you missed having them in your life due to the love you had for them (as humans we cling to the feelings of love and tend to not want to get rid of the person that reminds us of that feeling), or because you are jealous other people have someone in their life like the person you are missing. It could also be because of a higher purpose we may never understand, or since humans are naturally resistant to change and crave familiarity, anyone who was in your life for a significant amount of time and then suddenly was out of it will lure that “missing” sensation out of you.

This is just my view/experience, no professional research, but I hope it helped figure out your questions!


Profile photo of Han Stew Han Stew (@hstews) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

I have found that I miss people because of the happiness I shared with them, and the way they made me feel. However, when I lose that person from my life I find myself starting to romanticize those original feelings of love and happiness. This is why once I get in touch with them again, I either feel a sense of disappointment that these people have not changed, and realize again the reasons why they aren’t in my life, or I feel relieved that the time apart has given us time to grow individually and find our place in the world. Sometimes missing someone is based solely off of the abrupt change of having the chance to know someone and then having that chance taken away, because you are left with the endless feeling that you are missing out on something.

Sometimes you can only learn so much from someone, yet your hunger to learn more is what drives you back to them again and again.

Profile photo of BCavaleiro BCavaleiro (@bcavaleiro) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Thank you for your opinions :). They really gave me great insight, but I feel I still have to think some more about this before giving an answer to this.

@jquail3, I’m in favor of the idea that everything happens for a reason. And thank you for sharing your story, I really liked it. :)

Profile photo of josephm josephm (@josephm) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

miss is the same feeling as “love”. if we based life on feeling then whenever you miss something or someone you feel loved. attach positivity the greatest responsibility in missing and you will indefinitely be missed yourself.

Profile photo of Kylee Kylee (@savemysoul) 2 years, 3 months ago ago

When I miss someone, It has to do with the times I shared with them and I love them. I miss certain things we have done together, things we have talked about. Its normal it happends to everyone. Currently I only miss one person in my life right now. Terriably and I’m not even exactly away from them either. Just every second I think of them and want to spend all this time with them. :) When I’m not i start to miss them. Lol. But I do wonder alot on what causes it too. I wonder if we miss people because society has grown to know that. Or its just attachment & a deep connection. I sometimes even miss myself. If I’m in a bad state of mind at a certain period in my life.

Profile photo of ELI var namnet ELI var namnet (@manimal) 2 years, 3 months ago ago

@bcavaleiro, Missing someone is 100% psychological, that’s the only “side” there is to it.

[[What makes us miss someone?]]

-Ego attachment. We don’t like losing what we’ve grown accustomed to, it’s instinct. Doesn’t mean it’s a good thing though.

There’s no sense in clinging to the past. Just let go and move on.
Or go meet whoever you’re missing.

[[Is there some kind of relation between the feeling of missing someone and what that someone still has to teach us?]]

-You miss someone because you perceive a value in them, something they’re offering you that you like. This could be that they have something to teach you, but it could be countless other things as well.

[[Just the other day, I started missing an old friend, we didn’t talk in years. I wasn’t sure if I would have a response, so I was insecure in doing so, but I did it anyway and I asked her help about something, and turned out that she told me exactly what I needed to hear to get back on tracks.]]

-That’s cool.
But yknow, maybe you just remembered her being good at that kind of stuff and therefore started thinking of her when the problem appeared. And then came the feelings of missing her, triggered by thinking of her.

Profile photo of Sasho Stoyanov Anonymous (@) 2 years, 3 months ago ago

Like there was any other side of missing someone. Well, alright, since everyone on this forum is so fucking stupid, I’ll give you examples of the physical.

Wait… there isn’t any. But you could miss random people touching you, it’s what @manimal loves so much.

Profile photo of Dreamer Dreamer (@heartbeat) 2 years, 3 months ago ago

@bcavaleiro “What makes us miss someone?”

I come to believe it is a chemical process of being too much in tune with the person, that your body needs to find it’s own stability again when the person is not there anymore. I would like to believe it is something more romantic or meaningful than that, but i found myself i don’t miss a lot of people even though we were great friends, and after time i suddenly miss them for a few moments when i think of the fun we had and then i go back to not missing them that much. But when you realize they are never coming back, that is the point you start to miss people more. Suddenly they hold this idealized picture inside your head of them being so special.

“Is there some kind of relation between the feeling of missing someone and what that someone still has to teach us?”

I do believe there is a link between missing someone and unresolved issues. If you feel there is still something to learn or to know about a situation or someone holds some meaning towards you then you tend to miss the person. But somehow i usually miss people that are close to me at a feeling level, but not so much interesting on a intellectual base. So the learning process is perhaps something on a feeling level.

Profile photo of Bianca A Bianca A (@biancavila) 1 year, 11 months ago ago

I haven’t finished reading everyone’s posts, so if I post a theory that’s already been posted, I apologize. and also for the typos that are bound to happen.

missing someone is a sad thing. I’m gussing it is human nature, or are brains are wired a certain way, that we long for that happiness.
our biology + environment that makes us who we are creates out brain to associate different things with happiness. Dopamine, blah blah blah. at the time when we stop creating our foundation for brain growth and start growing upon those parts (our strengths) we gravitate ttowards those who help us strengthen out strengths. Because it is good to have strengths. It is enjoyable. Dopamine!

I just read something really awesome. the unconscious, our emotions, always disrupt our thoughts because our emoyions still need to be figured out, they dont make sense, whereas our thoughts do. im not sure why our brain automatically wants to figure out our thoughts. its like it’s trying to figure out the motives for actions that have already happened.

but anyways! coming back full circle, someone said we associate the people we miss with happiness. We associate these people with happiness because they help us grow. The people we miss strengthen the parts of our brain that we have created to have desire to grow. we need them to help us complete our being, so we can strive towards the perfect balance to always have dopamine flowing through our brains. (idk how dopamine works) since we no longer have them, we miss them when we get sad (realize that we still have weakness) because they can help us do someyhing we can’t yet do on our own. every action and thought is being perfected so we always have dopamine.

EXTRA long. sorry.

Profile photo of patek patek (@nilay) 3 months, 4 weeks ago ago


Profile photo of a Lotus Blossoms. a Lotus Blossoms. (@ancientmystic) 1 year, 11 months ago ago

There was once a tree, a particularly mighty and tall tree. This tree was so proud of every leaf, which it was. Each branch was a source of joy and reason, and when the wind came, the tree laughed and danced with its friend.

One day, the tree’s leaves started to grow dry, and to wither. No matter the tree’s thoughts, the leaves started to fall to the ground, each plucked with a sadness felt within the trunk of the tree. Eventually, there were no leaves anymore, and the wind was bitter towards the tree for its change. There was no more dancing.

The tree felt ashamed and bare, and felt half of a whole. But as it thought about the feelings of sadness which overcame it, the tree realized that the leaves were parting ways to make room or more leaves. The tree remembered its roots, and that at this very moment, it was creating the new life which would come new leaves soon enough.

/You cannot grasp and hold onto love, for love is experienced in the moment. We miss the ones we love because we know they are a part of us. But how sweet does one’s return taste, when finally it has come. Love in the present, hope for the future./

Profile photo of Angela Angela (@preston.tobes) 1 year, 11 months ago ago

It might also be that you just find the person incredibly interesting. You want to talk to that person more, learn more about them, or hear their opinions on things, so when you are separated, that goal is hindered, causing them to be on your mind.
Brain chemicals probably have a lot to do with it as @biancavila said, I mean, we are all biological organisms and our thoughts and feelings are products of the occurrences in our brains. but I’ve only taken introductory biology courses and haven’t researched it much otherwise, so I dunno much on that front.

Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 10 months ago ago

maybe it’s your brain looking for a way to do something else, but it just fucks with you into thinking that’s what you should be thinking about.

Profile photo of daniel daniel (@dany) 9 months ago ago

At the far end of the story of love, a
loved one becomes a major part of our
neocortex. After decades of being
together, a virtual other exists in the
neocortex such that we can anticipate
every step of what our lover will say and
do. Our neocortical patterns are filled
with the thoughts and patterns that reflect
who they are. When we lose that person,
we literally lose part of ourselves. This is
n o t just a metaphor—all of the vast
pattern recognizers that are filled with the
patterns reflecting the person we love
suddenly change their nature. Although
they can be considered a precious way to
keep that person alive within ourselves,
the vast neocortical patterns of a lost
loved one turn suddenly from triggers of
delight to triggers of mourning.” Ray Kurzweil – How to build a mind

Profile photo of britt britt (@Britty16) 7 months, 3 weeks ago ago

I would love to know what makes us miss someone. Whether its chemical, spiritual or if part of our soul just decided that it needs that person. I mean I am the kind of person who can walk away from people like its nothing. But this one person has done such a number on me, that I don’t know how to move on. It’s like my entire being has decided that I need him in my life. But he’s horrible. He makes me feel like an insignificant speck that just exists in the back corner of the world when he finds it convenient. But at the same time he can make me feel happier than anyone/anything has in a very long time. But every time I try to walk away he pulls me back into his gravitational pull. It’s one step forward, two steps back. So I suppose my question is; how do you stop yourself from missing someone and make your heart realize your better off without them??

Profile photo of CaoimheS CaoimheS (@caoimhesweeney) 7 months, 3 weeks ago ago

@Britty16, Dopamine is the main reason why we miss someone. It’s like coming off an addictive drug because dopamine is addictive. When we are with someone we love (horrid or not), we release the chemical into our blood stream. We then associate that person with the release of dopamine (the happy chemical). When that person isn’t around, you no longer get it and you crave the release. The same chemical process happens when a cocaine addict comes off cocaine. Now, that explains why you become attached initially. So why do you miss someone?
Well, as a relationship develops, you start releasing stronger chemicals which then lead to the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin is release when a mother gives birth, when a father holds his child and so on. It is a very strong bonding chemical.
Now, the chances are, with a toxic relationship, you only reached the dopamine stage as it results mostly from the actions of others. This is a good thing. As you can imagine, the dopamine stage is a lot easier to overcome than the oxytocin stage. Distance and time, m’dear. Distance yourself from him and give yourself time to heal. It’s an addiction so treat it as such. With any addiction, remove the source of the addiction and give yourself time to get it out of your blood stream. You can do it, you have the strength to do it, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Plus, there are far healthier men to get addicted to than him, you just need to find the right one!

Profile photo of Marlon Marlon (@shoeopener) 7 months, 1 week ago ago

There’s no “we” in missing someone. Usually you don’t miss someone, but yourself with a beneficial idea of someone. Isolation isn’t good for you.

Profile photo of Mai Mai Mai Mai (@coldxstar3) 6 months, 1 week ago ago

This question reminded me of a quote. I cant remember exactly but its something like this:

Some people were meant to come in your life for a limited time. For some purpose, to teach you something and then theyre gone

I personally strongly believe this thought and I mention it because I have been placed in situations where I have really missed someone in my life and I think of the ways they have changed me….for the better. It makes it easier I guess to come to terms with that person gone even when you really miss them?

I apologize for going slightly off topic but I didnt want to rehash all the great thoughts that have been published.

Profile photo of JonH JonH C (@IJesusChrist) 6 months, 1 week ago ago

I’m in agreement.

Reply to this topic
Click here to join the our site-wide 30 Day Dream Journaling Challenge! Challenge Yourself

More Posts Like This


Profile photo of JustinDanger Knowing vs Living

What’s the difference, and/or relevance between knowing something philosophical-style, and actually living a new truth?


Profile photo of JustinDanger Ethics on Polygamy

Do you guys think a polygamist lifestyle is ethical? Please explain!


Profile photo of Almeida I'm not satisfied with me

I am not so satisfied with me, my parents, Well wishers , friends all are the best one i got but only things here in my life i am not able to digest is its me. i am not getting any idea of what to do next...


Profile photo of Almeida The Big Bang Theory Is Wrong

Every single individual atom is alive with a unique consciousness Your mind is the ruler of these atoms, whatever you think attracts certain atoms with a similar vibration and motivates them to carry on life processes...


Profile photo of M4G1C LOG1C14N [HE 30 Day Challenge] March ’15 – Dream Journaling!

Is everyone super zen from last month’s meditation challenge? I hope so :) The challenge for March is dream journaling! Dream journaling is the practice of writing down your dreams immediately upon waking (before...


Profile photo of Ellie The weird self realization trip

I’m sure a lot of you have gone through this. It might have happened to you like it did to me, one day you were fixing your hair looking at yourself in the mirror and then this strange feeling drops into you. It...


Profile photo of Jacky Jobar Where do you go?

When you die, where do you go? I mean sure you no longer interact with that which is (depending on your perspective)…but where do “you” go. Is it possible for you to escape the cosmos…and if yes...


Profile photo of Bill Steve Zero Carbon By 2025

I am interested in helping people reduce carbon emissions.


Profile photo of Jacky Jobar Happiness?

Is nirvana remotely possible for human beings? I’ve often been thinking about how happiness can become an everyday thing… and most of the time, it seems utterly impossible. How can someone be ultimately...


Profile photo of anonymous poster Sexual/Emotional Chemistry – Why is this so hard to find?

So prior to meeting someone in person I had already developed an immediate connection with them online. It was 2 hours of back and forth jibber jabber (nothing serious, just friendly discussion as if we have been friends...


Profile photo of wolfman What do you Fear?

As I was reading posts and responding to them I decided I wanted to get some input from you all on a topic that I toil over quite often. Everywhere I look I see things like “conquer your fears”, “fear...


Profile photo of Viura Al-Burj Interesting things to learn about

What are some things that you find interesting reading/learning about? For me i’ve started to really get into physics etc. Post suggestions :) Suggestions: Nikola Tesla Issac Newton ( such a brilliant mind!)...


Profile photo of sian Book Slop

Introduction We have trouble telling the truth on a number of occasions, and resisting the arrest of our lies has become increasingly difficult over the years. It’s become taboo to speak our minds, and it’s become...


Profile photo of isthisreal Traveling on a budget?

I’m a broke ass college student but I NEED to leave this city this summer. Maybe pack up the car or save up enough for a one way ticket? Anybody else feeling restless? Any tips on how to travel VERY cheap? thanks...


Profile photo of LVX Quotes

Genius seeks continuously, comprehends thoroughly, contemplates passionately, and then disagrees entirely.