Can your impositions trigger questions on your existentialism? How do you draw the line between relationships and impositions?

Remember when Professor Trelawney said in Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, “I do not wish to press my company on those who do not value it.”

To impose something (on/upon somebody) is to make someone accept the same opinions, wishes et cetera as your own; any dictionary would define this word as so. But in practice, the idea of imposing yourself on others has been normalised to mean a lot more than this definition. It has been used to refer to the behavior that just makes us question our intentions and thoughts that shape our conversations and actions in the social space. “Sometimes when you stay too long with the same people, you might feel that they are getting tired of your company,” says a first year student from Maitreyi College. Indeed, it derives from our introversions. When you try to open up to people, it becomes a challenge because you simply cannot decide whether the person desires your company or not. And maybe you can never know the answer to this social/emotional riddle.

“In my first year of college, being an introverted observer through and through, I felt uninvited in most spaces. Optimistically reaching out but not really toward a reciprocative reception was surely a challenge. But it got over with time, I think.” Bakhtawar Iqbal, an outgoing student of Hindu College believes that imposing yourself on others can be easily felt by you first. The air of discomfort, the eye-contact exchanges, airy conversations that do not register you; you get the hints. “But my idea of imposing myself on others is not problematic so long as I am not manipulative; so long as I am not forcing an opinion on others. As for imposing my company on others, I have not shied away from taking the out. It feels embarrassing but its really liberating. If you do not feel you belong, you take the walk out.” says Bakhtawar.

It is very important to define the lines in relationships. Even in the most comfortable of relationships, you need to know when you overstep the boundaries into someone’s private space. Maybe it can even be helpful to ask people, “Am I imposing myself on you?” or “Do you need some space?”. You cannot withhold your emotional expression lest it be considered imposing. You cannot keep the emotions pent up. Yet even in this intrusion, even as it slides in- your fear of being imposing or ‘unwanted’- you should always be ready to know when you need to exit. For the sake of expression, you cannot enforce repentance on your own. This is not, in anyway, escapist I think. If you do not feel like burdening someone with your ‘emotional baggage’, it is absolutely fine. It is in fact for the good of both the listener and speaker,” a student from Shri Ram College of Commerce articulates the importance of expression in the wake of the fear of imposition.

“But never imposing and then occasionally enjoying someone’s hospitality is a balance I can never get right,” he says further.

“There is a certain point of time wherein you feel low, and at this moment, nothing outside of your own singular calm pleases you,” Debopriya Bhattacharya, a literature major from Hindu College states. “It has always been so for me, at least,” she adds. College days are sometimes entire days of frustration smattered with laughs here and there. In your moment of dullness, people close to you are easy to catch you unaware; searching for the causes of your dullness. Simple questions like the following become confrontations: “You seem a little off today, is everything okay?”

She adds, “We tend to hurt people closest to us the most in our moments of mental rifts. It is because these people do not abandon you outrightly. These people will many a time assume that they have an unintended part in adding to your dullness. They will apologise or even compensate for something they did not even do. And that, somehow translates into becoming an imposition for you instead.” A lot of us do not address certain issues simply because we feel that the emotional baggage is ours to bear alone. Sharing your dilemma means imposing your issues on others because no matter what, the issues will affect the other person’s sense of decision. As much as staying silent about things is your choice, you cannot make the choice or decision on the listener’s part to listen.

“Recently, when one of my friends started seeing someone, I felt entirely abandoned despite her attempts to spend her time with me. And in that, I felt that every minute she spent with me, was a minute that she would rather spend with someone else. But then I circled back to the idea of her practising her will in this regard. I do not wish to impose my company on her. But then, whatever changes, it is her choice to maintain a balance or withdraw. I cannot make that selfsame choice for her.” shares a third year student from Ramjas College. Despite our anxieties about being imposing, what really is our choice is to live in the moment. So in that moment, if you must be extra or imposing, then that is just how it is. It is the other person’s reactions and their priorities that establish the truth of your imaginative insecurities. So whether you are being imposing or enforcing your company on others, that is for others to decide, not you.

Feature Image Credits: Medium

Kartik Chauhan

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