Physical proximity can make you get close to someone

Reflecting on a lot that has happened in my family, it got me thinking about how being physically close to each other made us close and more understanding of each other.

In December of 2019, my family moved from our rented apartment to our own house. The only thing was, our house wasn’t completed, it hadn’t even been roofed, there was no light but somehow we moved because my dad wasn’t going to spend money paying rent.

My dad only did one side of the building in the compound well. It was two bedroom with a living room, dining area and kitchen. If it were to be a two bedroom flat, it was a really good one in Abuja, however, that’s not what my family was used to.

You see, we were coming from a bigger space and my sister and I shared one room, while my two brothers shared another room and these rooms were big enough to occupy two people. We also had apartment space, a balcony, passage way and all the nice things that come with having a spacious apartment.

When we moved, things changed. My siblings and I (the four of us) had to stay in one room and we were all grown ups, my youngest sibling was 20 at that time. The living room and dining was just after our room, there was no passage way. If you left our room, you’d immediately land in the dining area and living room.

My family wondered how we would manage but we did manage for the time being. Of course, most of our properties didn’t enter this smaller space and so we kept them somewhere else in the compound.

My siblings and I struggled to make our one room work and to our surprise, it did. It was a bit uncomfortable, I’ll admit, because there was no privacy, at least not as much as I wanted and so everyone was somehow in everyone’s space and boy did I discover individual living lifestyles of my brothers 😂

It’s all funny now but yes, we all tried managing each other cause I’m sure they put up with me, my wahala and my sensitive ears (I can hardly sleep when people are talking around my space). Omo, my siblings and I tried.

Gradually, my dad continued building and we finally packed in to the main house, our actual home. Of course, it’s bigger than our two room space and even bigger than the apartment we once rented.

Going from a small space to a bigger space was simply amazing. My sister and I had our room and my brothers did as well. Everyday since we fully packed in January, I’ve not failed to appreciate God because it’s a big deal to me and I’m sure it is to my family as well.

Reflecting the other day, I realized that staying in that smaller space brought my family closer than before. COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 made us even closer because everyone was at home.

Being physically close to someone can reveal a lot about them and most of them might not be as good as you want. However, I think that’s what brings people even closer—once you see them in their vulnerable state and learn to live and get past annoying traits.

It was during our 2 years of staying in that smaller space that I understood my parents and siblings more. I admit that everyone annoyed me (sigh) but at the end, I had more empathy and understood more.

I could see my parents and sibling and know what bothered them. I also discovered things about them I never knew; both good and bad. Truth is, I believe we all grew closer to each other just by staying tightly together. Also, just as I understood my family to an extent, I think they might have felt the same way too.

For instance, I used to think one of my brother was distant but I realized that he was a little misunderstood and so being together, I’m sure he understood us better as we did same for him.

My siblings and I are not the tightest but I can say to an extent that there was a bond we built that being in a big space might not have made possible.

We’d all come back in the evening (from work, anything) and since everyone is in everyone’s space, we’ll gist about our day. At a point, everyone at home knew what was going on in my workplace, they only needed to put a face to the names. Same thing for my siblings. It wasn’t an easy period but it was all worth it. I’m talking like it’s all roses and sweets but it has its downsides of which finding everyone annoying and wanting to always get out for some space were my top 2 downsides.

We’re in a bigger space now and the boys and girls have their separate rooms. I realized that I can stay in my room from after family devotion in the morning till evening and I won’t come downstairs. In our smaller space, that wasn’t a possibility because whether you want to be seen or not, you will be seen.

I enjoy the me time I have now and personal space (it’s something I’ve longed for) but reflecting I realized how slowly but gradually, everyone is doing their own thing. We all talk and gist (my favorite time with my family), but I realize I might not be aware certain things are going on the way I was before (not like I should be aware of everything happening with everyone or should I?🤔😂).

Last week, I heard about something that happened for my dad and I was like, how did I not notice? It’s simple, we are not always in each other’s faces like before. My dad can be downstairs working and I’ll be up in my room, so it’s easy to not notice except I’m told. If I’m not with him, how would I be told?

I guess this is where intentionality happens. I might have to be intentional about ‘being in everyone’s business’ haha.

Anyway, all these got me thinking that physical proximity indeed breeds a form of closeness. That’s why roommates can be so close. It’s also why some people can’t do long- distance relationship.

I believe to make any type of relationship work when you’re not physically close to each other, there has to be a minimum level of intentionality. That’s why long-distance friendships and romantic relationships get strained after some time. It’s really not easy and requires intentional work.

If not for anything, I’m grateful God made my family and I spend the last 2 years closely together, I think it was necessary to make us bond better and it’s something I will never trade regardless of how uncomfortable it was at that time.

This brings me to the end of what I’m saying. Maybe there’s something to learn here, maybe not, but I thought to share this.

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