When someone sends me a text that says “I miss you” they will likely get one of two responses:

“You’ve been busy… but it’s nice to know you’ve wanted to see me.”

That’s me being kind. The not-so-kind response someone might get is…

“I don’t know why you miss me. I’ve lived at the same address for over 20 years. Same phone number 15 years. I’ve had the same email since Google launched Gmail in 2004. There’s literally no reason to miss me. If you had really wanted to spend time with me, you could have asked and we could have made plans.”

You see, the phrase “I miss you” holds a bittersweet sentiment. While reflective of a longing for someone’s presence, it also reveals a reluctance to take concrete action to make plans to spend time together. It infers a message of “you’re cool and I like your energy”, but simultaneously says:

  • you’re not worth the effort
  • you’re not a priority
  • you’re not worth making a commitment

Relationships at their very core require intentionality, they don’t “just happen”. They have to be cultivated. And that requires the element of TIME (which isn’t real, by the way). Also, quality time is one of the five love languages – and it is my most predominant love language, btw.

When you express feelings (I miss you) without accompanying actions (Let’s make some plans), it may momentarily soothe the ache of separation, but ultimately it falls short and leads to a cycle of longing without resolution. It is an indicator you take a passive approach to maintaining relationships, relying on fleeting expressions of emotion rather than proactive efforts to nurture connections.

Enter misunderstandings and unmet expectations… While I could interpret the message as a desire for closeness, it breeds frustration and disappointment. Instead, this phrase serves as a placeholder for more tangible actions. And I am a woman of ACTION!

While your sentiment may indeed be genuine, it lacks commitment and intentionality. Instead of actively engaging in plans to bridge the distance and strengthen bonds, you chose to find fleeting solace in expressing longing without taking steps to address it.

Do I ever say “I miss you”? Of course I have…. but, when those words come to mind, I tend to lead with, “I’d like to spend some time with you, I’m missing you. What’s your schedule like? Can we get together this weekend?” To me, that fixes the problem I thought I had and intentionally puts forth the effort to cultivate a growing friendship.

But… what if there is a lot of distance and getting together can’t happen? 

I have a friend… someone I met fairly recently. I loved her energy and the connection we had made. We weren’t close in proximity and our schedules didn’t magically intersect. We would text on occasion, which often would lead to a phone call. She would show up at events I was hosting or other events I had told her about so we could connect in person. But then…. she moved even farther – out of state. It takes real intentionality to maintain, let alone grow a relationship in this circumstance. Weeks will go by without any communication. But when her face randomly pops up in my mind and I think “I really miss her”, I shoot off a text. We find time to get on a call. Do I miss her? Yes. But I only text/say those words as I’m making an effort for connection. While we may not get together in-person, I am still putting forth the effort to foster the friendship.

But Andra… you’re so busy! 

Yes, I am busy. Intentionally. And I keep a calendar full of all the things I’m doing, and all the things I want to do. If someone misses me and would like to spend time with me, within a few minutes I can speak on my availability and a plan can be made.

In the business world, being too available creates a low-value perception. Business advisors suggest providing a limited window of availability when scheduling meetings. It shows you are in demand, while also indicating your calendar/schedule is a priority and further implying you are dependable. This spills over to your personal life. If you are always available, meaning you don’t have personal interests, don’t make an effort to get out and do things, then I might wonder if we make plans will you actually show up? Or are you the type that flakes out because you’d rather stay home and do nothing?

I had an acquaintance reach out to me a week ago. She expressed an interest in hanging out and spending some time together. I asked her what her schedule was like. She responded that weekends were better for her. I responded with “next Sunday?” And like magic, we have plans to get together on Sunday. It’s now Friday, and while we don’t have a specific time and place/activity nailed down, I have held that space on my calendar specifically to spend with her. After I finish this post, I am going to initiate finalizing those plans. But my point is… it is not challenging to reserve time, even for the busiest people on planet. In actuality, it is the busiest people who are likely the easiest to make plans with, because they intentionally own their schedule.

The Shadow Work of “I miss you” is a reflection of your own lack to initiate connection. It says, you are not connected with yourself, or with your schedule. It says, you aren’t taking initiative to cultivate connection with another. The shadow of “I miss you” requires you to understand why plans haven’t been made, why connection hasn’t happened, and what has been your role in remaining distant?

But… what if you miss someone, you make the initiative to make plans, but the other party doesn’t engage? What if they are reluctant to make any plans?

Ahhh… and this is why those words are triggering for me. Because, I’ve been in the situation where I put my life, my schedule, my desires on hold because I wanted to be available to spend time with someone who ultimately didn’t value me. I would try to initiate plans and would be rejected. Over and over. Why did I continue to pursue someone who clearly demonstrated they didn’t value our connection?

….this is the work I have been doing!

Do I miss them? Yes, deeply. But it is a feeling that cannot soothed through expression anymore. So I won’t text those words. I’m moving on. I recognize the lack of alignment, lack of commitment, and low priority I was given. They chose not to foster a connection. So I am honoring that and choosing relationships and friendships that reciprocate the energy I give.

So please…. if you find yourself missing someone, don’t settle for expressing your emotions passively. Instead, take the initiative to make plans and create opportunities for meaningful interaction. Schedule a phone call or video chat, plan an outing, find an event to attend, or simply carve out time to engage in heartfelt conversation beside a fire or at a local coffee shop. And if they can’t find time in their life or gain ownership over their schedule, then it might be time to move on from that relationship.