The do's and don'ts of a professional people misser

Faraway. Utah. We have the extraordinary pleasure to converse again with our guest psychologist Ph.D. Carl Gustav Young. Today’s topic is how to miss someone gracefully, miss them in a professional manner. Dr. Young will share parts of his insight with us and enumerate some of the do’s and don’ts of being a professional people misser. He assures us this is an art that can be perfected if only the individual is willing to follow a certain set of rules.

Dr. Young how would you define the concept of missing someone?

Henry, I have to tell you, the spectrum is quite broad, but let me try and split it into two predominant psychological categories: amateur and professional missing. It is much like the difference between acute and chronic suffering. A chronic misser does not foster the expectation to recover from his sadness, nor does he desire that outcome. What he actually does want is to make sure he is never cured. Henry, imagine two people waiting for the train in an abandoned railway station. The professional misser knows perfectly well that no train is going to arrive. At this point, his job is to never stop looking, nor waiting. He knows the futility of it and that’s what drives him: a sense of steadfastness in his folly. Whereas an amateur misser looks forward to stop wishing for the train to arrive, the amateur wants to leave the train station, he probably wishes never to have set foot there in the first place. Does this make sense to you, Henry? There is a fundamental difference in their Weltanschauung.

Oh, absolutely. That’s very interesting Carl. But how do you save yourself from self-pity in this case? It seems like a slippery slope to me. What happens to the professional misser in winter? He’ll be cold and start wishing for a warm abode.

That’s the heavy part, Henry. That’s where the professional misser becomes some kind of artist. It takes a real master to walk this line. And to become a master you have to train yourself daily, you must develop a technique and then perfect it. Here are a few tips for achieving this hard task.

Walking on desolation row with dignity isn’t for everybody.

Carl, please do point out for us a few do’s and don’ts and help our readers achieve the elevated stage of a professional misser.

My pleasure, Henry. Let’s start with a few less desired patterns of behavior and move on to approved and more constructive ones.


1. Don’t relativize your experience. There is plenty of fish in the sea, but who is into fish really?

2. Don’t rationalize your feelings. Let the moments of innocence and mystery stay exactly what they are.

3. Don’t deny that something of importance has happened. Cultivate your memory. Be brave.

4. For the love of God, do not google your way out of it.

5. Don’t let memory’s arteries clog with self-pity. It’s a thankless job, I tell you.

6. Whiskey


1. Accept you’ll sometimes involuntarily get back on the tracks of an amateur misser.

2. Keep your anger, frustration and internal screaming to yourself. Bottle them up the old fashion way. Whatever it takes not to burden the object of your longing with your weakness.

3. Accept that you have been humbled by beauty and kindness. Renounce arrogance, cynicism, and pride.

4. Rejoice in the beauty of sadness.

5. Study the history and nuances of the term Saudade. Ask yourself why it is untranslatable. Answer, if you can.

6. Bourbon

One last question, Carl. A brilliant writer pointed out in one of her books that ‘once a thing is known, it can never be unknown. It can only be forgotten’. How important is memory in the life of a professional people misser?

It is everything, Henry. Memory lies at the core of a professional misser’s identity. And yet, he must keep walking. A professional misser doesn’t have to and shouldn’t be a miserable person too. He must integrate the longing for the train that’s never going to arrive in his present and future experience. He will eventually have to admit to himself that his happiness was and is greater than his sadness. He might resist it at first, but deep down he is fully aware. See point 5 of our don’ts list.

Alright, Carl. Fair enough. Well, thank you!!!! This was… fun!

My pleasure, Henry! Until next time! Thanks for having me!

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