Being absent and missing out on things can be turned into a positive if done right. A primal human need is to be made to feel important, as popularized by Dale Carnegie. This is what makes us attend social events and gatherings, and not want to miss out on events that we hold dear to our ego. When you choose not to be in attendance for any particular gathering or event, all your ideas, your words, your thoughts, and actions that may have made it into reality if you were present, did not. The absence of your presence, and thereby input, prevents you from making mistakes. It prevents weaknesses coming to light for others to analyze, and it prevents others from seeing you in a different light.
This article is not written to encourage you to be a recluse. However, it strives to encourage you to feel better about missing out on certain social gatherings and events.
Every thought and action that you put out in the world can be used against you if the time is right. The best way to limit content that can be used against you is to be strict with the type of content you put out, and how much of it gets put out. Absence works to limit the amount of data your friends and enemies have to use against you. You will better be able to control your narrative and separate out those who do not need to hear or see any content of yours.
Another critical aspect of leveraging absence is to always be absent for events that are out of the habitual context related to the group that attends. That is a complicated way of saying that maybe, it’s best to not attend social gatherings with your colleagues. Controlling what context you are seen in and limiting it to only one is important in maintaining power. By maintaining others’ knowledge and understanding of you to one specific setting / environment, you’re able to portray fewer weaknesses. Your colleagues don’t know what you look like at a bar, and how you deal with men who come up to hit on you. Should you go out to a bar with your colleagues for the first time, their perception of you will shift. That shift of perception can slide toward negative or positive ways. If you’re a part of a close group of friends who hang out on Friday nights, maybe it’s best to not start a business with that group, as your friendship can hurt the business tasks at hand. You’d be more lenient with their excuses for not doing work. You’d forgive friends who are late to important meetings, and you’d likely have to pick up the slack for those who take advantage of your friendship with them.
There are various reasons in favor of missing out on cross-contextual events. Humans are bad at separating relationships and managing relationships that fall into multiple categories. Attending a social event at work may seem to be a good idea, but when in the heat of a work-heavy day in the future, things you say and do at these social gatherings may be brought up to hurt the professional work that attempt to put out.
Another reason to miss out on cross-contextual events is that once you go to a select few, and no matter how hard you try to keep your contexts separate (work/play), you will be expected to attend more in the future. The difficulty of keeping things in their proper contexts becomes much more difficult the more chances you give yourself to screw up.
Be careful mixing up the environment in which people see you if they’re used to seeing you in one specific light. Attending gatherings in which the proper context of the group’s relationships is not followed or is broken can do more harm than good. Missing out on cross contextual events can benefit you if the people who attend have only come to know you in one specific setting.