Perhaps Absence Does Make the Heart Grow Fonder

The proverb “absence makes the heart grow fonder” describes the feeling of greater affection between friends and lovers who are kept apart. It is a phrase that, in one form or another, can be traced back for millennia—the Roman poet Sextus is credited with the earliest version of the phrase. (Technology Review)

Well, it may be that COVID is offering some evidence to support such a proverb.

While scrolling through the StudyFinds website trying to come up with a topic to write about, I saw two headlines that are much more interesting when combined.

Here was the first headline:

3 in 5 Americans haven’t celebrated the holidays with family in at least 2 years

and here was the second:

2 in 3 people feel more connected to their families than ever before thanks to COVID

Now there isn’t enough data to draw any conclusions, but at first glance, at least to me, those headlines might be suggesting that as a result of not celebrating holidays with family over the past two years, family members actually feel more connected to each other.

Perhaps Sextus came up with the proverb after a couple of years of not celebrating holidays with his family, and he realized he actually felt closer to them as a result.

I’m not sure if you can extrapolate from these studies, but is it possible that the best way to strengthen familial relationships is to actually never spend any time with them?

I certainly hope not…

*image from YouGov



62 thoughts on “Perhaps Absence Does Make the Heart Grow Fonder

      1. Exactly. You can sit at your computer with no pants on and unwashed for a week. In real life people may comment on these things. Yet actual physical interaction is always better than something less.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. I’m surprised someone named Sextus would be advocating absence. But I’ve learned to disregard any study relating to Covid unless Dr. Fauci endorses it. I only listen to Fauci. Fauci is Science. All hail the mighty Fauci!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have enjoyed watching most of the world adapt to my daily reality of being alone. So many are traumatized, while I quite enjoy it. I’m currently hoping it keeps me from catching omicron.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it is helpful to learn how to be comfortable with being alone. I also think it’s helpful to have some social interaction…

      I hope you stay healthy!


      1. Thanks.
        I’ll talk to anyone, anywhere. I was really dependent on others doing things with me till I realized I was missing life waiting for people to agree to go with me. Once I started doing things alone I realized it was fun!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Me too!!! In between posting the comment and now, I saw a meme that basically said the same… don’t put your life on hold because you can’t find anyone to go with you. I have experienced SO MUCH since figuring that out!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Those two sentences typify the political leanings of the “reporter” these days certainly in the U.K. It all depends on how they want to portray something, especially around Covid. But it was the same with Brexit, where you could find “data” either as facts or opinions to support whatever you wanted to portray. Now it’s Covid where competing data is produced even by scientists.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not going to give Covid credit for this one, but one consequence has been that my brothers and I have a monthly Zoom meeting now. I do think there’s truth in the saying of absence making the heart grow fonder. One of my best friends got back together with her husband this year, and she has uttered that phrase after a few years of separation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, I don’t think covid could have an affect on family relationships, unless there ae strong disagreements on how best to manage covid.

      nice to hear about your friend getting back with her husband…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It is often the case that we do not recognize our fondness for something until we are made to do without it. And although we have found innumerable ways to communicate in this day and age, we still long for physical proximity. I would have found the “Sextus” reference funnier if we had been talking about “abstinence” rather than “absence”. Four out of five dentists think the fifth dentist is an idiot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that physical contact is important.

      and that would have been funny is it had been abstinence with Sextus 🙂

      there’s always that one dentist…


  6. As usual, you are so funny. It is so much easier to talk to family members on the phone or internet without getting irritated by their mannerisms. LOL I get along great with my family. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It could be the way the sentences are phrased (which IMO is pretty sloppy). When I read the first sentence “with family” makes me think of extended family, my brothers, my father, etc. The second sentence “their family” (i.e. *my* family) makes me think of my wife and kids. I would answer both of these affirmatively, because in my mind they are talking about different families.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I still miss experiencing more of the in-person connections whether with family, church, school soccer matches, or just being out and about. My wife and I have been much more active since becoming vaccinated in May and recently boosted, but we still use some common sense with reducing our exposure.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes. Kind of like not really being able to have a snow day anymore, it can be a sort of double-edged sword. Of course, as far as the snow days for you and others among my teacher friends, don’t complain! Most of you still get more time off than other poor working stiffs. Of course, I can make that complaint since I’m now retired, which I highly recommend to any and everyone I know. A couple of them have even finally listened to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. us teachers do get some decent time off, but nothing wrong with getting a bonus one!

      and I have heard great things about retirement; I’m just a couple of years away myself, fingers crossed…

      Liked by 1 person

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