The Trouble with Instant Connections

by Caroline van Kimmenade

Instant connections can feel like the most magical thing in the world, right? You meet someone and something just clicks. You don’t even know what it is exactly. I mean, you barely know this person! But you just feel connected somehow. If only all of life could be so easy!

When we feel an instant connection, it’s “logical” to assume that there must be a happy higher purpose to it. Surely, we wouldn’t feel that way if it wasn’t the right kind of connection for us, would it?

And yet, there can be a problem. A big problem.

Let’s start with this:

There is a difference between being compatible versus being similar versus feeling an instant connection.

Let’s explore that!

When you’re compatible…

You’re similar in helpful ways and also different in helpful ways. You guys work well together because where you might be the enthusiastic go-getter, the other person might be the one who offers reflective and helpful thought – or vice versa.

You have a “team” thing going. You hate answering the phone, they love answering the phone – so the phone gets answered – and you both value transparency in the workplace and have your lunches together at 1 pm – you both agree that’s the perfect eating time.

Being similar is when…

You spend some time getting to know someone and realise: they also prefer books over movies, because they also like to create their own images. They also have a totalitarian father and they also rebelled against it by becoming super independent.

They also like to take time exploring one big question instead of firing off 20 small questions. They also eat vegan lunches. They also like to share what they learned with others in all possible ways, and on and on and on.

So, both being compatible and being similar requires that you really get to know the other person.

But instant connection is different.

You can have an instant connection with a stranger you never met and don’t really know. It sure feels magical!

Yet, what often happens with an instant connection is that you are a different kind of match on a subconscious level. Usually, it happens when the other person is the yin to your yang, the moon to your sun, the shadow to your light… you get the metaphor.


drawing of two people connecting with double arms


Is this a good thing?

Ehm, often it isn’t.

This is a person who is the opposite of how you tick. You value giving, they value taking. You value hard work, they value doing as little as possible. You value exploring new ideas, they value emphasising what they learned 20 years ago. They value suppressing and getting rid of their emotions, you value processing them.

When you meet someone who is an opposite like this, a lot of energy starts moving.

It’s like you being the soup kitchen and them being the homeless person. You make the meal, they devour the meal. You create the space, they fill the space. You need to give, they need to take. It feels intense, meaningful. They walk in and things start happening. (Fire up the ovens! Get the tables ready!).

It also works the other way around of course. Some people reading this blog are on the hunt for a soup kitchen like this and when they find one, they feel instantly connected too, who wouldn’t!

Ideally – on a Soul Purpose kind of level – an instant connection like this helps you get clearer on who you are and what you didn’t know about yourself. Yet, that’s also exactly where the trouble is. It tends to take a lot of time (and pain) to slowly discover how different and incompatible the two of you really are.

There is a big difference between volunteering at a soup kitchen once a week, versus having a homeless person as your friend, mentor or housemate!

(And yes, there is also a big difference between “homeless” as in: temporarily between jobs and sleeping in the car due to a relationship tiff, versus making a living on the streets your permanent lifestyle – so for example purposes, I mean the latter. Which is not to say that homeless people are “bad”, just that being in an intense relationship with someone who cannot support themselves, likely has a drug abuse problem, is probably feeling miserable and doesn’t have a lot to give, will drag you down immensely. If you wanted to help, you’d need lots and lots of boundaries, and not to submit to any kind of magical connection feeling.)

And no, I don’t mean that you’ll literally feel instant connections with actual and obvious homeless people. Rather, it’s about what’s happening beneath the surface. They may be in the same field as you, and talk the same talk but have a radically different deeper attitude about everything.

Here’s a simple example. If you make a habit of looking at the bright side, and they tend to emphasise the “problem” with everything, then initially, you’ll feel encouraged to share of yourself. They feel bad, you cheer them up. You talk about the same topics, but from opposite angles. There is a lot of instant interaction. They go “bah” you go “yay”!

Now, if this was happening in a really obvious way, you’d probably drop that sense of magical instant connection pretty quickly – gosh, it’s getting depressing!

Yet, what usually happens is that these dynamics happen outside your conscious sphere of awareness. They are very very subtle at first. They hit your blind spots and the things about yourself you don’t really realise or see.

So in that way, unhealthy dynamics do become visible over time, but it tends to take a really long time (months, years instead of hours or days).

When the dynamics are subtle enough, you may never see it. You’re just left feeling intensely connected to someone who is “so great” but you can’t put your finger on why your own mental health has been going downhill since you started spending so much time together.

To that I say – beware of the instant magical connection. When you do get into one, the only way to really get disentangled is through the inner work that addresses those blindspots.

P.S. Did you recently get blindsighted like this? I can help! I have tons of experience with and tools for dealing with subtle connections of all kinds. You can set up a call with me here to get clarity on what’s happening in your specific situation.



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