A reader asked the following question:
Is closure an American phenomenon? Do other cultures just say “piss off” and go on their merry ways?
I think it is, indeed, very American. There is no equivalent to the word in Russian and Ukrainian. I also have never come across either the term or the reality it is supposed to denote in the Spanish-speaking cultures I’m familiar with.
As I see it, the English-speaking culture sees any kinds of relationships between people as hugely problematic. English-speakers find it a lot harder than people from many other cultures to establish any sort of contact with each other. This is probably why I’m considered to be super-sociable here in North America. A foreign autistic finds it much easier to connect to people than a North American neurotypical – this has got to tell you something.
English-speakers try to obviate the difficulties they experience in interpersonal communication by creating a series of rules that are supposed to regulate any human contact. The concept of closure is one of those rules. I can see how it might be useful in a culture that views any form of human communication as inherently dangerous. For me, however, it has no use. When I left my ex-husband, for instance, I just packed and moved out. Then I sent him the divorce papers. We met a couple of times after that but there were no closure-related conversations. I had decided it was over, so it was.
So to answer the reader’s question, I do just say “piss off” and move on.