“I can have conversations with you that I don’t even have with my closest friends.”
I’ve heard this more than once and usually from people who I don’t consider that close. It’s a narcissism thing — I think most people struggle with talking. I struggle with communication in an opposing way than many others. I don’t quite know how to keep conversations that are light or free of opinions, I think everything can be a discussion in some way and I don’t mind disagreeing with those I consider close.
I once knew a woman who structured her life around an idealistic Instagram world view. Her friends and she were very much invested in appearances. I’m not saying she didn’t have close friends or people she considered family but she certainly built a box for herself. When I say her life was built like Instagram I mean that she had a fixation with appearances, she wanted her life to look perfect and felt uncomfortable reaching out emotionally. She wasn’t emotionless, I’d witnessed her feel betrayed by her friends but she hadn’t approached her friend to discuss it, instead she’d attacked her friend by letting out secrets to her friends. Her friends had done the same to her. It was a weird play where nothing was a secret but no one trusted anyone to know anything about the other.
We first got to know each other because we were simply in proximity with each other. Her personality wasn’t the type of person I’d hang out with and I imagine I was unlike any of her friends. I can’t remember what exactly it was we were talking about at the time but I do remember we’d only really started talking for three months and I treated her as an acquaintance at best. At that time she’d told me that the conversations we had were things she didn’t feel comfortable discussing with people she’d known her whole life. I was confused.
I’d asked her ‘why not?’ And she’d just sort of looked at me, she hadn’t expected that response.
‘We just don’t talk about this kind of stuff.’ I didn’t know how to respond so I just sort of nodded. I don’t know what she thought of my response or of the situation.
My first and foremost philosophy about relationships, whether platonically or not is that everything should be based on honesty. If you’re not honest then what is the point? You can’t spend your life playing a character and you wouldn’t enjoy it at the end of the day anyway. If people don’t like the honest you, for whatever reason, then you’re better off without that relationship. Does this mean that you should be headstrong and only think of yourself? Absolutely not. Being honest with others is being honest with yourself.
There’s always room for improvement. If you can be honest with someone then letting them know when you’re a dick, when they need you, when you need them should be normal. I think it’s common to disagree on subjects. Even difficult ones. Because people come from different backgrounds and bring opinions based on culture, history, personal experience every person has a voice to bring the table. You can choose to disagree or agree. The foundations of your agreements or disagreements can then lend to ‘is it worth it’ to stick to your point of view. I’ve had relationships end because the fundamental disagreements between us weren’t worth maintaining the relationship. If there was nothing left but a toxic bridge then sometimes you do have to abandon it.
At the same time I’ve had relationships that are better because we’re different. Not everything has an answer and we can agree to disagree. I’ve learned that there are things that we fundamentally disagree on and it’s because neither of us know how to solve an issue and that’s okay. We need to understand why we think that way and if the other can accept those disagreements.
I think relationships can be fickle or long lasting. There’s no answer to how to build a friendship because the best ones are organic. I think it’s healthy to challenge your friends when you fundamentally disagree. And if your friendships are worth it then I think it’s worth it to come to a consensus. It can be a compromise, a change of mind, or an agreement to disagree.