I found myself wondering the other day about friends, and whether the ease of conversation has a role to play in whether a friendship will develop. I was with someone whom I had previously considered a friend, when I began thinking about it all. We had trouble spending time together easily. That sounds odd, but I mean it. We were fine spending time with one another – there was no specific issue, per se, that arose. It just wasn’t an easy hangout.
You know the friends with whom you never seem to lack a topic for discussion? You can go on and on together, covering who knows what topics, whether you last saw one another years ago or a matter of mere minutes ago. It’s just easy. That’s the easy that I mean. We were okay spending time together, but we weren’t having an easy time-spending together – we were just together.
I even found myself noticing that I was looking forward to being done spending time with the friend. (I suppose that this was the point at which I began truly wondering if we were actual friends, or just acquaintances.) I considered what I had next on the agenda, and noticed how excited I got about spending time with the next person on my schedule. I knew instantly that she and I would never run out of discussion. Sure, we could potentially come up to some quiet times, but they wouldn’t be uncomfortable, and they would be followed soon enough by more excited conversation. This friend is a particularly happy one, so the conversations are usually quite excited, however, the point was not about the exciting conversation, but rather the fact that we never had to search for topics of conversation – it always just flowed. As I considered this, I had the thought that that was what is present in friendships. That ease of conversation is necessarily part of a friendship.
I also noticed, again, that the current friend and I did not have this. It felt as though we didn’t have enough in our lives that was even somewhat on the same path, and so we didn’t have much to discuss. It isn’t even about commonalities so much – a baseball lover and baseball hater could always talk about and argue over baseball – as it is about being aligned somehow. And we really just aren’t aligned. I had already noticed that by how little I related to things this friend would say, and how I often felt almost offended by certain ideas and ways of thinking that this friend expressed and presented. And so I saw that we really are more of acquaintances than friends… and, what’s more, I rather feel as though I don’t much want to become friends. I guess we’ll see how that goes in a few years…
(See, I got all distracted in that, I forgot the second half of this all!)
In contrast to that, I spent time with someone tonight who had been a childhood friend. Though we had bits here and there regarding catching up on things, most of our conversation was not that. It was about all sorts of things. Naturally, I found myself in the middle of it all, specifically remembering my thoughts from the other day about ease and flow of conversation for friends. It took almost no effort to talk. We always had something to discuss. The conversation space felt open and safe. It was just easy.
It was so easy, in fact, I got blisters from walking so much in my sandals. I planned for a 30-minute walk, with a maximum of 45 minutes. Four hours later, and after a call from my mother (I’m living with her currently) to tell me to come home and go to bed, since I have to be up early tomorrow morning, I finally found myself heading home. We walked and talked and sat and talked, and then walked and talked some more before sitting and talking even more. Like I mentioned, it was just easy. And that is how I feel talking with a friend goes. This is not to say that acquaintances can’t have that – we are currently acquaintances, I believe. It is simply that friends do have it.
The people whom I truly love, they and I have that ease every time we are together (be it physically or digitally together).