On Friendship

I spent the morning with a new friend and over breakfast we chatted about friendship and what that really means; that topic has been something I’ve been thinking about for a long, long time.

We were both teleported back to middle school / high school and how we both deeply contemplated those things and tried to “figure” it out, find a formula that would work and something that we could solve for.

Being an engineer and relatively binary in nature, I’ve struggled to understand (or at least semi-acquiesce) to what seems to be true: Friendship is simultaneously impossible to define at yet, at the exact same time, you know it when you see it – it’s true when it’s true.

My wife, for instance, is my best friend (as many of your partners and spouses are). I feel safe, comfortable, and feel okay with being vulnerable. The rest of the world gets a “slice” of what’s really going on inside my head and my heart.

Is this right? Is this fair? Is that healthy?

I’m not entirely sure but there’s something within me that wants to be known in my entirety everywhere and all the time instead of versions or iterations of myself in distinctly different contexts, circumstances and with relational boundaries and professional political proxies.

Honestly, I think deep down we all just want to be known, for who we are, the good and the bad, without guilt and without shame. We want that for ourselves and we also want that for others. We want to know others as they are just as much as we want to be known by others, fully, completely, honestly.

But, admitting to this reality, this truth… is dangerous. Frightening. I can literally sit here meditating on this thought and shots of hot adrenaline run down my legs and spine. The thought is scary as fuck.

Because this would mean that I must engage with everyone that I meet with an open posture, one that would make me completely vulnerable all the time. Because without that first step, without the initiative, no one would know or reciprocate.

And I’m just not interested in getting hurt. No one is. But, it just might be worth it.

A few thoughts over the years on the topic of “friendship”:

There’s something within me that says I’ll wrestle with this for the rest of my life. That’s a truly uncomfortable thought.