This morning, John and I took a walk with two of our friends, another couple whom we are so lucky to know. Everyone had coffee (not me, though! I get the zoomies) and we strolled around Ravenswood enjoying the sunshine and beautiful weather. We talked about movies, books, projects, and how much we missed traveling. (Good lord, I miss traveling.) It was a wonderful way to start the morning.
Some relationships take work, especially in our pandemic-informed world. Sometimes you have to pick up the phone or tune into the Zoom meeting, and sometimes it's frustrating based on whether or not you like the person on the other end...but we do these things because there are certain societal expectations: work obligations, social obligations, the yearly Holiday call, etc.
And then there are truly effortless relationships. These are the ones you drop what you're doing once you see the contact name light up your phone screen, or the ones that make you smile as you put the hangout into your calendar. The key to these relationships being flawless isn't necessarily having everything in common. I've realized that it comes down to one factor.
It's all about being comfortable with being yourself, and both parties totally accepting each other as they are by creating space in conversation to speak and to listen, and most importantly to hear. Hearing also manifests in body language. For example, a phrase like "I see that you're looking a little blue today," when the other person isn't ready to say it can be a wonderful way to show that you're listening. It's a basic acknowledgement of the human experience, and it works healing magic.
If I am being honest, I spend most of my time only being a pale shade of myself. I sit quietly over long dinners, entertain small talk and redirect it to take the spotlight off of myself, listen through my phone's receiver, only giving feedback to show that I am listening and that I care, and definitely turn down my quirkiness I have learned to embrace as I get older. I don't know exactly how I became conditioned to act this way, but I think the answer is somewhere in between the church pews where I was expected to be silent and sit or stand whenever someone told me to, and the barroom career I developed where I have to be someone else to show the room a good time.
I'm not complaining. It's just a fact of life. We can't be all of ourselves all of the time (especially not in professional situations) and our ability to Chameleon our way through different situations is actually pretty cool. It can be a survival technique or a way to win at poker every time. It can even be fun.
All I'm saying is that I'm grateful to have a couple of friends who let me feel entirely like myself every time. The relationship is effortless, the conversations are mutual and easy and extremely wholesome. I'm just feeling thankful right now, and John feels the same way, so I can be confident that the awesome-friend factor lies with these two lovely, kind people who were up for coffee and a walk this morning. If you stumble upon this, thank you.
Until tomorrow, stay safe, stay well, and stay kind.