It’s really common as a young person today to be aloof in the pursuit of relationships and friendships. To show just the right amount of interest, send the perfectly timed text, the subtle Snapchat. Ask your favorite teenager or college student; they’ll tell you all about the terms we have somehow agreed upon. It’s extremely common. It’s also exhausting. We’re in a game with rules that switch all the time, and no referees, and really, no winners.
Being single has been, in my eyes, such a good opportunity. To sit back, watch and think about what’s important to me in another person. In the people I call friends, or more than that, I know what I’m striving for. I don’t even know if what I want is to be loved; it’s more specific than that. I believe that we all crave to be truly known, understood, seen. To be seen for the complex and multifaceted people that we are.
Unfortunately, we can’t just upload the contents of our minds into someone else’s. The knowing comes so gradually, like moving the ocean spoonful by spoonful. The knowing comes in the smallest ways; in thunderous laughter and the most natural, comfortable conversations. It transcends the lyrics of songs and shared glances that don’t need words along with them. It comes through teasing and listening and challenging. It comes in coffee shops and through tears and during arguments. It comes on quiet tree-lined trails and in crappy bars pulsing with loud music.
A lifetime is probably not even enough to learn every spoonful of someone else’s ocean of thoughts. But we have to try.
The crashing and swirling of thoughts that surge through your mind all day can’t just reach someone else all at once. But sometimes I wish they could. It would be incredible, unspeakably moving, to look at someone and feel known, seen, with nothing held back. To see and to be seen, through and through.