For me, love has always had a direct correlation with vulnerability. People who feel comfortable enough to expose their vulnerability to me and those whom I can trust with mine have probably been the most special. Of course, it works the other way around too. If I lose trust in someone for some reason, the first thing that will lead to a receding feeling of love is my unwillingness (or inability, really) to be open and vulnerable with them.
Ten or more years ago,
Swamime and friends were basically a big group of hormones and emotions on steroids. Even if we wanted and tried, vulnerability was hard to disguise. Personally, I would take that over polished conversations about politics any day. The only thing I’d perhaps change is the number of people whose drama (obviously associated with it) I’d embrace. The threshold for that has gone down. And my unverified sense is that this continuously declining threshold (which later converts into one for own babies) also has a big role to play in people ‘growing up’. And of course, it happens across entire networks of friends.
I must admit though that being a grown up is boring. The process of getting here has sucked out a lot of emotion and energy. Or as some people might want to put it, it has made them more ‘put together’ and ‘in control’. Right, like you can ever control life!
Coming back to people. The thing about those old emotionally charged times is that in most cases they see you and relationships through many years that follow. I may have not seen some people I consider my closest friends in over three years, but when I do, not for a moment will I think that I can’t discuss the colour of my poop or the shape of my heart with them. We built our floats together when we had all that unaccounted-for time. Most of those floats are in good shape.
Before you start questioning all this through the marital lens, yes, that does change things a little. But it doesn’t have to call for a “you are a different person now that you’re married” monologue. Of course, we are all different from what we used to be! Many come in a pack of two and that changes the dimension (ha!) of conversations at times. Some more significantly than others. But the core doesn’t change.
This is not how new friendships operate.
There are some people who are of the open and outgoing variety, willing to have a conversation about what’s on their minds. In my experience, they have been the easiest to forge a connection with. Mind you, they aren’t necessarily the centre-of-the-class attention grabbers. They often are, but the qualifier really is that they haven’t fully subscribed to the notion of being perfect when in public. And that’s enough to work with.
But a conversation about the weather, the parks, food or the movies, politics or M&As, one lovely vacation versus another, or even cats and maids doesn’t do it for me. It is utterly sad but it is true. I am guilty of indulging in this. And you know how peer pressure shows up at 30? If they don’t seem to fall or fail, how can they know that I do!