It’s funny to think about friendships in the last ten years. Twitter, blogs, Skype, Facebook… all have changed the way we categorise and experience friendships. Often, predominately online friendships can be as strong as ‘in person’ connections, or even more so given the safety net of distance and text. This weekend has been an interesting – and valuable – experience: Someone I’ve known for about six years – mostly online – stayed with us over the weekend for a catchup, a learning/working session with Neil, and a general break from day to day life. Neil is close to this same person as well and so every time we get together, it’s a lovely and comfortable event. We’re all cut from the same, or certainly similar, cloth.
I’ve spent most of the weekend away from the normal social web and focussed on our ‘in person’ friendship. Neil worked part of the weekend, so the friend and I hung out a lot together. We broke through something in these last few days, something that I experience with very few people (I can name you all on one hand, and probably still not use all my fingers) and that is the complete comfort of quiet, zero demands, total trust and openness. A rare and treasured thing.
We’d always been very open and honest online, but sometimes I would feel awkward in person as proximity took away safety net of distance and replaced it with a face to look into. I am a very open person, (it’s almost a defence mechanism, my openness), but I can be awkward with people I care about when I don’t have the padding of the internet between us. It’s like being suddenly naked and the internet was a protective layer of clothing. Getting to know someone is easy – knowing someone deeply is hard and makes me feel vulnerable.
Well, this weekend did us both good, my friend and me. I even took him to my therapy session this morning. I’ve never intentionally held secrets from this person, (we can truly talk about anything), so I was happy with whatever came out in the appointment. It felt good. I don’t feel vulnerable.
He’s left to go back to his home hours away. I think we’re already both looking forward to his next visit. Back to the internet until then…