It’s not how long but how deeply

It’s not how long we know each other but how deeply.

I have friends I’ve known for years who don’t feel as close as some I’ve known for only a few evenings. I’ve stayed up all night with a few friends, and one on one that tends to drive us closer together than a year of here and there.

It’s not how long we know each other but how deeply.

This explains more of the reason behind “loving while you can.” Because when it comes down to it, it doesn’t take that long. It’s not like this drawn out, “five years of dating and two years of engagement” deal. Friendships and relationships and everything that resembles either don’t depend so much on time as they do on deepness.

It’s not how long but how deeply.

Or in more practical terms, it’s not how long we know each other but how much time we spend listening and paying attention to each other one on one.

“Listening and paying attention” of course doesn’t mean being quiet. The conversation can ebb and flow. Both sides listen and pay attention, which means both sides at times need to talk and share. What it also means, though, is cutting out other activities that suck attention away, like movies or math problems.

Also, “one on one” of course doesn’t mean alone together. Sometimes you can find one on one attention in the middle of a group or in the middle of a crisis.

Or even another way to think of it, it’s not how long but how vulnerable we get. Forget time altogether. Forget measuring that way. Time is just a measure of change. But sometimes if you change so much in a matter of moments, time loses its ability to provide a comparison.

Like we could spend a whole evening, a whole night and see the sunrise the next morning, together just hanging out. We could talk about work or food or whatever. And yeah, we’d get close. But in the course of that evening, if one of us disclosed something we’d only told maybe two or three other people before, suddenly in that moment we’d shoot light years ahead in the relationship.

Do that a couple times, exchanging volleys, and sure enough time stops playing into the equation at all. Deepness then becomes about how well we’re connected with one another.

Why’s all this matter?

It matters because I, for one, routinely try to evaluate my relationships based on how long we’ve known one another, assuming longer time means a deeper relationship. This also plays into how I think of the future too. Like if we’re not going to know each other for long, then it’s not going to get to be that strong of a relationship, which in turn means I’ll tend to skimp on how much I contribute to it.

Instead, I should be evaluating based on depth, based on how much time we’ve spent or will spend listening and paying attention one on one, based on how vulnerable we have or will become.

It’s not how long but how deeply.