When you meet someone for the first time, what do you talk about? How do you know you click?
Some friends I have, we became friends after some time–afters barriers were down and a certain bond was created simply by spending time together. This circle of friends, it’s confined by space and time. When the time comes to separate with each other, the bond slowly blurs out of focus. I don’t miss them, I don’t keep memories of our time together. When we see each other again, we’re still friends, but there’s a ‘warm-up’ time needed to bring the friendship back to focus. Know what I mean? It’s like canned food–you know you can still eat them even after being left on the shelf for years, but you need to microwave them first.
Non-friends are like natto (Japanese fermented soy beans)–eating them before they’re stored away is bad for you because of the bacteria, and eating them after they’re stored away doesn’t taste too good either (for most people at least).
The other type of friends, there’s a deeper link connecting us. We became friends the instant we get to know each other. These are the kind that you chat with endlessly on the phone, that you worry about when s/he mixes up with the wrong crowd, that tells you how bad your attitude were when you sulked. We can not see each other for 15 years, have a reunion, and chat again like sisters (or brothers). They’re like wine–they gets better the older they get.
What’s the difference?
When you first know someone, you extend your mental feelers to probe how compatible s/he is with you. Questions are asked, conversations attempted. The questions’ type depends on how well you know their background. Total stranger: hometown, occupation. Kinda-know-their-family: their family. Business partners: business, news, family. School friends: school, social groups, friends. Etc. Y’see? All questions start from a safe homebase. The area you know they’re comfortable talking about. And then maybe, if you find similar things in what they do or what they like or, even better, what kind of person they are–then and only then can you plant the friendship seed.
Similarities is the boundary of our private comfort zones. Things outside that sphere are alien, a non-me. Getting to know different people expands that zone. You know how you can pick up an accent simply by spending a lot of time with the speaker? Habits and hobbies are just the same: you get to like the stuff that your friends like. Armed with those new habits, you can get to know a wider range of people.
Sometimes, though, there are people with whom you click right away, but then the relationship goes nowhere. I guess the only explanation for that is this: people can have an ‘intolerable zone’–unacceptable principles or habits that form a gaping hole in the middle of a relationship. However similar you are, once you know that s/he has this intolerable trait, that’s it. It goes nowhere further.
Moral of the story? I think it’s good to explore a lot of stuff and to travel to a lot of places, if only for the sake of having more friends.
(Why the title? Weathertalk is the ULTIMATE similarity–thus people talk about weather all the time because everybody understands it)