To me, knowing a person is the most amazing thing.
I don't mean just knowing a person's hobbies, talents, or qualities. Knowing what they're thinking or how they would respond to something doesn't make the cut either. Being able to share these things with someone is great, but to really know someone means to support them, be honest with them, and to be able to look to them for anything.
This is one of those things that just can't be put into words… but I'll try anyway.
I bet that right now you are thinking of someone who you really know- your relationship with them is what I described above. Maybe you're even thinking of someone who fits into the other two categories. Almost everyone knows someone who falls into any of these groups.
So here's the concept I'm pondering. Wouldn't it be awesome to make the effort and try to really know someone, except that that someone was the majority of people you meet?
Pause. I'm not saying you have to be best friends with the guy who hands you your fast food. Obviously, some people you will only be able to see once in your lifetime, and there's nothing you can do about that. And, obviously, you're gonna need to get to know someone to a certain level before you can decide.
But that's just it! Deciding to really know someone… what are we deciding on?
Whether or not you really want to get to know someone is usually based on, first and foremost, appearance. It sounds so bad but we all know it's so true. This is usually a gauge for common interests (getting to that) and is even shallower. Like, for real? "They don't dress like me so I won't talk to them." We think that only happens in movies and dramas but I'm sure everyone does it, whether or not they're aware of it.
Second basis for deciding— common interests. This is the one that bugs me. Say you're shy and prefer a good book over a party, and you meet a jock who always has a friend or two hanging around. Do we let dramatic differences like this kill a potential relationship before it even begins? Frequently, yes. Shouldwe? Well, when you get down to it… most of the time, no.
A good relationship can be based on common interests and most often is. But again, that's what bothers me. Common interests are only a small part of what a relationship is made of. Do you think our deepest friendships will be based on something so shallow? It's fine for starters… but what happens later? Think of all you'll miss if you let it be the only doorway to getting to know a person. That's narrow-minded thinking in my book.
Third basis for deciding— trust. Once you've pushed past the first two, it's time to see what this person is all about. There are, unfortunately, quite a few people who will take you for granted, blow you off, treat you like dirt. For those who make it clear they're this type—yeah, they're not good candidates. Also, if you just discover that some people completely clash with your personality and ultimately annoy the heck out of you, there's no shame in not pursuing that friendship to deep roots. Again, if you're gonna close the door on a person for these reasons, don't kid yourself and do it because you're too narrow-minded about the ideal person you'd like to hang out with. The clashes have to be legit.
So my bottom line is this, open up. Knowing a person is an incredible experience that can really help both you and them grow, heal, be happy, and a long list of others. Don't limit your options by the petty things society often uses as the determining factors. But a fair warning— once you rise above these limits, you'll likely end up meeting several people you don't get along with at all or a few that may even hurt you before you see it coming. But just know that being a little vulnerable and taking the risk is worth the people who will live life alongside you to the end.