In the course of friendship, there are people that you feel closer to more then others, that you can trust more then other friends. You can tell them more things, ask them about more things and trust them with more private details than you would share with the average friend. These special friends are privy to a wider range of you, they see you more genuinely then others are allowed to do so, for them your shields are fully down. You feel that you can joke more with them, talk on a wider range of topics with them, ask them more personal questions and there just generally is a feeling of greater reliance and trust.
It is clear to me that this is not a linear function. With some people you can know them for weeks or months and the makings are clearly there of a deeper and freer relationship. You see the space and the complimentary nature of each others personality. Conversely with others you can know them all your life, and not feel comfortable with them talking about things out of your collective comfort zone. The two alternate situations in which I can see this happening are that 1. They do not want to go any further and their actions indicate it or 2. I do not know how to move the friendship on any more. It is with the second of these two that I am more interested in.
It is most worrying when you know people well, but there just seems to be a deficiency in your relationship, that you just don’t know how to take it to another level. It seems to suggest that not all friendships can be taken to this level, that some people are only causal friends and will be nothing more. I find this an odd conclusion, because everyone has good friends and close friends. It seems odd that some friendships are not fated to go any further though. I have friends that people have said, that when seeing how we interact in a social situation, that they thought we were total strangers and ought to be introduced to each other, instead of friends of almost 15 years.
I also know though, that I don’t know if I can try and escalate these friendships. I don’t know that if I were to turn them into confidants, that they would be able to reciprocate, or that they would accept or understand what I was asking them to do, and conversely I don’t know if they are interested in being given such a burden of involvement. Its very hard to respond to a problem when you have no idea what the exact problem is and then how to move on to solve it.
I suspect that in a way I am conveniently forgetting the impact of time on this process. With a lot of people, I’ve stopped spending the time that perhaps they deserve, but simultaneously it seems that I stopped trying because we seemed to have hit a plateau, that we weren’t getting any more friends than we had been for years. It’s hard to keep putting in the effort when it seems to be repulsed, or bring little reward. I feel constrained to keep trying because I care for these people, and for at least a little while we were what seemed to be good friends. Lets hope that there is a way to take stalled friendships higher, and to resurrect old ones.