It occurred to me today that life is too personal.
In order to really get into a deep relationship with anyone (except in the case of really exceptional people), you have to be eternally patient. It takes most people a long time to get personal. After thinking about it for a while, I came up with the three (or four) steps I usually see in most of my relationships.
1. The feeling out phase when people just meet and listen to each other without voicing to much opinion.
2. The opinion phase is the time for sharing opinions on not too sensitive topics. Humour usually comes out in this phase.
3. The obnoxious phase where one or both people in the relationship loses inhibition and shows their true colors. This
phase is often marked by embarrassment in public, random singing, fights and various other loud activities.
4. This optional phase is marked by the sharing of deeply personal thoughts or experiences. It develops with trust and
the realization that your friend will love regardless of anything you did in step 3.
Of course, friendships don’t really follow a definite pattern. People are too complicated to be textbook, but when you’re in a relationship you can usually tell where the relationship is and is headed. You can tell where “the line” is, how much physical contact is okay and how much you are willing to tell, but in the case for “willing to tell,” it often depends on the confidence of the person in his or her identity and past. It shouldn’t have to though. I think maybe the reason people have to wait so long to get personal is because human beings tend to be insensitive. We treasure the deepest friendships we have because we have finally found people who are willing to listen and act with what we tell them in our best interest. Most of us are raised to not trust anybody because apparently a lot of people out there will hurt us or only find utility in us. But even those people, may them most of all, need someone to reach step 4 with.
That should probably be the task of human beings. That should be our measurement of progress. How many of us are willing to bear ourselves all the way to the last step? School shootings, murders, theft and suicide are very dependent on the fact that people who committed these crimes against others and themselves were at the last step all by themselves. How many of the people in our lives, regardless of what they appear to be on the surface, would like someone to take the time to reach underneath and pay all attention to the man behind the mask.
Life is too personal. We make it that way. I make it that way. It takes throwing away pride and becoming comfortable with my reality to make it more available to other people. To let other people know the complete truth and to let them share their own life with mine. That’s a very tough conclusion to come to.