Comfortable Silence

You know those people in your life, maybe only a handful, that you can sit next to, silently, and never feel awkward. It doesn’t matter that you’ve exhausted topics of conversation for the time being. These are also the people that, no matter how many months go by, it always feels the same when you are actually together. And, in fact, these are the people you can fight with, and that doesn’t matter either. Truly close relationships are characterized by comfortable silence.

I spent this past weekend with my closest friend. And while we had days worth of topics to cover, our serene weekend also included long stretches on the beach…of silence. There are few things more soothing than the sound of the waves breaking gently on the coast of Nantucket seated happily by someone you don’t need to entertain. 

At this point, I imagine my longest relationships feel somewhat like marriage does. The passion and craziness of our college days, when we were learning and growing by the week, getting closer and testing our bond, is gone. But a deep understanding, and acceptance, of our idiosyncracies, major flaws, biggest goals and deepest joys has taken its place. Being in this place feels much safer. We’ve been through major life changes, major disappointments and, then, major successes.

At different points, you’ve either held or been held by your best friend because one of you is unable to get out of bed. And when you enter adulthood, and realize how few people there are who would do that, your appreciation and love grows by leaps and bounds. 

We used to spend all night dancing, not entirely sober. Now we spend all night talking, and eating sushi. I never would have thought it at 18, but this is better.

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