Slow Down: Why You Should Start By Building a Friendship
Tyler anxiously returned his window seat to an upright position. As the plane lowered its altitude, he lifted the shade, looked out at the landscape at what looked to be toy cars below, and whispered to himself, “Home sweet home.” He had been stationed in Yokosuka for three years, and was glad to be back in Baton Rouge.
*Ding!* The seat belt light went off, and Tyler wasted no time grabbing his carry-on out of the overhead bin. He hurried off of the plane, and headed out towards baggage claim. After claiming his luggage, he walked out to a busy scene of cars, taxis, and shuttles and immediately spotted his best friend, Adrian, in his red Ford Explorer.
Adrian hopped out, and greeted Tyler with a smile; and, as always, they did their special handshake. He then helped him load his things into the trunk, and off they went while giving each other updates on their lives.
“So how’s married life treating you?” Tyler asked Adrian.
“It’s good. It has its rough moments, but overall, I’m not complaining,” Adrian replied.
Then Adrian asked, “Hey, whatever happened to Jessica that you met while on duty? How’s that going?”
Tyler laughed and shook his head saying, “You’re all the way off! Her name was Gina, and that didn’t work out. There was something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on.”
“My bad! I bet I know what it was!” Adrian said with a smirk on his face.
“Oh, Lord!” Tyler grimaced.
“What was missing was the fact that Gina wasn’t Courtney. That was like the only girl I ever remember you being really into,” Adrian said glancing at Tyler.
“Yeah, but that was so long ago. We had fun together, no doubt, but we didn’t really form a real friendship. We jumped right into the physical, and we mutually decided to part ways and lost touch.”
“Ok, but have you thought about hitting her up now that you’re going to be here for awhile?” Adrian inquired.
“Yeah, but that’s risky. I have not spoken to her in over three years, and like I said friendship was not the foundation of that situation.”
“I hear you, man. I still think it’s worth a try,” Adrian encouraged.
Tyler and Adrian finally made it to Tyler’s mother’s house where he was greeted with a “Welcome Home” party. There was music, family, and tables filled with all of his favorite dishes that he had missed all of this time. He sat and talked with aunts, uncles, and cousins, danced, took pictures with everyone, and had a great time. After the party began to wind down and he got a few moments to himself, he couldn’t help but think about his conversation with Adrian about Courtney. Adrian was right. Courtney was the one woman who always lingered in his mind. She was smart, beautiful, and fun. There was just something about Courtney. He always wondered what things would’ve been like if they had taken things much slower, and gotten to know each other on a deeper level.
The following day, Tyler decided that he would reach out to Courtney. He decided to text her to see if her phone number was still the same. It was. Tyler then called Courtney, and she was just as cool as he remembered. Tyler invited Courtney out for crawfish, and she accepted. They met up at 1:30 p.m., enjoyed their crawfish and talked for hours. Tyler and Courtney reminisced on the times they had spent together, found out new things about each other, as well as learned how much they had in common.
After that night, they continued their budding friendship. They would talk on the phone frequently, and spent time together doing activities that they both loved. They no longer rested on their surface level physical connection, and even if they never decided to revisit a romantic relationship, they soon discovered that they both had gained a life-long, genuine friend.
We are operating in an “I want it right now” generation, and this sense of urgency has led people to move entirely too fast in situations where it would’ve been best to take it slow. In the case of forming relationships with others, having a solid foundation that begins with friendship is important, even if you are hoping to have something beyond that. With Tyler and Courtney, I’m quite sure that things would have turned out very differently had that critical component been the basis of their relationship from the start. Know that it is okay and best to get to know people, and form bonds while keeping your clothes on. Doing this allows you to learn about a person, and gives you an opportunity to see how your personalities mesh without your judgment being clouded. It also helps to build rapport, trust, and mutual respect, and possibly, a very deep and rewarding connection.