One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood. – Seneca
What does that mean?
This quote is about what a true friend is, and the qualities they bring to the relationship. Most of us are friends with someone because of how we feel when we are around them. How they make us feel is based on a lot of things, but one of them is addressed by today’s quote.
I have found a few people in my lifetime that just clicked. We instantly knew each other, and were finishing the sentences of the other that same day. We simply understood each other. To me, that is what this quote is all about. Understanding.
Not everyone understands you at the same level. Some might understand you in the context of work, others might understand your approach and loyalties in sports. Regardless of how much of you, or which parts of you, they understand, it is a wonderful thing to find in another person. And it is a quick way to make a friend.
Why is understanding between friends important?
Think about how most fights with a teenager end. In frustration they spit out the words common of teens across the planet, and across time itself. “You just don’t understand!” Then they walk away, slam a door, or simply cease communicating with you.
The thing most teens don’t realize is that, in many cases, the parent does understand, and it is the teen who lacks the context or the bigger picture to see why the parent is saying no. However, a few years later, the twenty-something young adult understands you, and what you did. Sometimes they even understand why. That’s when you can begin a new stage, one of friendship.
Looking at it from the other side, how friendly can you get with someone who just doesn’t understand you? They don’t understand why you do what you do, why you think the way you think, and why you behave the way you behave. What can you have in common with them? What will be the basis of the friendship?
Where can I apply this in my life?
In the sections above, I described a more instant understanding of a person. But what about someone with whom you wish to improve your friendship? Understanding them better would certainly help, as would helping them understand you better.
But how do you do that? For me, the preferred method is communication. Specifically, listening. Ask them gentle questions about what they do in different situations, why they do it, and why they believe what they do. In short, try to understand them.
It will likely take some time to get to understand what is going on with them, and how they think, but if you are serious about becoming closer to someone, it is a vital thing to do. At least I believe that way, what about you, is it important to you?
Now you don’t have to know every detail of their every thought process. You don’t need to know all the details of how a clock works to understand the passage of time. You don’t need to pull back the curtain on everything, just the things which are most important to you.
Most people are willing to talk about themselves and what makes them tick. At least if you can keep it from feeling like an interrogation. And you can stick to the things they are comfortable with at that time. Eventually you can work into the more sensitive topics, as you build a friendship.
Because, in the end, that’s what this is all about, isn’t it? Building a stronger friendship by better understanding the other person. That’s part of why I like to go on trips with groups of people. More interactions and a chance to see people, and how they react, in a different environment.
On the other side, if someone seems to be asking you some oddball questions, it might be that they are just killing time, or they might be trying to get to know a little more about you. Trying to find out if they can understand you, and if you understand them.
I believe that opposites attract. It’s fun watching two opposite people trying to understand each other. And remember, understanding and agreeing are two different things. My wife understands some of my quirks, but that doesn’t mean she agrees with them.
We are all human, we are all unique. We all are a little different, and finding and understanding those differences are part of becoming closer to another person. But that involves listening, and tactfully asking questions. That takes practice and some skill.
Or you can just take your chances with them not understanding your motives or your questions. But if they don’t understand, you have to ask yourself if you will put in the effort.
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/luciusanna155059.html
Photo by JD Hancock