As has become tradition, my friends and I get together on the weekend of July 4th for a cookout and summertime festivities. We usually end up sitting around with some drinks and playing board games. On the drive over, I was mulling the idea of bringing up a probing philosophical question and see if we could have a discussion instead. The question most recently on my mind had been “What is a baseline authentic Human experience?” Can we even know what a normal human existence should be like in today’s world? I just wanted to have a different sort of evening than usual. As it turned out, I didn’t even need to suggest it.
Later that night, after feasting on burgers and many beverages, someone proposed we play Truth or Dare. Now, we are all adults in this group, so this idea seemed at once silly and charming. After all, we were many years out of high school. While there were a few Dares executed to various degrees of success (we will most likely never speak of them again), we all tended towards Truth. We all asked and answered thoughtful, insightful questions about ourselves. New facets of my friends unfolded, sparkling. I was able to share a lot of things that just never came up during our debriefings of video games and TV shows.
I had had several discussions in the past few weeks about missing deep conversations and how they tend not to happen in certain groups of friends. So this was a very fulfilling evening, one where I got to talk about things that mattered to me with some of the people who matter the most. I think that recently I have begun to reverse my stance on compartmentalizing groups of people and having certain expectations about what is possible with them. A friend recently told me that if you engage people on a level you yourself wish to be engaged, you’ll find that people will meet you halfway.
So here’s to the surprise and delight that comes from expecting more from relationships.