How do you define knowing someone? Is it by the years in which you’ve been friends? Is it by the sheer amount you know about them? Or is it simply connecting with that person on a deeper level?
I used to think that knowing someone was about surface level; knowing their favourite TV show, their favourite colour, their favourite food etc… However, now that feels shallow, almost fake. You see, I know people whose favourite colour is red, their favourite food is fish and their favourite TV show is Money Heist, but does that mean that I really know them? Do I trust them, do they trust me? When we talk about the foundations of a relationship often we say it’s trust, honesty and communication. Now, nowhere in that does it say that the foundations are knowing their favourite holiday destination. Perhaps you can know the guy at the end of your street; you know that he goes to the shops every Sunday, you know he’s always up before 8AM and that he enjoys watching the sunsets in his garden. Does that mean you really know him? That you know his deepest and darkest secrets, what keeps him up at night? Do you know what breaks his heart and makes him the happiest? No. Perhaps truly knowing someone is knowing their emotions. Knowing how they react in a simple situation, whether they like confrontation or not, what makes them happy, what makes them sad. Maybe that’s knowing someone.
Do we like to think we know people? Does it make us feel safe if we build up an image of who they are in our head? Does it make us feel as if we can trust this idealised version of them? Or are we just fooling ourselves? Missing out on knowing the real them, because maybe, just maybe, the real version of them is better than the version we’ve built up in our head.
Although, by that logic do I even know myself? Do I know what makes me happy in life, and despite going through heartbreak multiple times, do I really know what makes me sad?
Perhaps the answer in all of this is that in order to truly get to know someone, we must know ourselves first.