It seems to me that when gauging the strength of a Friendship, what is not said is as important, if not more so, than what is said.
I’m not talking about the subtext of a conversation here, although that is important – the ability to understand what your Friend is telling you even when they struggle to articulate it is a vital element of Friendship.
What interests me, though, are the moments when you are with a close Friend and neither of you say anything – complete silence.
With a true Friend these aren’t awkward silences – it isn’t that you’ve run out of things to talk about it’s just that, for that moment, each other’s presence is all that is required. There is a kind of unexplainable aura between you which brings joy to the heart and helps to recharge your batteries (soul, spirit, cockles, whatever you want to call it).
The fact that you’re with him and he with you is all that is important – words are superfluous.
I suspect this is a predominately male experience of Friendship.
From what I’ve seen and gained from discussing this with the fairer sex, it seems that for them the comfort and intimacy of a friendship comes from the conversation.
In a male Friendship, it is each other’s presence that is important.
This is particularly obvious if you haven’t seen each other for a while. As soon as you are back in each other’s presence and the aura makes itself known – true Friendship being in the realms of Sensing and Feeling Man – then the period of absence is irrelevant. What happened since you last saw each other is barely a distant vision, as now you’re in ‘Man Time’.
I suspect this may be a remnant of the Hunting Band – when you were part of the
team killing the Bison for dinner you couldn’t talk to each other for fear of startling lunch, and so you learned to sense where your fellow Hunters were and the aura of their presence provided the comfort that you were not hunting alone.
This bond – which can only be Sensed between the two people it connects – is often the reason for a Friendship to be formed. Often with truly close Friends it is difficult to articulate
why you are so close or how that came to be – particularly in those occasions where the bond is instant and immediately close. It is not unlike falling in Love – and indeed it is a form of that, with the sexy bits removed.
This bond is clear from the words of Michel de Montaigne when discussing the subject of his Friendship with Etienne de la Boetie (who had by this point popped his clogs). His only reasoning was: “Because it was him: because it was me.”