Lost love letters
When two friends stop in the street to talk about the weather, they don’t actually care about the weather. They have stopped to say to each other, “I enjoy your company. We are still friends.” – David Mamet
One of the most meaningful letter exchanges I have ever had was between an ex-girlfriend and me that took place after we had been broken up for several years. In this exchange, I told her how I felt, and she told me how she felt. Though we wouldn’t pursue being together, we both said, “I love you” in our own little ways.
There’s a simple tactic used by therapists in family therapy. They have kids draw out the members of their family as circles. They then have them put a straight line between individuals if they have a good relationship, and a jagged line if they have a relationship filled with conflict. The kids draw it like they see it.
I like this simple way of looking at things. In some cultures, words don’t matter that much. What matters is who is talking to whom, and how they are talking. What mattered in my letter exchange with my ex-girlfriend was not what the letters said, but that the letters existed in the first place. If the letters got lost, it wouldn’t matter because they were just expressions of underlying good vibes.
I’ve been lately shutting off my phone, not writing many messages to people, and instead focusing on thinking good things to people in my life. Content doesn’t matter that much. Context is much more important. You can say whatever blah blah blah you want. Kids will always know if the lines are jagged or smooth.