To PP, who never doubted that I could do it
If I asked you how well you knew your friends, you would probably say something along the lines of “I know him/her better than they know themselves.” While it’s all very touching, let me tell you a cold hard truth. You probably don’t know them at all. Now you may argue saying that you know all their favorite things, their favorite movies, foods, clothes. That you know exactly how they would react in a situation. That you know what they are thinking just by looking at them. That you can communicate with them just by using facial expressions. But is that what knowing someone means? Well, I suppose it is some of it. But, not entirely.
You can know a person for years and not really know them. Everybody wears a mask and pretends. Every. One. Of. Us. We just pretend a little less with our friends. But the mask never comes off. You really want to know someone? Observe them when they think nobody is watching. Listen to them when they are talking to themselves when no one is around. See how they get when they are furious at someone/ something. Look at their reactions when someone has hurt them and they’re trying to hide it. Watch the emotions that flit across their face when they are laughing with a group of friends, and for a minute they look away. Catch them with their guard down. Get into a heated argument with them. Make them use a slow internet connection and see how they react. Look through their phone. Read their favorite quotations. Listen to the songs they like the most. Read their favorite books. There’s a reason they like some books better than others. Read their diary, the one they keep hidden so that nobody reads it.
Talk to them at 3AM when they’re crying to themselves because deep down they aren’t as happy as they pretend to be. Get to know the way they walk, the way their lips move when they’re talking, their hand gestures. Get to know all their faces- Sad face, Happy face, Excited face, Angry face, You-better-not-mess-with-me face. Observe them in that instant they wake up in the morning and have no clue of their surroundings. Get to know them when they scrunch up their faces in concentration because they are so engrossed in the book they’re reading. Get to know the way they smile to themselves when they are reading a book. Get to know the way they dance when no one’s watching. Get them drunk, and listen to everything they tell you. Observe how they react when they’ve just received earth-shattering news. Look at their face when they’re talking about something they are passionate about- that’s when people are the most beautiful, when they’re talking about something with love in their eyes. Look at all the things they would do for the people they love, even if they never find out about it. Get to know what they write about. See the emotions dance across their face when they look at someone they love. Get to know them when they are crying silently into their pillow so that nobody ever finds out how heartbroken they are. Observe them in that split second they let their true emotions show before the mask slips back into place.
Get to know all the secrets that they’re too scared to tell anybody. Get to know the whys behind their whats. Get to know every single version of them. And until you do, don’t tell me you know them.