The Secret Language of Friendship

My focus this year is to move relationships from superficial to deep and meaningful. There are people who I’ve been meaning schedule time with and we pass each other and say, “We need to get together.” It still hasn’t happened yet.

As I consider, how to move in this direction I’ve taken a look at the relationships I have that are already deep and meaningful. I realized that when you reach that point something happens …

Do you and your friends have your own language? Things that you say to one another but no one else understands? Anyone overhearing your conversation would require a translator for this special language you share.

We all have a secret, encrypted lingo we use in certain relationships; a dialect that is used in specific circles.

I can walk up to my girlfriend and say, “Yeah Keith, I do” or “Four and five.” She knows exactly what I mean. I don’t have to say anything else. But anyone listening would wonder, “What was that about?”

It’s part of our language and it means something to just us. Our glossary of phrases is mostly made up of movie lines that we have quoted so frequently, that they’ve taken on a whole new meaning. They’ve become part of our relational lexicon.

Please understand why I won’t be sharing the phrases and meanings in detail. You wouldn’t want me to know your secret code either, right? Unless you feel compelled to share, please do so in the comments …

Mad About You

Mad About You (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m reminded of an episode of the 90’s show, Mad About You,where Paul & Jamie Buchman go to a party. Paul tells a stranger about how he and his wife have a signal for:  Come-rescue-me-because-this-person-I’m-talking-to-is-really-boring. Then Jamie ends up in a conversation with the same stranger and uses “the sign”. You can imagine the repercussions, right? The boring conversationalist was someone who could have helped Paul in his career. Not good.

We all do it. We deepen relationships with shared experiences. We build on what we have in common. We create a bubble of personal connection with our friends and family. We use phrases like: “It’s an inside joke,” or “You had to be there.”

My girlfriends and I run our movie lines whenever we get together for SGT or Sista Girl Time which you may call Girls Night Out or GNO. We laugh like wild women over our own silliness. It’s awesome. It’s our Sista Girl language. It creates a sense of belonging together.

Special languages are not meant to exclude but unfortunately they can. They are signs of strengthened bonds. I have unique vocabulary in a lot of relationships:  with my boys, my husband, my sisters, and friends in many circles. The real trick is to find ways to deepen relationships with those who may feel left out or on the fringes.

I’ve arrived at depth with some people but I have a lot to learn about intentionally reaching this level with others. How can I make languages emerge with new friends? How do you move relationships from the superficial to genuine and close-knit? Any suggestions, please share.

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Comments

  1. Hmm. I don’t think these things can be controlled. Transitioning from normal friends to close friends takes time, and I think the secret language you speak of contributes to that.

    • It does take time but I feel like I should be mindful of how and when I can influence those relationships for depth. More than anything, shared experience evolves into relationship specific language. Thanks for reading Zen.

  2. Love the post and you! Yeah Keith…I do!

  3. I try to be careful to be inclusive and not exclusive, but sometimes it is hard

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