She sees you for who you TRULY are.
Have you ever noticed that it’s sometimes easier to be yourself around your friends than around your family members (and sometimes even your spouse)? This seems strange, because friendships are usually considered more casual than marriage or family relationships.
Shouldn’t it be that the more committed and “serious” the relationship is, the more you can really reveal your true self?
Although most friendships are considered casual, they're still incredibly important for a person’s well-being. They provide emotional support, social integration, and opportunities for fun and play.
Friendship has a unique aspect that makes it especially good for honest, natural interaction. Plainly put, friends don't see their destinies as intertwined with your own.
It’s the fact that we’re less wrapped up in our friendships that allows for honest and easy discourse. A friend doesn’t see her identity as dependent on the choices you make.
Even a best friend knows that you're two different people with two different paths in life. She doesn’t feel like her future is based on what you do today, which allows you to be fully yourself in the moment.
Now, let’s compare friendly relationships to romantic and familial relationships:
We know that married couples almost always see their destinies as intertwined with one another. Typically speaking, where one spouse wants to live in the future inherently affects where the other person will live. One spouse wanting (or not wanting) to have children in the future affects whether the other person will end up having children.
Intertwined destinies, in some ways, is the whole point of marriage.
Even in casual dating relationships, it can harder be completely yourself than it is with a friend. This is because there’s always the potential to intertwine your destinies. You may, at some point, want to combine your life paths, and this possibility often leads to more difficult interactions.
No one ever prompts a friend to “define the relationship.” No one ever asks a friend, “Where is this going?”
And when it comes to family, there tends to be high expectations that simply don’t exist within friendships. Your family may expect you to do well in life simply to reflect well upon them.
By contrast, what you do with your life does not reflect upon your friends in the same way. Your friends don’t brag that they have a doctor for a friend the way your mom might brag that she has a doctor for a son. Friends don’t see you as their “legacy” the way your parents easily could.
So how does all this translate into being able to be more yourself around friends?
Because of all this, friends don’t feel any need to change you, control you or make you into someone “worthy” of wrapping their identity up in.
Friends allow for freedom — even as the relationship gets closer and closer. Freedom is the beauty of friendships. Friendship is freedom and closeness perfectly aligned.
Kira Asatryan is a certified relationship coach and author of Stop Being Lonely: Three Simple Steps to Developing Close Friendships and Deep Relationships. For more relationship tips, visit kiraasatryan.com and follow her on Twitter @KiraAsatryan.
This article was originally published at Psychology Today. Reprinted with permission from the author.