“I Knew Right Away…”

Have you ever met someone with whom being just seemed natural?

That’s not a very pretty sentence, but the alternative isn’t great either: Have you ever met someone and you just knew immediately that you’d make great friends? Not a friendship based on anything like working in the same office, or a shared interest in Alfred Lord Tennyson, but just an instinctive, intuitive feeling that you’d get along, always, even with years and miles between you – you’d just be able to pick up again with the same warmth as before when back together?

I was thinking of this because of NMF#11. Whenever people ask how we’re friends, we just answer “It’s complicated.” There’s no particularly good reason for us to be friends. We first met during an intramural machanayim game in high school. I fed her cake and she showed me the janitor’s chickens. We hung out for about 2 hours and then didn’t see each other for 3 or so years, when she popped in to spend an hour on my bed in seminary, telling people their personalities based on the shape of their noses. And that was it until she showed up for my open-invitation 21st birthday party instead of flying to Scandinavia that night.

After that we decided to keep it up because it seemed a waste not to.
She’s not the only one. There was a girl in the parallel elementary school class who I knew would make a great friend even though I hardly saw her or had anything to do with her. But there was a taboo on cross-class socializing, so it took until summer camp after 8th grade before we got together. Stargazing and swatting mosquitoes on the baseball field with her one night, I confessed, “I’ve wanted to be your friend for the longest time.” She tickled my ear with a blade of grass to make me think something was crawling up it and answered, “Really? So have I. Be your friend, I mean.” We’ve been at it ever since.

Often people say “I knew from the first date” that they were going to marry their spouse. I wonder if that’s what it’s like. You know, you just see your “bashert” and you know that you will always get along because you just will, and that differences of opinion and styles of living won’t matter because you’ll always just like each other no matter what, and you’ll have that to fall back on. Or when people say that are they referring to some stronger feeling? That giddy rush of love at first sight we all hear about and sometimes witness? Some people have commented to that tune on  the Not for Singles post. Would you care to elucidate on what you mean when you say you “knew” right away?

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20 thoughts on ““I Knew Right Away…”

  1. Hah – as my wife frequently reminds me, I didn’t want to go out with her the first time we met. This is not quite accurate, rather it was I didn’t move heaven and earth to find out if she wanted to go out with me and so we didn’t go out.

    But a year later we actually had a conversation. I cannot say that I “knew” from that conversation, but I was certainly very intrigued. As was she (I think!). There was definitely that level of comfort and similarity of thought pattern that comes with someone who is an obvious close friend.

    As far as “knowing” that this is the “one” with whom I wish to “spend” the rest of my “life” with, I generally date that (pun intended) to the fifth date or so. So no bolt of lightning for me, but rather a series of definite levels.

  2. I’m sure it differs. Amongst my dating experience, only once did I feel that “zing” that one gets when they see a potential life-long friend before them – he said no, for all that effort. But keep in mind, not everyone is seeking what you and I do, a good friend.

    Some search for a trophy spouse, some for monetary gain, some for someone who merely accepts them, etc. For each, there can be “zing!” or “lemme think about it,” or “can I look at this face for the rest of my life (assuming my spouse outlives me)?” or “I can’t commit! It’s too fast! I still had things to do! I can’t handle this responsibility!”

    There is a great variety of motivations to matrimony. But friendship is not the only one.

  3. “I can’t commit! It’s too fast! I still had things to do! I can’t handle this responsibility!” If thats the way someone feels after realising they have to make a decision because they met someone that made them feel all “zingy” then why did they start dating? Or maybe they did not know that was how they felt until they were put on the spot and had to make a decision?

    Whats an intamural machanayim game? Whats the minumum amount of palyers needed?

    I like the blog.

  4. What people are not telling you about are all those guys who “they knew from the first date” but were then eventually dumped or eventually got sick of.

    It’s more infatuation or just a really good time on that date then “knowing” then sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

  5. I would say that that is how it is for some people, but not for all. That was how it was for me, but not my wife. My wife was the first person I dated when I entered the shidduch system and the last. I was number six or seven on her list, and then it took her six months to decide. It all depends upon the person.

  6. i once dated someone i saw as a potential best friend. but i dont believe that you can marry someone who is only a friend. he/she needs to be someone you respect and admire. friendship sometimes makes you equals, which is a recipe for disaster in marriage. true, your spouse is your “best friend” but you go through life experiences with them, not your friends. i think you and your spouse need to feel that each of you got the better side of the deal- true marriage. but than again i havent found the “one” yet so cant confirm…

  7. yeah i agree with patricia on this one.
    there were times that i thought “i knew” and we soon parted ways – for the better, i’d say. so if i “knew” two-three guys were “the one” i think my “knower” needs some honing.

    I think that people sometimes know a “no” from the beginning, and the courtesy second date is pointless.

    but about the friend thing – there was a girl in sem i really liked in the beginning, and thought we’d be BFFs. 6 months later we had nothing to do with each other. now i avoid her when i see her in the street, because i felt so “connected” and i soon came to realize what she was all about — shallow, selfish, untrustworthy… i hope things like that don’t happen too often in terms of marriages.

  8. Me, I ignore any “zings” because it has to go through my head, and a “zing” means that it’s too much emotion, probably influenced by hormones. So that just makes me extra careful, because hormones and emotions are known to get people in trouble.

    Oy, I’m so unromantic!

  9. SO I had a massive “zing” with a boy once and it was totaly mutual. We went out for a while but it didnt work out due to “technical difficulties”. Now my problem is that im expecting to have that “zing” again but its not coming. I know people get engaged without it, but i think it makes it easier when its there. My only hesitaion with the “zing” is that i think a lot of it is more physical attraction and can sometimes blind you from whats really important.

  10. I have a associated question for you –
    Have you ever really clicked with someone, feeling that you could really naturally be with them (and not that it was a physical thing), but some other issue, e.g. hashkafa or family, or future plans, caused you to stop the relationship?

  11. I think there is probably some “zing”. Without going into the whole story (which is virtually sufficient to identify me to my friends), I was interested in several different girls but chose instead to date my future wife. In hindsight after a very long time(since we are still friends with the other girls and their families), I think I made the right decision and I think the girls each found spouses that were suited to them.

  12. Mo – not that I can recall. I said it only happened to me twice in my life, and both times with females of the specie. And for the rest – I’m not talking heady rushes of love type of zing. Just… knowing.

  13. We just knew. He knew after our second, and for sure after our fourth date. It took me a little longer, but I just knew. 7 dates and then engaged…..I dont know what else to say. We just knew!

  14. Bad4-this post makes you sound like a lesbian, but i know what you are talking about. My best female friend and i bonded over a random shabbaton and haven’t looked back since.

  15. It only does that for people with minds that need soap and water applied with elbow grease. Since when can’t girls be friends without being accused of not being straight?! If you can’t be platonically friendly with a guy nor a girl, then it’s only a short step before loving yourself becomes a sexual orientation, I guess.

  16. Based on much research — being friends first is the best way to go. So before you make any big decisions, find out for yourself and avoid screwing yourself over.

  17. For me, when i came home after our first date, I was floating. I literally could not stop smiling. I’d had been on dozens of one-date wonders shortly before so while I wasn’t nervous to date him, I was completely jaded and didn’t have much hope that this would be anything close to “the one”. I kind of gave up hope and decided that I was done trying to control my dating life and literally threw in the towel. But G-d had other plans and conjured up a situation beyond my control to introduce me to this guy. So I went out with him–and all of the pleasantries and conversation starters I came prepared with (in addition to the carefully applied makeup and tastefully attractive outfit) went right out the window the moment I stpped into the car with him. We just clicked. For five straight hours we talked and I felt SO comfortable with him. It was like some of the friends I met randomly and just instantly had a bond with. He said he knew I was the one by the second date while it took me three dates after that to realize he was the one.

    Most girls I’ve spoke with tell me pretty much the same–that the guy knows pretty soon after you’ve begun dating if you’re the one. This of course depends on the guy and if the guy is truly ready to get married. Girls usually take MUCH longer because we are by nature analytical and have to look at the relationship from all angles.

    Really, though, every situation is different. In my situation, all it took was for me to let go and really throw in the towel of control.

  18. Pingback: Crushing | Bad for Shidduchim

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