The school of romanticism believes that the act of speaking words does the act of loving an injustice. The reasoning goes that love does not need an explanation, and whatever explanation that is created is inherently constraining to the ineffable nature of love.

I walk the streets of Valencia with my parents in search of a place to dine in the evening. The only sounds that fill the soundscape are the arbitrary conversations that come and go as we pass by people on our pursuit of the perfect restaurant that would satisfy our requirements for both authenticity and affordability. In other words, the only conversation that flows through our journey are those composed by others. I would listen attentively to the select words that I could capture and categorize within my mind, and then I would repeat until I have found another budding conversation to capture my attention.

My interactions with my parents have been like so for as long as I could remember. The silence is the only certainty I have come to know within my measly twenty years of existence, at least in context of the longest relationship I will ever sustain. Whenever conversations do incept, they revolve around an interpretation of my growth predicated on professional success. Such conversations inevitably devolve into a boiling simmer, as the friction caused by two misunderstandings would inevitably ensue; I do not enjoy being lectured by my parents on a subject whose views I consider to be antiquated, and my parents believe that their guidance is paradigm while my motivations come from ignorance.

Lately, I have become less inclined to have a conversation whenever I do not feel the need to have a conversation. Sometimes, my scorn for conversation would arise from a mutual incompatibility; differing perspectives on fundamental truths about the world tend to result in quite a bit of conversational friction. Sometimes, the absence of conversation could be explained through the comfort derived the unconditional property that relinquishes the implicit condition of conversation within relationships. I often wonder in my day-to-day interactions on which of these dichotomies would explain my disdain for conversation at a given time.

In terms of personality compatibility, I tend to approach prospective friendships with the binary category of “getting it.” At this juncture of my life, when I have a degree of security within my relationships as well as increasingly finite energy to create new friendships, my optimal distribution of my time and energy becomes veered towards understanding and individuals as quickly as possible before deciding whether such a series of interactions would be worth further pursuing through investing more finite personal resources such as social networks and vulnerabilities. The more a friendship would progress, the more sacrifices it would necessitate. With each potential sacrifice, the decision arises whether to commit to making the sacrifice in furthering the friendship — or to pursue the infinite number of alternatives.

Among individuals who get it, silence can be tolerated. According to the same doctrine in romanticism, the optimal form of love exists in a state of silence, as there would not exist any words to pollute the sentiment. As each individual values different traits within a personality, the search of for those who get it is defined through its lack of progress. It would be naive to say that everyone in the world could be compatible with every other person given enough measures to ensure compatibility; the truth remains that there could only be a limited number of compatible individuals within each categorization of personality. Otherwise, individuals would have the capability to fall in love with whoever, but it is almost comical to say that an individualistic conception of love is inclusive.

For me, I cannot tolerate individuals who self-identify as a “happy” person. I used to sublimate my distaste within an understanding that sadness is truth and that happiness only exists among individuals who have experienced a tremendous dearth of sadness in their lives, but I have come to realize that my disdain arises from none other than a lack of understanding. A friend pointed out that perhaps my disdain for “happy” people arises from my inability to understand their frameworks. I do not get “happy” people just as “happy” people do not get “sad” people. It is the fundamental incompatibility that arises from a difference in experiences that would fundamentally lead individuals to only have a select group of individuals that they would thrive among.

While the happy-sad personality types exist on a spectrum, the either/or categorization between “happy” and “sad” people represents the fundamental conundrum found in statistical learning where the training data set automatically loses its authority to be the testing data set as soon as it is selected to be used to train the model. Similarly, individuals cannot simultaneously exist as both “happy” and “sad” individuals because of the finiteness of the formative years of their lives that had created their personalities for the most part. The discrepancies could additionally be explained by the fact that experiences that would result in a “happy” personality are fundamentally different from those that would result in a “sad” personality. The distribution of formative experiences marks the personality within the happy-sad continuum.

Among “happy” people, I would have to explain my sadness. No matter how well I can articulate my sentiments, “happy” people can only attempt to conceptualize my perspective, similarly to how I can only conceptualize their perspectives through their articulations of their experiences. Among “sad” people, however, I would no longer have the need to attempt to reduce the complexity of my sentiments for individuals who would otherwise not be able to conceptualize my experiences. To articulate ideas and experiences among individuals and have them complete indigenous thoughts with complementary perspectives represents the act of getting it. And there is no amount of explaining that would allow individuals who do not get it to get it.

Yet, sometimes, even among those individuals who get it, there exist frictions in personalities that may or may not result in silence. While there can exist a sort of existential connection among individuals who have a similar conception of getting it, the concept of conversation does not exist on the same existential plane as sharing similar experiences that would result in similar understandings of the intangible fabrics of the universe. Conversation, unlike shared truths derived from common experience, revolves around the medium of language, which has been implicitly accepted to be imperfect, and conversation, unlike alignments in personal history, cannot be changed through the happenings of the world outside of our immediate observation.

We can be friendly with individuals who have an equal capacity to hold conversation as us, but we cannot become friends as defined through a shared conception of truth derived from a similar set of defining experiences. Even with language and physical barriers, conversation could be had given enough effort, but there is no amount of effort that would perfectly simulate the existential entanglement of shared experience. Although conversations could craft enjoyable memories defined through sharing unique thoughts, the love defined through intimacy can only be found through shared experience. In that sense, I am positing the notion that without the infusion of the action of getting it, conversation, no matter how often repeated, will never lead to love.

As for my parents, I can easily say that our absence of conversation is well within my current conception of love; after all, no matter how tumultuous the relationship, the connection between parent and child is always one of love. But I would also say that there are some aspects that are at odds. I will never understand their experiences growing up with a fraction of the luxuries that I can afford right now in the same way that they can never understand my experiences of constantly questioning my existential identity due to the comforts I have been afforded. The two experiences, in that sense, and incompatible, and I will never get them in the same way that they will never get me.

But, among my peers, I wonder. There are a few individuals who I consider to be those individuals who get it. How many individuals could I go on a wordless walk and allow the silence to become the purest form of love between us? The number could not possibly exceed three. Over a lifetime.