Details Always Tell The Real Story

There’s something about details that show us what’s real.

Kati and I recently visited Charleston for the weekend. To mix things up and stay somewhere unique, we rejected traditional hotels in favor of Airbnb. It’s a network of hosts who welcome people to stay in their spare room, condo, or house in exchange for pay very comparable to hotel fares, usually better.

We chose to stay at a modestly sized apartment outside the city. It was minutes from the beach and only a few more minutes to downtown.

The Details Of A Home

It’s always a funny sensation to see into someone else’s home, isn’t it? I have this strange curiosity about wanting to see how others live. Maybe you have that kind of curiosity, too.

As soon as you walk into a home, you start to notice the details you might otherwise pass in your own residence. You stop to see a collection of photographs or art pieces arranged in a way you’d never think of. You see a delicately decorated desk, merely adorned with a couple pens and a blank clipboard of graph paper but nothing else. You notice where each of the coffee mugs in the cabinet are from and which kinds of wine the home owner keeps on hand.

From the furniture to their fabrics, and the scents to the spacing of magnets on the fridge, every home is unique. Of course, they’re unique because the people who make that house a home are unique.

And you know each place is unique because you notice the details.

Close Enough To See

You can make a passing judgment about something in a moment, from a distance. But to get a sense of what that thing really is, you have to get closer. You’ve got to see the details. And there’s always a story in the details.

You can gaze at a photograph on the opposite wall of the living room, but until you walk closer to it, you don’t notice that it’s actually a sketch. Or you examine the strokes of a painting to see if it’s a photocopy or really a Rembrandt.

The closer you are, the more accurate your assessment will be. The closer you are, the more you can get a sense of what something really is.

It’s like that in our relationships, too.

The Ugly (and Beautiful) Truth About Close Relationships

It’s easy to like some of our friends when they begin as acquaintances and we only see them a few times a month. Maybe you work with them and you seem to get along. But then you go on a trip with them or have to spend extra hours on a project with them. And through that closer proximity, you see what they’re really like.

When two people are close, there’s no hiding the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s much harder to stay behind a facade of cheerfulness or kindness when conflict hits. Resistance will show one’s authenticity. Proximity will tell the real story.

“To have an intimate relationship, you have to show people who you really are.” – Donald Miller

That closeness requires risk. It means you can’t keep someone at arm’s length if you’re really going to know who that person is.

In our marriages and friendships, we have to be honest, true, and vulnerable. We have to let people get close enough to see the details of who we are, the struggles we face, and the passions we strive for.

“Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process.” – Brené Brown

The details reveal the truth. Proximity reveals who a person really is. If you want to build a relationship that lasts, that risky intimacy is worth it.


What’s one thing you learned by getting closer to something or someone?


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