What is that elusive, zing? That exciting zap of palpable emotional electricity you feel with certain people? 

(The key photo is sister & her hubby–still happily hugging 40 years later.)

Zing can hit you the moment you meet someone or be the overriding sentiment when you know you’re about to see them. That physical response, that zing we experience, isn’t solely connected to romance. Charismatic appeal is any tie you make with another person where an internal tug urges you to spend time with someone.

Think of the friends you love who have been with you for years. Do you love them for what fills their hearts, the beliefs carried in their souls, rather than their physical attributes? Conversely, haven’t you written people off shortly after meeting them once you realized they don’t have enough joie de vivre? There isn’t enough light behind their eyes—even though their outsides are gorgeous—to substantiate a long-term friendship.

Hollywood repeats the theme that there is supposed to be an instantaneous, romantic jolt when you meet that would-be life-partner. How often have you relied on what you felt at that moment to build a relationship and discovered later that you were wrong because all you shared was that initial pizzazz? How many of us miss the opportunity to allow passion—intellectual or physical—because that bolt of lightning didn’t strike?

Lasting affections are grown from the inside, from our hearts, not because of our outsides.

Zing can be built

To create enduring friendships, we have to slow down and let a bond flourish over time. Have we written a person off for love since the fireworks weren’t immediate? Did we keep the friendship platonic when they may be the one we’ve been waiting for?

Perhaps that’s why old-time marriages lasted. Two people met, felt a mutual attraction, got married and lifelong adoration, as well as friendship, blossomed over the decades. Maybe that is precisely the type of snazzy connection that comes from the soul, where most of us, deep down, know we want our affinities to start. 

1950s couple sharing Zing

My Parents had a lot of Zing

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Friends you’re attracted to

Friendships are like a movie where we know within twenty minutes it’s worth viewing for an hour and a half. Or like a book you’ve been hooked on since the first page. The deeper we get into stories, the more intrigued we become—the same as with the best people we meet. 

 We’re experiencing zing.

Karen, with her Mona Lisa smile, snuck into my world by slowly and quietly unveiling herself. One day I realized her friendship had become a healthy addiction. Each time she answers my call with keen expectation in her slow, “Hello,” I know how much I love her. 

Jackie, my older sister, did the same getting into my heart. We broke our final too-long-in-place residual-from-childhood icebergs sharing an inane argument deemed The Saga of the Impossibly Skinny Levis. We laughed so hard we wept in each other’s arms. 

Another friend? We danced the work dance for months before I invited her to my house. She sat crossed-legged on my couch, drinking a beer, seeming too serious to be my friend. Some part of our conversation took a turn for the humorous and she fell over giggling. Friends for decades.

The friend you marry & build zing with

I acknowledge my impatience with this or that thing/event/process over the course of my life. Yet, I took too long to realize I was that way in relationships. I tried to cut to the chase, get to the bottom line, rushing through the getting to know the person. Failing in friendship time and again. 

Alex and I were friends for many years before marrying. We fought and argued, debating and fraying each other’s nerves to the last unraveling. Our friendship has enough differences to keep it and intriguing and plenty of similarities to keep us walking the same direction. As this relationship improves, my friendships benefit. I want to know friends deeper and be more accepting of the parts of them that make me crazy. As I pray they do for me,  as I do with Alex.

Friendships, relationships, take a long, long time to ripen to the point of unconditional love and acceptance. Be patient, listen, and by all means speak your piece when you need to—with their best interests in mind. Before you purge a would-be friend, search your heart and make sure it’s the right step to take. The friends I lost over the years and miss are the ones I let go before the unfolding was finished.

Zing, that zap of enticement, is found everywhere—simply keep your heart and eyes open and your expectations unencumbered.

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Read: Here’s to those WYSIWYG friendships!