3 AM, and a friend I had known for 3 years.

I had been friends with this girl for three years of college. We would end up bumping into each other in the canteen, do group assignments, and even have lunch together. I considered her a friend but when I sat with her at around 3 AM one night, our friendship took a turn I wasn’t expecting.

You see, this girl had her boundaries like we all do. I always felt like there’s more to her than the geeky girl who had saved me in college by sharing her extensive class notes with me.

And then it happened.

Bang in the middle of somewhere between night and day, she let her guards down.

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She told me about how abusive her parents’ marriage was and how it developed a fear of love in her. The very act of her opening up to me about something so deeply personal to her with a modest cup of tea between her hands was enough for me to tell her about my future plans, something I had never allowed to escape my mouth because of the fear of failure.

Within an hour, we had talked about everything under the sun, from work to well, our larger plans of world domination. It turned out she also liked to dance in front of the mirror like I did and well, both of us had a soft spot for tacky Bollywood songs which we sung together.

That’s when I realized the pleasure of a 3 AM conversation where words take a life of their own. When you release them out of your system, you feel weightless.

Maybe it is the darkness that helps us get rid of those boundaries we clutch so close to our chests all day long. You see, at 3 AM, there is an absence of light and people. A part of you feels like you’re rebelling by staying up while the whole world has fallen asleep. There’s an excitement in staying up into the night and when you have someone to share this feeling with, it becomes even better.

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Moreover, the darkness helps you put your guard down. You spend the whole day putting up a brave act of having your shit together. You dream and then you tuck those dreams away because the daylight illuminates the reality. Isn’t that how we all live, in a big facade, pretending things are going okay for us? But at 3 AM, you can finally let that act end because no one’s watching.

Just like I did that day. I was able to tell my friend that I felt lonely even with my huge friend circle. She told me how she felt the exact same way. Thanks to that 3 AM conversation, I discovered that the girl who almost, always seemed to have it all was a sum of her fears and anxieties, just like me.

And we can safely say the same thing about a late-night conversation when it is with someone we’re dating. I’ve dated a couple of guys, some turned out to be almost lovers while some stayed to teach me lessons. But one thing that they all taught me is that the easiest way to discover a person isn’t over a fancy dinner or movie night, but over a 3 AM conversation.

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I mean, of course, a date over lunch or dinner really tells you if you can have a conversation with the other person. However, being surrounded by people and all the other inhibitions that come with the day time stop you from really opening up to the person. But it is at 3 AM, whether over the phone or face to face, that you can really discover a person.

Their childhood stories that built them, their past romances that gave them the baggage they tug along and their passions that drive them forward. Every time you mention a common interest, they light up. And to know that someone out there, even if it is just one person, understands your thought process is a lovely kind of knowledge, isn’t it?

It makes you feel less lonely.

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There are always layers in a person’s personality and such conversations bring those layers out. I would have never discovered all those layers in my friend if we didn’t talk our hearts out at AM that night. It makes me wonder how many people are sitting and just connecting with each other at that hour.

From endless banter to heartache, 3 AM has seen it all.