I can say with honesty that some of the best moments of my college years happened well past midnight, surrounded by friends. What I love even more about these late-night moments is that even when the clock is ticking and the hours are passing, everybody stays. So deep in conversation, so lost in stories and relatable moments, nobody notices the time, and nobody cares. Another cup of tea, another piece of pizza, another moment together.
Those are my favorite moments, and moments that I’ve learned so much from. Sometimes it’s with close friends, sometimes it’s with people I’ve just met. No matter who they’re with, I’ve found late night talks with others to be beneficial — if not a cure — to feelings of loneliness. It’s a moment in time where the rush of the day is over, and no one has anywhere else to be but asleep, so why not stay longer?
There’s something about late night talks that feel so much more fulfilling than conversations during the day. Deeper topics seem to be brought up, and I find myself sharing things I didn’t think I would. Sleep researchers and psychologists found that our emotions become more dysregulated and we become more impulsive at night than during the day. This could be a factor in why we decide to share our deeper thoughts with others when it’s something we weren’t planning to say, or never would have said in the daytime.
Connecting with others for a long period of time at night is so rewarding in many ways. Not only is connecting with friends beneficial to our mental and physical well-being, but it can also help you build more trusting relationships with others. I’ve learned so much from talking with my friends and taking time to connect with them, and it’s made me feel much less isolated in this huge world.
Embracing the small, unexpected moments is one of the things I’ve learned from 3 a.m. moments. Sometimes, after a long night, I’m ready to take a shower and nod off. But as fate would have it, my roommates came back at the same time, and we get to talking. First about our days, then about our weeks, then about life as we know it. Next thing you know, hours have ticked by and our conversations have either become so deep or crazy we all mutually agree to get some sleep and pick up the conversation at our next 3 a.m. talk. I now live for these unexpected moments of connection and laughter, moments that you weren’t expecting but completely changed your day and made you go to bed with a heart fuller than it was when you woke up that morning.
The late-night talks have also taught me how to build trust with others, because I’ve found it's crucial for a relationship of any kind to have trust. To be able to know that whatever you’re going to say about yourself, whatever fear you’re going to confess to, you can trust that your friends around you will not judge you. Having this trust that you can be wholly yourself with them is comforting and reassuring. Also, acknowledging that your friends are putting this trust in you as well; that when they share about themselves, they trust you will not make fun of them either. Practicing trusting others and managing others' trust has helped me become a better friend and person overall, and it’s a skill I continue to practice during our late-night conversations and in every aspect of my life.
One of the most prominent things I’ve taken away from the late-night talks is that the fear of loneliness is much more commonplace than I’ve realized. Oddly enough, speaking about loneliness with others makes me feel less alone, if only because we are connected in this shared fear. After realizing this is a shared and common feeling, I have personally vowed to wear my heart on my sleeve as best I can when meeting new people, because you never know if loneliness is a fear that plagues them too. This is something I most likely wouldn't have prioritized if it hadn't been for those late-night talks that exposed that common shared fear and inspired me to make a change in myself.
Those unexpected but always welcomed 3 a.m. talks will forever hold a special place in my heart. I am a huge sleep enthusiast, but I will happily pass up a few hours of sleep for the bonding experience that comes with a night of opening your mind and talking with others.
Caitlyn Kulczycki is a sophomore studying media advertising with minors in psychology and creative writing.