A couple months ago, I read an article about friendships here that really resonated with me. Skeptically, I shared it around to see whether others felt the same, and discovered that a lot of the ideas hold true. Here are some important lessons to remember about friendships in college, related to the article:
1. Even when you feel your loneliest, remember that there are people that care about you. One of the hardest things to deal with is the feeling of loneliness. Whether you go to a small college or a big university, there will always be times when it feels as if everyone around you is involved in something or hanging out with others. Furthermore, if you’ve just transferred to a new campus, you might not know anyone or even where to begin. Maybe you haven’t heard from someone you thought you hit it off with in a while, and it hurts. This is such a common feeling, but social media really hides this notion. You have to remember that the facade people create online of having a fun-filled, busy life isn’t necessarily accurate.
When you’re feeling down about being lonely, and especially when you think no one is thinking of you—remember that there are always people that care about how you are feeling. Even if you haven’t known someone for a long time, if you feel like you can trust and confide in them, do so. It will make you feel better, and their response will help you understand that while everyone may be living in their own microcosm on campus, there will always be those who will take the time to help others. Get off social media, ask someone to coffee, or just take a moment to breathe and remind yourself that you are an individual worth being cared for. You will always have people at the top of your mountain willing to listen, even if you’ve forgotten who.
2. Be flexible about your friendships, and know when it is time to let something go. The article goes into detail about 10 awkward friendships—those odd friendships that are probably not worth having. You’ll want to take a look at your friendships and see which ones you can develop more, and which ones aren’t worth your time and effort.
If someone is making you feel sad because they keep pushing off invitations to hang out, if you feel disingenuous around someone, if you’re only hanging out with someone because you feel obligated to—ask yourself, do you really want to spend time in this “friendship”? Forcing a friendship can create a buildup of distrust and dislike for an individual, toxic emotions that aren’t worth having in your life. You have to understand that as you grow and change, others are growing and changing as well. Sometimes you’ll grow apart from someone, and that’s okay. As long as you treat those around you with kindness and respect, you don’t need to be best friends if they aren’t interested in putting in the same amount of effort as you.
3. Put in as much effort as you can into those Tier 1 friendships.
Those friendships in college where everything feels easy and special, and where you feel loved and appreciated? Those are the ones worth fighting for. The friendships in Quadrant 1 and Tier 1, people who you trust and call first with all kinds of news, the ones you love and care for—put in effort to work on these relationships throughout college and even past college. You’ll want to stay close, because these are friends for life.
You will continue to meet all kinds of people, especially if you’ve transferred to a new school. Don’t be afraid to meet as many new people as you can and get to know them. Once you’ve identified who your Q1 friends are, don’t let them fall into the perpetual catch-up trap. In the article, this is described as spending all your time hanging out catching up, rather than creating new memories. No matter where you are in life, these people deserve as much attention, care, and love as they give you. True friendships are an investment worth having.
– Michelle L.