Has anyone ever told you that the people you’d meet in college would be the friends you’d have for life? Well, they’re (mostly) right. When I moved into the dorm, I met my roommate for the first time. I remember both of our families being in the same shoebox sized room, trying to loft beds and rearrange furniture. It was terribly awkward. I wasn’t the greatest at befriending new people, and I was a bit of a mess both literally and figuratively. Savannah, on the other hand, seemed to have her crap together. Our families are also polar opposites. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t apprehensive at all about moving in with this stranger who obviously had a very different upbringing than I did. Fortunately for me, she took my extreme neuroticism and uncomfortable level of disorganization in stride—and we became best friends.
Can we talk about that phrase for a second? “Best Friend.” For a long time, that phrase left a bitter taste in my mouth and I refused to use it. I refused to use it because any time I had used it in the past, the friendship ended. It was like a curse. So, when Savannah and I started to become good friends, I pushed her away in some feeble attempt to protect myself. It was like I couldn’t accept that someone wanted to be my best friend. I couldn’t accept that she was in it for the long haul, because I had never had that kind of friend before. Fast forward nearly six years, and we’re still best friends. I don’t know what I would do without her. I can’t even post an Instagram caption without taking a screenshot and sending it to her to make her proof read it. She moved like 1,000 miles from me, but we still make it work.
But not all college friendships are that amazing. I’ll talk a little bit about one friend I made, whom I no longer really speak to. I’ll call her Jen. Jen and I were put in the same launch group, which was essentially a small group of random people in which the university tried to get you to make friends. And it totally worked! At first. We spent almost every waking moment together. I explained to her that I would not, under any circumstances, use the phrase “best friend.” I told her things about myself that I still have not spoken of to anyone else. But almost as quickly as that friendship started, it ended. I eventually felt comfortable with her calling me her best friend, and I even got comfortable enough to use that phrase myself. And guess what happened? The friendship ended. Crashed and burned. Two whole years of investing in a friendship—and it was over just like that. Let’s just say it didn’t end on the best note. But a few months later, I met her for lunch and apologized, and she did too. We don’t really talk anymore, but there’s no bitterness there either. Notice how I’m not saying my time was wasted. Notice how I’m not saying I regret being her friend. Because neither of those statements are true. Yes, that friendship is over. Yes, sometimes it still hurts. She got engaged and married and I wasn’t there for any of it. Do you know how hard it is to look at someone who you once considered your best friend and see them go through all of these wonderful experiences, but feel like you can’t even tell them how happy you are for them? It sucks. But, I learned a lot about myself, her, and the kind of friend I wanted to be. I learned a lot about relationships. And I grew a lot in those two years of friendship with Jen.
Yes, you will make some AMAZING, lifelong friends in college. But also, you may make wonderful, temporary friendships. And I think that’s okay. I think both kinds of friendships should be embraced. I don’t think you should ever look back on a friendship you had with someone and think your time was wasted. It took a lot of years for me to come to that conclusion. It took a lot of years for me to be okay with the fact that not all of the friends I made would be in my life forever. Being okay with that has helped me cherish the time I do have with them.
Man, I love my friends.