I think the best compliment someone can give you is saying “this reminds me of you” or “that looks like something you’d like.” Lately I’ve been reflecting on how thankful I am for friends who take the time to know each other so well and care about each other so much.
One of the most important parts of maturing for me has been coming to terms with the fact that I cannot and will not be friends with everyone (believe me, I have spent the majority of my life thinking this was possible). I am slowly recognizing that my friendships will change, as will my closeness to some friends. The evolution of friendships has always been a hard one for me to accept.
My mom’s go-to quote is “we have friends for reason, friends for a season, and friends for a lifetime.” We may not necessarily know which friends fall into which category and that’s not for us to determine or control. Acknowledging this has encouraged me to be more selective and intentional about who I spend time with, and more thoughtful about how to spend that time.
I’ve been especially grateful this semester for really authentic friendships. I’m strengthening old friendships and developing new ones. I’ve seen this just in the past few weeks – I’ve created space for coffee dates with friends I’ve grown up, where we joke about awkward middle school days, runs with running partners, where plan our next race, and travels to different countries with friends I didn’t know before this semester.
One of the strangest parts about college for me is how quickly people come & go. You become so close with people so quickly. Usually without knowing their families or anything about where they grew up. You meet people of different graduating years and then all of the sudden, we go home for breaks, study abroad and, of course: we graduate. In a few short months, many of my friends will be on different continents. My two brothers and I will all be in different countries.
Last week, three friends and I took a spontaneous trip to Montreal for the start of our Thanksgiving break. We’re trying to not think about the fact that next semester, the dynamic of the group will be very different. I’ll be studying abroad in Costa Rica. One is graduating in a few weeks. The other two are graduating in the spring, so two of us will be gone for their final semester. We’ve been making the most out of our time, specifically through travel.
This brings me to one of the most incredible parts about my life right now: how frequently I can spend time with so many people I care about. In college, we’re with people for such a concentrated period of time and we see our friends so frequently. It’s really special, but I recognize that this is a huge luxury. It’s such a unique time in your life to be able to live in the same place as so many of your peers. For my brothers, cousins and friends who are not at my school or who have already graduated, it’s so much harder to see them. And I know it only gets harder.
I’m getting better at being okay with having friends for a reason – the ones I don’t need to talk to everyday, but I know they are there. I may not understand that reason right now, and that is okay. I am appreciating the “season” friends too – the people that come into our lives for a specific time. These friends can teach us a lot, as they provide us with what we need at that time. And, of course, I am eternally grateful for lifetime friends – the ones who provide us with an unspoken and undeniable connection, no matter how often we talk or where in the world we are. I truly believe the universe brings each person into our lives to serve a purpose, possibly as simple as teaching us a lesson.
Each friendship brings something different and valuable. While childhood and high school friends know so much about your past and your family, college friends know you as your most developed self, without your history affecting how they perceive you now. College friends are also part of a really transformative part of your life, which is one of the reasons I find it easy to reach closeness quickly.
For now, I am encouraged to not think too hard about fitting friends into boxes. At this point in my life, I am content with filling my time with new places and good people.