With graduation around the corner, I’ve spent the past few months on a frenzied mission to complete everything on my bucket list and see all of my friends before we have to part ways. Basking in this reflective mood, I’ve come to realise a few things I’ve learned about friendships in the past four years.
Some of you might have grown up with the same group of friends and know what it’s like to have a lifelong friend, while some of you might have moved around so many times you can barely keep count. Either way, when you enter university, you’re likely to meet a lot of different people – in your classes, in events, and through friends. Y ou’ll realise that circumstances bring people together, just to take them apart later.But you may have a different set of friends every year. The point is, unless you personally make the effort to invest in your friendships, it’s easy to follow the ebb and flow of life and allow your friendships to fade as circumstances change.
You might be close with your housemates one year because you see them all the time, but the next year when everyone moves out, you might start hanging out with your classmates instead. Then a new semester comes and suddenly your crew changes again.
Deep friendships take time, and time isn’t exactly on our side in university. Between schoolwork, adjusting to a new way of life, and preparing our résumés for employment, there isn’t much time to spare. It can thus seem appealing to be friends with whoever’s convenient, and let distance and fate choose who to cut out of your life. for you.
As someone who’s lived in six different cities, let me tell you that although this may work for a while, eventually it gets tiring.
You get tired of asking the same introductory questions over and over again. At some point down the road, you’ll yearn to be deeply known, and loved. You’ll run into bad days, and yearn for someone who knows who you really are – someone who can see through the “university” you and the “home” you, and still stick around.
This requires commitment, and I truly believe that it’s up to you to take that step. University provides the environment for a “convenience” mindset towards friends, but true long-lasting friendships require intentionality and effort.
But, alas, life is not black and white. Some people will respond to your efforts in kind, and some won’t. When this happens, you need to be strong enough to know that that’s okay, because some things you just can’t control. People play different roles in your life, and sometimes their role is temporal, no matter how much you try to make it forever.
Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned, though, is that conflict is important. It’s bound to arise because nobody’s perfect, and the more you get to know someone, the more likely you are to see their weaknesses. But true friendship is about valuing someone enough that you’re willing to go through the pain of confrontation to help them become better versions of themselves, and it’s about loving them for who they are even if they don’t.