In my first two years of college I have learned more about friendship than I had from preschool to high school graduation. I didn’t give the subject much thought before, friends were just people you enjoyed being around and told your secrets to. It wasn’t until I seriously started to grow up that I began to analyze how my companions could be impacting my life, both in wonderful and sometimes horrible ways.
Something my mom always told me was, “If they’ll gossip to you, they’ll gossip about you.” I always kept it in mind, and the thought grew with me. Even though I was fairly certain (like 99.9% positive) that certain friends would never talk smack about me, I simply didn’t like the ways they would talk about others. I cringe every time someone is called ugly, since childhood it’s just something I never could stomach. I learned that I didn’t want friends who were okay with putting others down, even if they never would put me down. I want to be friends with people who compliment strangers, and talk about how lovely they think our mutual friends are.
I learned that sometimes your friend will have one little habit, one minor quality about them that just irritates you to no end. Maybe they copy the way you dress or they interrupt you multiple times in one conversation. Maybe they act like they love a band more than you do (even thought you’re clearly their biggest fan to ever grace the earth). Sometimes it might even make you really mad at them, but if that one insignificant little pesky quirk about them is seriously the biggest issue in your relationship, that’s pretty darn lucky.
I learned that I should never ever sacrifice my personal growth for someone who refuses to grow. It’s like a race, not a competition, but just something we all run together. You’re doing just fine on the second lap, but your friend keeps slowing to walk. You’re the one who trained for this, you got the right shoes and drank enough water. You’re more than capable of running at your pace yet you keep stopping for them. How is that at all fair? I’ve learned that sometimes I may have to leave someone behind to keep going, but I’ll still have friends who are just one step ahead of me, and I’d love to keep up with them.
I’ve learned that whether it’s a bond with a friend, lover, parent, sibling, teacher, employer or neighbor, a relationship is a relationship. If a boyfriend/girlfriend were constantly making you unhappy or hurting you, you would probably understand that it’s best to end the relationship. Yet when it’s a best friend who’s tearing you apart, for some reason you’ll probably keep giving them chance after chance. I’ve learned that coming to the conclusion of ending a long term friendship sucks more than I can say, but I should never stick with someone simply because I have a history with them. We don’t have the past anymore, all we can do is take the best people into our futures and hope they’ll want to come along.