2 Important Lessons I’ve Learned about College Friendships
“Who am I going to hang out with now?”
The question permeated my thoughts in the months leading up to my freshman year. I went a different direction than most of my friends when I decided to come to PCC. The people who had been with me for most of my life would no longer be by my side.
I had mixed feelings. I was overwhelmed, excited, and a little nervous. But this is a big campus, so I knew my chances of meeting great friends were pretty high.
But I wasn’t expecting the lessons that came along with making new friends.
1.) I couldn’t befriend everyone.
During my first week on campus, I hung out with a lot of different groups, and I loved befriending new people. But I quickly learned that it was going to be impossible to start a life-changing relationship with everyone. I couldn’t hop from group to group and expect to have strong friendships because friendships don’t just happen. It takes time and effort to forge relationships. And this meant that I was going to have to learn another lesson.
2.) A few great friends are better than popularity.
I tend to think that those who know the most people are the role models for relationships. If you’re popular, you have it all together with your relationships. But this is often not the case. Popularity should not be our standard for friendships. You could have a hundred people who like you, but not have one person close enough to you to share your struggles with.
Yes, it’s possible to be popular and to have strong relationships, but popularity should never be our goal. I’ve been enthralled by the desire for popularity, but I’ve learned that it’s not about being well-known. Friendships are so much more than knowing someone. The best friendships form because you try to understand someone. You feel your friends’ pain. You take joy in their happiness. And you make time for them.
I’m so thankful for the friends that have been there for me. The friends that I can share my struggles with. The friends that encourage me. And the friends that take me aside if they notice something’s not right. These few great friends have meant so much more to me than popularity ever could.
Just two small lessons in friendship have helped me focus on what kind of friend I need to be. The people you get to know in these few years at college will help shape the kind of person you will be for the rest of your life. So let’s avoid wasting time trying to be everyone’s friend or seeking popularity. And let’s remember that friendships are valued by quality not quantity.32