It’s funny, the friends you make. They are often so different from any of the friends you would have expected to choose. Some of them are quite unlikely, and can be forged at almost any point throughout your life. You form bonds that become stronger than you ever thought could occur, you find yourself with an extended family of sorts. I have a friend who I have known most of my life, who initially I thoroughly disliked, but now care for more than any other. Not just for the fights we’ve faced together, or how we always accept each other, or call out each others’ mistakes, or because we laugh so hard we cry together, but because over time we have come to trust and love each other like siblings. And even after long times apart, it feels like we never lose touch. Personally, I couldn’t live without friends. People who help me grow, and make each day more full of life than I could ever experience on my own. I have friends who have become my sisters, and quite funnily their boyfriends have become my bros. I have crazy friends, who piss me off to no end, who I wouldn’t trade for the world. I have quiet friends who always know just what to say, approaching my problems with a comfortingly relaxed ease that I struggle to. Silly friends who make me laugh, and shake my head at the same time. I have loved, and lost, and rebuilt friendships over the past few years. Some don’t always last, but some can bind souls so that after decades you are still close and can still rely on one another no matter what.

You get old friends you only talk to two or three times a year, but you still follow all the same things, and can talk with ease, like it was only yesterday you were complaining how much you didn’t want to do the maths homework. You get friends who drift away after school, but it’s okay cause you know you’ve both made new friends where you’ve ended up. You get friends from school who you’ll stay tight with for the rest of your life, and that’s amazing. It’s amazing to find someone so early on who can grow with you as the years go on. Many believe it is at university where your strongest friendships are forged. Which in the most part is true. I have made more friends at university than I ever did at school. Having to find housemates you trust is partly to do with that I think. None of it is perfect though. The number of household disputes over milk and who empties the bin will be endless, but it’s all worth it (just always remember to do your bit). However, the friends you make in freshers week will not necessarily be the friends you end up sticking with. I know it took me at least a month and a half  to find the groups I’m with now. So don’t worry if you don’t bond right away, I don’t think you’re not supposed to. You’re still figuring out who you are in this new free world.

Once you’ve settled in however, that’s when friendships start to form and solidify. I met one girl getting the bus after class, turns out our Halls were right next to each other. And from becoming friends with her, a whole group formed. Then I met another girl in the queue registering for classes, I’m going on my year abroad to the same city with her later this year. But the people I met in my block of Halls, the people I’m living with now, they are some friendships I believe will last a lifetime. We’ve survived two years of living together, numerous arguments and disagreements, but we’ve shared so much, and we’ve learnt more about each other than anything taught to us in our classes. We know each other because we’ve talked, and eaten, and laughed, and cried, and breathed in the same space for so long, we are now attuned to one another. I’m not sure anything is more satisfying in a friendship than when you can not only tell something is up with a friend, but from how they are acting, narrow down just what it is that’s wrong. And even better, know just how to help them through it.

I am almost twenty now, and I know many of the friends I have gained since university, I likely would have just tried to be civil with in school and not really tried to become close with them. But unlikely friends are often the best kind. It’s the differences that makes it special, and the ability to get along even with these differences that makes us stronger people. Five years ago, I wasn’t really as open-minded as I am now, I was far too concerned with what people thought of me, and was only just starting to realise the growing I was going to have to do to get through my final three years of school. Yet now, all this time later, after learning a lot about myself and those I surrounded myself with, I see now I wasn’t too far off becoming someone with the self-esteem and strength that I needed. In large part, this was up to the family and friends who supported me in getting to that point. After shedding toxic people from your life, and finding those who make you want to get up in the morning, things are a lot brighter.

Once you find the right people, who draw out the best in you, and you help bring out the best in them, things get easier. I know it took me some time to figure out who I could really trust and rely on, but once I had, getting through the day became so much more fun. So don’t give up on finding friends who will end up sticking with you for the rest of your life, and don’t give up on them once you do. They rely on you probably as much as you rely on them. Once you realise just how important someone is to you, don’t let them go (unless they want to, sadly sometimes it is for the best). Good friendships are worth maintaining and holding on to, because what is life without friends?

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