written by Kelsey May
June 27th, 2017
Friendships are tough. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been a shoddy friend and an amazing friend, and most of the time, my behavior had very little to do with my friends and a lot to do with my own availability and interests.
Like many of you reading, I’ve lost, made, and lost touch with lots of friends. Middle school was rough; I cried a lot on the bus ride home, lonely and feeling left out of inside jokes and dating. In high school, my closest friends drifted into other cliques, dedicated their time to sports and colorguard, and spent time with their significant others. It was really tough to lose friends during those years, when I often needed someone to sympathize with over A.P. Econ or to fret with over what to wear to the school dance. I found my closest friends in those who I had never given much thought to, friends I’d never hung out with except in group settings but who went on to stand with me in my wedding.
It’s really difficult to be lonely; I feel for those of you out there who have been home alone on a Friday night or who miss the sleepover days of childhood. Loneliness comes and goes; sometimes, you’ll find you’re relieved to have alone time to process life, catch up on a good book, or go for a run. Look for opportunities to bond with new (or familiar) people over your hobbies and passions. I made lots of new friends by joining a club in college that organized social justice actions and protests. I also am still best friends with two women I befriended back in high school through a writing group.
That being said, I still rarely go out with friends, and most of the events I RSVP to on Facebook I end up going to solo. But it gives me the chance to challenge my independence and have interesting conversations with new people. My last piece of advice – don’t take it personally when people cancel plans or don’t reply to a text message right away. I’ve been the person too busy to return a text or too overwhelmed to follow through with plans, and I always feel terrible for cancelling, but sometimes I find myself doing it anyway.
Do the things you’re interested in doing, whether it’s seeing the latest movie or going for a Saturday morning hike. Sometimes, friends will be able to tag along (or maybe they’ll see your Instagram pics and invite you to their next outing).
Sometimes, you’ll have the day to yourself, so live fully and embrace your days no matter who they’re spent with. And if you find yourself complaining about a lack of friends, start cultivating a spirit of gratitude for the experiences you have shared with others; I’m sure your past is much more richly embroidered than you remember.