This week’s topic from the NAS link up:
We LOVE the NAS community, but creating a real-life community is essential to our lives! What have been your struggles in making friends as a young adult? Do you have any advice for those struggling to build community post-college?
So, I’m going to amend this a little, seeing as how I’m not living post-college. I’m going to talk about making friends in college as that’s something I actually have experience with.
I’ll admit I’m lucky when it comes to my friends. I have a great core group of girls. And even though we don’t always get along perfectly and we’ve certainly been known to annoy each other I couldn’t trade them for the world. They make me a better me. I also have other great friends who continue to build me up. How did all these friendships begin?
Well, I think most began with a conversation. Now maybe you’d seen them around before or heard their name mentioned. But actual friendships form when at some point someone says something to someone else. Then things just kind of happen. You enjoy talking and you talk more. You do things together. You see each other. And bam one day you realize you’re friends. I know its probably not like that everywhere. It’s just been my experience.
Isn’t it kind of amazing how a person who was once a stranger, can suddenly, without warning, mean the entire world to you?” ~author unknown
There are different levels of friendship and acquaintance-ship. Friendships with girls and friendships with guys tend to be slightly different, at least in my experience. Especially when there’s interest on the girl’s side. Friendships also are different when you live with someone or work with them or if you’re just in class together or see each other around.
One thing I’ve learned though from my close friends is that a friendship requires work. I like to think I can be polite to anyone who is remotely polite back. But building a bond of true friendship requires effort and a few realizations.
1) No one’s perfect.
I think this is one of the most important realizations. I used to look for the perfect bestie. And I thought I’d fund her, twice. Only to be disappointed when she did something slightly annoying. I’ve since realized that we’re all human and it is all but impossible to find someone who thinks exactly like I do. And that’s ok. We need those differences to stretch us and form us into better people.
2) You do annoying things too.
Yep. I’m still learning this lesson. But it’s true. My friends aren’t perfect. But neither am I. I’m sure I do things that my roommates can’t stand. I whine. I talk too much. None of my anecdotes are funny. But they accept me even with those flaws, just as I should accept them.
3) Differences are okay.
Growing up my family did things one way. We made pancakes from scratch. We always had certain holiday traditions. We never made a cake except out of the box. We didn’t eat spam. My mom’s lasagna was the epitome of delicious. When I got to college my friends had different ideas and different traditions and different ways of doing things. I must admit it can be frustrating at times. But I know it’s important to see beyond that and recognize that just because they do something differently doesn’t make them wrong.
Though these are mostly suggestions for maintaining friendships I think they’re important to realize as you set out to make those solid friends.
There will be drama and difficulties but there’s a reason God placed these people into your life at this time. Maybe it’s so you can learn to be strong and walk away. But maybe it’s so you can be worn smooth and made into a better version of yourself.
On the practical side I think the most important things to remember are to find friends who share the same values as you (not necessarily religion but values) and who you have something in common with (interest, likes, temperament, etc). Find friends who will make you a better you, who will challenge you but not break you down. Then maintain those friendships, living them out with love and respect.