The art of making a friend


The art of making a friend. It’s easy for some, while others dread the idea. But I think we all are missing an important aspect of it: that sometimes, the most rewarding friendships are found in the most unlikely places.

Freshman year. As we walk through those double doors, there’s tension in the air. Air full of expectations and nerves. I’m sure to a certain extent, we all felt that same fear, that uncertainty, of what lay ahead. Uncertainty is okay, especially concerning new beginnings and new friends. However, I feel like the anxiety we experience as we mature from our middle school selves into our high school selves is mainly focused around the fear of making functional friendships. But with that being said, I think by opening ourselves up to stepping outside our comfort zone of friends and branching out into the unknown sea of people, we can help alleviate this stress. It allows us to find friends in the most unlikely of places, because sometimes we only look in the places where we are familiar, which is why we can often come up empty-handed.

This won’t be a quick fix, but I think it’s just all around an important thing for people to hear. No matter who you are or where you come from, open yourself up to new people.

I came in freshman year not knowing anyone. I met some of the nicest girls, and I never expected to. But looking back, I could have done something that would have kept me from making those very same friends: closing myself off to different types of people.

We all know that person, the one who we think we could never be friends with. They’re just too different from us– too “preppy” or too “athletic,” to name a few. I understand wanting to make friends with people who feel safe because they are the most like you, and you feel like you already know them. But when we seclude ourselves to the illusion separation, such as grades and pay wages, it keeps us from truly being able to flourish as a person, and we end up missing out on the opportunity to meet friends we never thought we’d find.

After college, nothing that happened in high school will matter. I can’t guarantee you will stay friends with your high school best friend(s) or not, but I can say everything you know about people will change. I think that if we are not careful, we could miss out on some of the best friendships we could ever have. By building a wall between us and others, it puts up barriers between someone you never saw being a friend.

Some of the most talented, unique, kind, and all around amazing friends I have I would have never found if I had let myself fall into the trap of “playing it safe.” Life isn’t safe, so why should we be? I feel far too often we think, “There is no way I could ever be friends with them,” heck I’ve even thought it. But I’ve always been proved wrong. And in this case, I don’t think there is any better place to be wrong.

No one is better than the next. No one. You might have different talents or different abilities, but you are not better. There is no way you could be. So then that brings up the question of why do we think we are? We can’t simply close people out because we see ourselves on different levels. Something I’ve learned over and over is that my first impression or thoughts I have about a person are almost never who they really are. I have been taken aback by how unique and special all of my friends are, but they are nothing like I first pictured them.

My point is, there is no reason we should compromise an entire friendship off of the “rumors” or first impressions we have about people. We have to- we must- have a state of mind that is open to anything and anyone. Because at the core, the only thing that could keep us apart is our differences, yet, even those can sometimes bring us together. After all, differences are how this world functions with all its different ideas and designs and religions. And at the heart of things, everyone has their own battles. Just because yours look different than another person’s, does not make you a better person or mean that you should separate yourself.

Possibly the only thing worse than disregarding a person based off of an assumption is when we force our first impressions onto other people. No “friend” should keep you from being friends with someone based off of what they believe and/or what they claim to know. Their opinions of people are almost always wrong because they are based on what they want to be true, rather than what is. I understand the desire to protect our friends, but keeping them from becoming friends with other people based off of what you think makes you appear less like a friend and more like someone who wants to run their life. Warnings are acceptable, but forbidding or keeping someone from exploring a new friendship is just cruel.

In college, everything we know about friendships will change. Everything. You will branch out and go on new adventures and think new thoughts. You will explore new opportunities and perspectives, but that doesn’t mean you should be afraid to in high school, as well. You will miss out on so many life lessons and adventures if you continue to hide yourself away and build barricades between you and the person beside you.