- Grace Anderson
Friendship: there are many necessary things in life, but I believe friendship to be one of the most valuable. They are the people who complete us - someone to talk to, spend time with, comfort us and most importantly laugh with. However, in life we all meet thousands of people and experience many friendships, some which last for a short amount of time, some that end badly, some in which you just gradually drift apart and some that last. The question I often ask myself is – how do I know when I have made a lifelong friend? And how can I distinguish between a friend and a really good friend?
After 21 years I still don’t feel any closer to answering these questions. Life is a funny thing and friendships are even more complex but essential to living a happy life. I am becoming aware that having a small close knit group of friends is a lot more meaningful than having lots of friends. Safe to say I have experienced my fair share of friendships, some good, some not so good, but you aren’t going to get on with everyone and sometimes I have had to learn the hard way: from playground fallouts, to bitchy girls and to people who simply don’t care enough!
I like to see the good in everyone and often make excuses for my ‘friends’ who often don’t live up to this label. I am fully aware that no one is perfect, people fall out, people make up, this is a normal part of friendship but when is enough enough? And how do you know when someone is truly your friend?
One thing I have learnt as a university student is people walk in and out of your life constantly, you meet new people everyday but often these people I would class as circumstantial friends. These are the people who you spend time with due to being on the same course, or who you live with in first year, those who you know through a friend, and people who join the same societies as you do. Arguably, you spend time with them because you have to, they are around when you are and vica versa. But outside of university you may not make an effort to keep in touch, not because either of you are bad people but because this is how life works.
As the end of third year approaches there have been far too many goodbyes with many questions floating around in my head: will we keep in touch? Who was a circumstantial friend? And who will be a true lifelong friend?
However, I reassure you that it's normal to lose some friends after university, and throughout life you will lose even more circumstantial friends. Don't let this get you down or make you feel like it's your fault - it's a normal part of life. I often underestimate the extent to which we will all easily end up with different sets of people throughout life and it's normal to find and lose friends regularly.
Meanwhile, there is nothing better than having a few true friends that you will stay with throughout life, who will stay with you no matter what, despite the distance, despite life experiences. You will grow apart, whilst growing together. Staying in contact with people over a long distance is hard but it is possible and you can make it work.
I know this because I do know a couple of amazing people who I am blessed to have in my life and I hope they know who they are. Despite not being able to distinguish between who is and isn't a lifelong friend, what I do know is who makes me feel happy, loved and wanted. There are very few people in my life that I know can make me laugh no matter what, or who I can talk to about anything with no fear of judgement. Those who no matter how rubbish I can be at times they still understand and are still there.
This is dedicated to you, and you know who you are. I just wanted to write this public thank you and share how blessed I feel to have you special people in my life. And for those of you who are worrying about losing and maintaining friendships, this is a big part of life and you're not the only one who is often unsure where you stand. Just never forget that you are not alone and this is a normal part of life. To have friendship is to have comfort. In times of trouble and depression, a friend is there to calm us and make us feel a little more ourselves. Lasting friendship is a blessing which I feel lucky to have.