School is in session and it’s nothing like we’ve ever experienced before. There are faces we have only seen through social media or a zoom class, desks we sit at rather than our beds at home, and masks that cover half of a person’s face. This change has allowed people to learn more about themselves and others around them. Discovering more about yourself can lead to a new perspective on the people in your life and whether they are significant in your growth. Specifically, friendships have been impacted in this pandemic because the lack of being able to see one another has tested how much effort is put into the relationship.
Friendships play an important role in some lives because they can shape who a person is and form a relationship like no other. On the other hand, since friendships influence a person so heavily, this can be in a negative way as well. This pandemic has given people the space to step back and reflect on these negative influences and determine whether they are worth your time. Furthermore, this raises the question “what is a friend?” and how can you tell if they will benefit your life in a positive way.
Being a friend has different definitions based on who the person is and how they receive love. For example, one person may feel someone is a true friend if they give them gifts, while another person may feel someone is a true friend if they spend time with them a lot. At the end of the day, there is a general understanding as to what a friend should and shouldn’t be. A friend should listen and give advice without judgment. This advice should come out of wanting what’s best for you, but supporting your decisions despite it going with the advice they give. A friend who listens will also be able to acknowledge what you like and don’t like. This goes from talking about food, to clothes, to the actions of a person. A friend showing that they listen to what you say can be paired with the effort they put into you.
In almost every relationship, effort is a major contribution to feeling that the person is stable in your life. For friendships, effort looks like them asking you to hang out before you do, being there for you whether they understand what you’re going through or not, acting accordingly to how they know you feel loved the most, showing that they think about you even when you’re not together, and so much more. The little things add up over time and the actions not shown will be noticed just as much as the things they do decide to do for you. Effort is a general statement that can be stretched out as far as communicating within the friendship. A friendship doesn’t mean you’ll always agree, but if not then an effort needs to be made to find a solution to this disagreement.
Finding even just one solid friend can be difficult, especially as a college student returning to school after not much social interaction over the last year. It’s important to make sure you’re doing your part as a friend as well. Ask yourself this question, “am I listening and putting effort into this person?”. Although the situation can often occur where you give more than you receive, it’s significant to acknowledge whether you stopped giving or if you never did to begin with.
Listening and effort are just two of the many characteristics of a friend, but are valid attributes that you should check that all of your friends are doing for you. Not having friends who support you can be draining, especially when you realize they are turning you into someone you’re not. Some of you may have just realized you don’t have anyone truly by your side after this pandemic, but the journey to finding new friends can be exciting. Once those true friends are in your life, you will realize what positive influences look like and what kind of person you are capable of being with this person or people living life alongside you.