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Let's Talk: Stop Expecting People to Change

Sometimes I like to take a step back and reflect on the beautiful people that have touched my life, especially in my years of being at a Penn State campus. Whenever I’m down on my luck, I look at the people around me and appreciate all the wonderful things we have contributed to each other’s lives. Some of my best friends are people that I would pass in hallways my first semester and wouldn’t show interest in being around. First impressions can kill; sometimes they’ll give you a dishonest and bad impression, sometimes they’ll give you an impression that is too good to be true.

We each have our own world, as in the way that we have lived our lives and the ways we want to continue to live them. We shape our days, our majors, and our choices into what we want them to be now because of what we eventually want to be in the future. The way we let ourselves grow up has shaped our desires and goals. Then we usually surround ourselves with people that have the same interests and and tendencies that we do, and only then do we realize that we’re bored.

So then we go on to finding new people with new adventures. We find people who spark new interests within us and who inspire us to be something else. Their differences and beauty and lifestyles influence us. We continue to change because of the people who touch our lives at some point, but we change because there are parts of them that make us want to.

There is a problem we have, a moment when we realize that people catch on to stuff that we do and that we catch on to some of their tendencies too. We use the same words, sometimes we react that same way, and sometimes we even develop the same values and beliefs. At times, these are things that just fall into place over time, and we don’t even realize that it is happening. Other times, we personally want to work on these aspects because we can see some positivity come from these certain characteristics.

Sometimes all of it can just be temporary and we revert back to our old selves. We are so obsessed with being our own people that we begin to feel threatened when we catch ourselves being influenced by someone else. The truth is that we are growing. We’re young college students who are growing from teenagers, to young adults, to graduates, to providers. We are still learning about what we love and what we hate. We are learning new things about ourselves as we experience more, and we are learning about other people as we go on as well. Our experiences affect us and teach us more about who we want to be. The people we run into and develop natural relationships with teach us as well.

Even when we look for new adventures, we have moments when we want to change the people around us. Maybe we would prefer for them to be more liberal or more studious. Sometimes it can be beneficial. Maybe other times, we would wish they were more willing to go out with us on Friday nights or that they would be more patient when we rant. After all, we will always be willing to stay up with them until four in the morning when they needed a shoulder to cry on.

But just because you did something for them, does not mean that you should expect it in return. Because you give it all up for someone, it does not mean that you should be asking for the same thing in return. To ask for certain qualities and characteristics from someone is to force them to become someone for you. If you are creating someone for you, you are overcoming their differences that attracted you to them in the first place. Don’t try to change people and don’t let people change you. Compliment them. We don’t need to be the same person, and we don’t know how we would get along if we were complete opposites. Life is about finding a balance that will make you happy. When we find the right people to be around, we live in harmony. Our goal shouldn’t be to force the wrong person into being right for us. It should be about learning from our choices and shaping ourselves into beautiful and positive people. When you give that positivity out into the world, you will receive it. Do not be disappointed when someone does not change into the person you wanted. Instead, remember the best qualities and remember the good that they brought into your life. Every person can bring something new and wonderful to another, and they have no reason to be put down by others who have yet to understand their beauty. It’s a game of patience, but it is also a time for growth and finding out who we really are.

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