As we grow into different stages of our lives, shifting from adolescence to adulthood, one thing that constantly wavers is our relationships with others. People come and go in a blink of an eye, leaving behind shared memories and valuable perspectives. With the uncertainty of who enters and leaves the various chapters within the story of our lives, friendships act as a place of solace where we can find peace and familiarity.
As I reflect on my time in elementary school, junior high, high school, and now college, I’ve noticed that the friendships I’ve formed each year change or evolve. Each year becomes different; the people I once hardly spoke to have become my best friends, while the people I’ve known for years have become distant strangers.
When I was little, I was often upset by this recurrence and felt an aching feeling when I lost a friend. I used to run to my mom’s car after school and re-enact the exact moment when I got into an argument or stopped being friends with someone during recess. I poured out all my frustrations to my parents and interrogated them about why people say the term “best friends forever” when they don’t mean it. In my early years of school, my mom always emphasized the importance of “Quality over Quantity” when carrying on friendships.
My mom tried to elaborate her stance on my naive and stubborn mind by saying that “as long as you have a couple of friends who you can be your most authentic self around and who love and support you regardless of your flaws, then you’re already making it far in life. It should not disturb you when people’s presence leave your life.” Thinking I already knew the inner workings of the world of friendships, I decided to ignore my mom’s advice until college.
In high school, I obsessed over being liked and known by people. I wanted to know as many people as I could. I sometimes worried if I had large enough friend groups; I wondered if my friends even liked me for who I was or if I was a good support system.
I became clouded in my perception of friendships that, within an instant, we graduated. I realized that, in the end, I made a bunch of acquaintances without developing an interpersonal connection with a lot of people. That is, until the summer before college.
The summer before entering as a college freshman, I used to facetime my best friends almost every day. They were one of the first groups of friends I made during my first year of high school. We made it a daily habit around March 2020 and continued months later to facetime.
We would talk about anything for hours, whether it was our fangirling over our favorite boy bands or having Netflix watch parties of our favorite shows. I slowly began to appreciate our phone calls more and more, and it became something I integrated into my daily schedule.
I began to appreciate the smaller groups of friends that I did have after graduating high school. I valued the small array of friends even outside my friend group who I continued to form personal connections with and cherished memories.
I would meet one of my best friends halfway by traveling to another city to meet up at the movies. We would meet every other month and catch up on the stages of our lives that we missed. We don’t talk every day, but when we would see each other or talk on the phone, we would pick off almost immediately from where we left off. We love talking about dreams of attending the same college and all the crazy adventures life brings us.
Most of my high school friends diverged into different career paths and school options. I typically see everyone around my winter and summer breaks. One of my close friends is a part of the navy, and we often try to see each other once during her off days and catch up on our goals and plans.
Some of my friends return from their own college experiences, and we often compare and contrast our experiences with each other and encourage one another when we’re having a hard time. Some of my friends decided to work immediately after graduating high school, and they often tell me about life within the workforce while also sharing their new interests or hobbies.
It took me a while to realize that creating deep and meaningful friendships with people is more important than being known by others. I used to be heartbroken by the loss of a friend until I realized that if you have a close bond with that person, your friendship can continue to stand the test of time. My high school friends helped me realize that you can be on different paths, but the memories you share will always bring you back together.
Having a large group of friends is perfectly normal as well! Large friend groups are beneficial in learning many more perspectives on situations or having support in more ways than a small number of friends can.
I try to implement my mom’s advice now when handling my college friends. I appreciate that college allows you to meet people from all over the world with different life experiences or ambitions as you, and I now often seek to form friendships based on a connection rather than the number of friends made.
People will come and go from your life. Don’t feel discouraged if someone you thought would be your friend forever goes their separate ways. You’ll meet many more people and create new experiences, so it’s important to treasure the moments of youth while you still can and be with friends that make you feel happy and appreciated!
Do you prefer large friend groups or small friend groups? Do you believe “Quality over Quantity” is important when discussing friendships? Let us know @HerCampusSJSU!