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The Types of Friends You Make in College

Since grade school, most of us have been familiar with the acronym BFF and have integrated the phrase into our everyday vocabulary. Sadly, going to college often means temporarily leaving your lifelong BFFs to create new ones over the course of the next four or so years. 

It is surreal that it’s the last quarter of my first year and I can still remember the excitement of day one. Naturally, you lose touch with friends you were once close to in the midst of making new connections with the people around you. But, that’s a great way to see your BFFs shine through. You check in on each other every now and then, talk on the phone if time permits, visit each other when school breaks don’t coincide, etc. 

Over the course of this school year, I’ve come to learn that there are two kinds of friends you have in your life, and they come with nifty acronyms that will make you forget BFFs were ever a thing. They are your TAB and HAB friends.   

TAB friends stand for the “Take a Bullet” friends. These are the people you literally would die for and they would do the same for you because they know you to your core. You both share unconditional love for each other through highs, lows, and everything in between. The “Take a Bullet” friends can be the people back home you return to every break, your sorority sister you met during recruitment, or in my case, my roommate and the friends in my English classes! 

HAB friends are the “Hi and Bye” friends. Truthfully, you’re only friends with each other because it is convenient for the time being. These can be people you live next to, the girl that sits behind you in class for the quarter, your coworker at your summer job, etc. They are more than acquaintances, but you don’t know them well enough to deem them a TAB friend. Neither of you make an effort to extend the interactions beyond the circumstances that are presented to you, and that is completely okay. Not everyone you encounter will become a “Take a Bullet” friend, but your HAB friends can eventually turn into TAB friends over time!

Be wary of unbalanced friendships — they just aren’t very fun. If you’re willing to take a bullet for someone but they aren’t willing to do the same for you, adjust the energy you’re putting into the friendship. You are the one who decides who is a TAB or a HAB friend because cultivating lasting friendships require effort. But, if the person is truly a “Take a Bullet” friend, the effort feels effortless

I know that all of this sounds like it belongs in a children’s picture book. However, it is often the lessons we learn as children that are most pertinent to our adult lives. 

Having good friends make all the difference in the world. There’s a lovely quote one of my favorite English teachers posted on her Facebook timeline last week: “I’m so glad that friends don’t come with a price tags. I could never afford the wonderful friends I have”. This is beyond true, TAB and HAB friends included. What they say is true: the best things in life are free! 

Caitlyn is a third-year student at UC Davis. She is studying Information & Communication Technology and English, with a minor in Computer Science. You can find her conducting Picnic Day board meetings as Vice Chair, working on code for research projects, downing an iced black tea and enjoying a good book.
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