I never understood friend groups.
Particularly, I do not understand how anyone can decide when to eat, study, and hangout with other people all based on another person’s schedule.
My stomach would be growling like a lion if I had to follow the schedule of people in a friend group. I could never imagine waiting until a specific time and a particular location, to start and finish my meals. I love eating my food in small bites, listening to the chatter of the people around me, and staring outside the window of the dining hall, imagining about the lives of other people.
I say “hi” to my many acquaintances in the dining hall who always say “hi” back and give me a smile. My mind wonders about the lives of my acquaintances. I observe their behaviors closely, taking in their body language, who talks to whom, who talks the most, and who looks at their phone.
Tense and calm emotions flow throughout the friend group dynamics. Some people have their shoulders turned slightly away but their eyes looking at the other person in their conversation, right in the eyes. Other people saying “yeah” but gazing at their cell phone, scrolling through it. Other people lean close against another person, shoulders to shoulder, their faces inward together. I watch people with smiles from ear to ear but whose eyes speak a story of intense worry. I observe people with open feet as if to say, “I am confident and open minded”. I see people with crossed legs, because they want to avoid what they are talking about, or people tapping their feet while thinking hard or listening to an interesting conversation.
I take in all of these observations and more, collecting them in my mind.
I often spend the entire weekend locked up in my bedroom or in the library, at the long wooden table, resting my gaze on my computer or books, soaking up terms I need to memorize, typing essays, or contemplating how to apply information that I am learning. I also spend hours curating content for my different internships.
During the week, my mind is hyper fixated on my voluminous amount of research interests. I have delved into the world of neuroscience, studying the impacts of bullying on the brain, reading medical journals, blog posts, and articles on neuroscience and anti-bullying websites. I have discovered serious and detrimental issues caused by the high levels of stress of bullying, particularly as a child and a teenager, which causes the brain to develop abnormally. Brain scans of bullied people and of people who were not bullied, show these stark differences in parts of the brain for people who are bullied, are underdeveloped and smaller and other areas of the brain, are larger. This results in people who were bullied producing too much cortisol on a regular basis, even after no longer being bullied, compared to people who were not bullied. The brain scans show that people who were severely bullied have the same amount of continuous stress levels as people who were severely abused as children at home.
I crave the listening ear of a genuine conversation. Not the conversations where people gasp over celebrities’ dating lives, who wore the prettiest top at fraternity parties I never attend, who threw up the night before, which people suck, etc. I yearn for deep and thoughtful conversations with people about the meanings of life, philosophy, talking about how to understand different genres of music, looking at photos of cute animals and talking about them, and talking about my many research interests.
I hope to make a close friend one day, who shares my same passion for conversation but, for now, I keep trying until I find them.