You shouldn’t try holding onto friendships just out of respect to the time you’ve had.
And when you stop seeing eye to eye or the relationship becomes toxic, it is time to move on. Jealousy, competition and dishonesty are not good qualities in a friendship.
I’ve discovered that I’ve been holding onto several people in my life simply because we’ve known each other since we were children. As time has passed, we’ve started judging each other just because we’ve changed from the people we once were.
When you’re younger, you grow close to the people around you because you don’t know how to discern the signs of unhealthy relationships, but college provides the time and space to let go.
I came to college hoping to become friends with everyone — to have a personal connection with every person in my residence hall and classes.
I’ve noticed that many people don’t like reaching out. If I want to be friends with someone, I usually have to be the first to introduce myself and solidify the relationship.
If I wanted to, I could make an enormous effort to grab the attention of those around me and establish a position in their lives. I could pretend to laugh at jokes that aren’t funny and participate in things that I have no interest in doing.
I’ve realized that trying to fit in with everyone is not worth it. Instead of focusing on getting other people to like me, I’ve decided to focus on myself. I don’t need to prove that I’m funny or adventurous because I already know that I am. If they don’t want to get to know that side of me then it’s their loss.
Besides, differences in perspective and experiences are what make relationships interesting. Don’t ever pretend to like something because your friend does. Always be honest and be yourself.
All throughout my life, I felt like I had to hold myself back to keep from showing who I truly am. I absolutely love dressing up, but if all my friends are wearing jeans then I think twice about putting on heels or a skirt.
This second guessing translates to class where I often stop participating, so it doesn’t seem like I have a big opinion of myself.
My only two real friends at Lehigh understand that and have accepted all of my quirks from the moment they met me. I haven’t had the best of luck with friends throughout my life, but recently I’ve come across a few friendships that have made 10 years tremble from the strength of two months.
The length of friendship determines neither loyalty, quality, nor superiority. So don’t underestimate the strong characteristics a single person might possess that could have an impact on your life.
If you do see negative qualities in a friend, make sure you speak up. Don’t let things go unsaid out of fear of loss.
I have also discovered that the best of friends may not be your age.
As a college student with a close friend still in ninth grade, I know for a fact that maturity can start at early ages. She has shown me how to be strong, and to practice relentlessly to be the best that I can be. I treat none of my friends differently because of the number of years on their belt, especially those that are older than me.
Many of my most devoted, loyal friends are also older than me. They are my parents, who have listened to my opinions, sacrificed everything for my benefit and believed in me since the day I was born.
I have learned to never take the people close to me for granted. It’s important to let them know how much they mean to you for just being a friend.
Leidy Mary, ’22, is an assistant news editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected].