In my AP Literature class, we had an assignment to write everything and anything on our minds on the topic of Friendship to mirror our stream of consciousness. In that 5-minute timed writing period, I dug into my feelings. Below is some of my 17-year-old insight on friendship.
Sometimes, when it feels like my life is pulling me from all directions and I’m losing control, I miss the good ol’ days of first grade when things were simpler. I remember very vividly going up to unfamiliar faces on the playground and the easy task of making friends by asking “Do you want to be my friend?”. If they said yes, then I made a new friend. If they said no, that was okay too.
But then my teenage years hit, and things weren’t so simple anymore. Friendship became rather delicate—a balance between kindness and artifice. It became impossible to tell whether that girl actually liked my dress or was just lying to my face only to make fun of me later with her friends. Gossip was (and still is) definitely a thing, although it was never for me. For a while, I was friendly with a few people who said some horrible things about other people behind their backs.
But then they started doing it to me. And for someone who has never really been involved in drama before and as a girl who was already pretty insecure, it completely broke me. I blamed myself for everything: What was I doing wrong? Why don’t they like me? Does everyone secretly hate me? I know it sounds silly, but as someone who often gets in her head over the smallest things, this really took over my thoughts. I became extremely self-conscious and even more insecure.
After some advice from people who understood how I had felt, I slowly got over it. Today, I just wish that I could speak to my past self and tell her “it’ll be okay, it’s not your fault”. I know now that what I really should have done back then is to avoid the people who hurt me. I realize now that it’s okay to not be everybody’s friend. Sometimes, people are just different. And sometimes, people go through rough patches and take it out on others.
Friendship is based on kindness and trust. Friendship is important. Friendship is a lot of things, and everybody needs it. But the idealistic idea of friendship shouldn’t take over your mind and character like it did to me. Friendship doesn’t have to be forever, nor does it have to surround you. Ultimately, people are different and people change. Friends are great, but you don’t have to be friends with everyone and you don’t have to be friends with them forever.
At 17, I’ve learned a little bit about friendship. I’ve been there, through loads of tears and loads of laughs. I also know that I’ll go through much more in the years to come. But this is what I’ve gathered so far. Trust me, being accepted for being anything but yourself is a waste of a friendship.