on friendship

4 Mar

I’m at a point in my life where my most important relationships are with my friends. I’m not dating anyone, and while I love my family, I only see them a few times a year. My friends are a sort of surrogate family, and I find that fascinating, because there are so many different kids of friendships.

For one thing, I live with five friends. When I was younger, sitting in my bedroom bored on the weekend because I had no one to hang out with, I remember thinking how great it would be if I had a sibling my age – it would be like living with a friend! Well, now I do, and it’s just about as awesome as I thought it would be. Sitting around at the breakfast table can be the best part of my day. I can be getting ready for bed and end up rolling with laughter for an hour because I got caught up in the hallway while making the six-foot trek from my bedroom to the bathroom. These are the people that are the most like a surrogate family, because they’re there, all the time. Living with them has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

My housemates are a subset of another group of life-changing people: my college friends. A lot of my college friends are people I wouldn’t have been friends with in high school, because of stupid narrow ideas about who I was and who other people were. They’ve widened my worldview, challenged my viewpoints, accepted me for who I am and given me room to change. I’m a completely different person than I was in September 2009, and I like it. I know I can go to any one of them with a problem. I’ve fought with them more than I ever did with my friends pre-college, but after every fight we’ve come back together as stronger friends. I appreciate them for all the late-night debates and random adventures we’ve had.

Then there are the friends that I haven’t seen for ages. I’m thinking of one girl in particular, who I haven’t seen for five years. We were best friends for about a year and a half until she moved away in the two weeks between our birthdays sophomore year of high school. We stayed in touch for a bit, then she cut off all contact with me. I just got a single text – “please stop calling me.” It hurt, really bad. I didn’t understand what had happened. I thought I had done something wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what. After a year or so of that, she started to occasionally talk to me via text or facebook, about the most random things. I think that might have been even more confusing. One day, years after she left, I came home to find a bag on my parent’s porch of things that belonged to me. There was no note, but I knew it was from her. Eventually, I learned about what was going on in her life during those years and was a bit more understanding about the spotty contact, but it still hurt.

Our lives went in completely different directions. There’s almost nothing in common between where the two of us are now. But now, we talk. Not regularly, not about anything important, but we do. And I hope that someday I’ll see her again and we’ll get to catch up, because I still care about her. So I guess what I’ve learned from her is that sometimes they hurt you, but sometimes that’s not because of anything you did. And sometimes people disappear out of your life, but sometimes they come back.

Speaking of people who leave and come back. There are those friendships you grow out of, or just away from, and then they come back. Like the sixth grade best friend I barely saw until sophomore year of high school and now make sure to see every time we’re home on break. Or the boy I had a crush on in eighth grade, got to know in high school, and ended up – totally platonically – traipsing about Europe with this summer. It makes me wonder who’s going to come back into my life at some point in my future.

And of course, the people who have always been there. The people who knew me during the awkward middle-school years (I’m not really good friends with anyone from elementary school anymore) and can quote our terrible 8th grade play or remember sitting on the couch during Integrated II freshman year. We’ve all changed a lot, none of us are the same people we were when we walked across that stage at graduation. But there are those few people who were then and are still here now, and one of the best feelings in the world is referencing an inside joke that’s been around for seven years. Plus, it’s great to have an outsider to rant to about all the college drama.

There are friends of convenience. People I only know because we, say, swing dance together. Or work on the newspaper together. Or play the mellophone together. They’re fun, they widen my social circle, and we wouldn’t have any reason to spend time together outside of our joint activity. There’s no problem with this kind of friendship, and sometimes people are great convenient friends but not someone I particularly want to be closer with. But then some of the best friendships are the ones that start off as convenient friends, and then turn into real friends. And those people then become the reason that you, say, attend a basketball game on a Thursday night before a test. Partially because you don’t want to let them down, and partially because you just want to hang out with them.

There are so many different kinds of friendships you can have, and I’m fascinated by how they all change who I am, and how it’s impossible to predict who those friendships are going to be with. And I feel so lucky to have all these people in my life – even people who will take the time out of their day to read my ramblings on the internet!

Or maybe this all comes down to having approximately one friend from kindergarten through second grade and just being grateful people are now willing to speak to me. That’s probably it.


4 Responses to “on friendship”

  1. Amy March 6, 2012 at 12:51 am #

    I didn’t miss it. I just wanted you to say it again. Hahaha

    • laurenkcampbell March 6, 2012 at 12:57 am #


      Dear Amy,

      Thanks for keeping me sane. You’re great.


  2. Amy March 4, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    SNIFF you have real friends at the newspaper. SNIFF.
    I liked this one 🙂

    • laurenkcampbell March 5, 2012 at 12:32 am #

      You clearly missed my point! Which was, essentially, that you weren’t my real friend and now you are.

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