While watching an episode of New Girl a few weeks ago – which was hilarious as usual – I stumbled upon a question posed by Nick and Jess: why are we still friends with certain people?
Sure you like your friends – you kind of have to. But do you know why they’re your friends? Chances are you might… especially if you became friends recently. But if you didn’t, after being friends with someone for so long, you sometimes have to wonder… if you met them today would you still be friends?
During childhood, friends are made for the following reasons: 1. Your parents: They want you to be friends with their friends’ kids. Duh. 2. Your neighborhood: You can’t drive anywhere, so whoever lives around you and is near your age will do. 3. Your class. Each year, you’re assigned a teacher and 15-25 prospective friends and since you are around these people every single day, you are basically forced into friendships with at least some of them.
When you enter middle school, you are hit with a harsh slap of reality. People begin to develop interests. New friends are made and old ones are dropped. You have new found interests and most likely classify as a stereotype (you know – a preppy A&F wearing mean girl phase or a rebellious badass goth). You also have multiple classes with multiple people instead of that one class you had each year in elementary school. You’re meeting people left and right. But the pool you’re selecting friends from is still small. And you’re still… young.
As you get older and start to ‘mature,’ the pool of people you select friends from becomes larger and you are smarter about who you choose. In high school you are constantly grouped with people who you have at least one thing in common with. If someone is in the same classes as you, you share the same level of intelligence. If someone is on your sports team, you share a mutual love for whatever that sport may be. You spend most of your time with people you have things in common with and therefore develop bonds with (some of) them. This leads to you making new friends, but it doesn’t mean you drift from old friends. This is high school. People are mean! Just because you get along at practice, doesn’t mean you can sit with so-and-so at lunch. Right?
After high school ends, your world is (hopefully) opened up to the magical land of college. Beginning when you arrive freshman year, you already have a million more things in common with everyone around you than you did with those in your high school halls. You are equally intelligent as everyone else (kind of), as you managed to get into the same school. You each enjoy different aspects of the same school and it’s surrounding city/town. And everyone in your major wants to go into the same field as you. From classes to the dorms to to sports to extracurricular activities to parties – The options of friend-making are endless. Your world is opened up to all sorts of people from all sorts of places. You start learning new things – both in the classroom and out – and eventually mature (at least a little) and because of that – you change. Someone you would have become friends with a few years ago might not be on your radar anymore. Someone you may have hated in high school might become your new BFF. But does that mean you ditch all friends who are now different than you? Not at all.
People continue to change after graduating college and never really stop. We continue to get older and eventually move to different places, work in different industries, and begin lives that are different from others. Some get married 10 years earlier than others. Some take the plunge into starting a family while others are still living the single life basking in one night stands and a whole lot of vodka. It is rare for two long time friends to follow the same ‘life timeline.’ You might be on the same so-called timeline until one of you suddenly is forced to jump ship to due a breakup or potential lay off. But just because someone isn’t ‘on your level’ anymore, that doesn’t mean you have to ditch the unfamiliar. In fact, they are the familiar. The key to your past – and why would you want to lose every single connection to your past? I mean, you can’t laugh about your first kiss with a co-worker. You can’t reminisce about your crazy 7th grade science teacher with a college friend.
The episode of New Girl ended with Jess asking CC if they would still be friends if they met today. CC responded that it didn’t matter because they’re friends now. So although you may sometimes question why you’re still friends with so-and-so, it’s normal. Maybe you wouldn’t be friends if you met today (chances are you probably wouldn’t), but that’s the cool thing about life. Who wants a group of friends where everyone is the same? Do you know how boring that would be? What if you needed relationship advice or something? You certainly couldn’t take advice from friends if they were all in the same boat as you. So from now on go with the flow. Be friends with whoever. It’s not even like you have to try to be friends with people anymore (thanks technology).If you’re meant to drift away from someone you will – believe me. But for now, be happy you have friends. Some people, like, don’t.