How do you value friendship?
It's something that came up today in a conversation with my friend, Steve. I think about it often because it's always been apparent to me that I'm different from most people in this regard.
First, I'm THE MOST stereotypical only child. I had a gaggle of imaginary friends when I was younger (yeah, we'll go with that, "when I was younger") and seriously need my alone time.
Second, my parents are wonderful people but I think when they found each other, they were very happy with their relationship and didn't bother to build up their own circle of friends. Consequently, I never did this either.
Third, I am a perfectly independent person and for awhile felt no "need" for friends.
That last one is the one that changed when I got to college.
That's not to say I DIDN'T have friends in high school, I definitely did, a lot of them I still talk to. I just found it easier to talk to my parents most of the time, and therefore felt no dependence on my friends at school. Friends were nice, they were never a necessity.
Now that I'm three hours away and can't talk to my parents as readily, I've had to make friends not just for fun but because I really did NEED them.
Making friends isn't easy for me because I don't trust easily. My experience indicates that people generally trust someone until given a reason not to. I, however, don't trust anyone until given a reason to. My trust is earned, it should never, EVER be assumed.
Since I have a stronger need for friends now more than ever, I've had to let my guard down and open up to people more. I've been lucky that I chose a school with mostly people like me, so when I feel the need to spill my guts, people get it. I have felt multiple times that my trust has not been given in vain. I'm starting to understand the rewards that really come with friendship, and learn why we really need them. Seems weird to only figure this out now, at 20, but I guess better now than later.
The hardest part has been learning how to BE a good friend, though, not just HAVING good friends. Like, I should be willing to talk to my friends when they're feeling crappy, and be understanding of them. That's hard for me because my bullshit radar will sometimes go off and I'm tempted to turn into the dad from That 70's Show.
But I'm learning. And I'm getting there.
It's funny how there are some 5-year-olds out there better at this than me. >.>