Les Joies d’Amis

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The joy of friends. There is so much joy that comes from strong, healthy, well-maintained friendships. Now, more than ever, this week I am so grateful for the people in my life, both back home and here in Kansas that I am blessed to call friends. I love that I have friends of all different types of personality. This is one thing I love about college – you have the opportunity to be in contact with so many diverse people. I have:

  • introverted friends
  • extroverted friends
  • friends that are 6’3
  • friends that are shorter than me (I know, crazy….)
  • friends with the same core religious beliefs as me
  • friends that have absolutely opposite beliefs
  • friends that make me laugh so hard I can’t breathe
  • friends that are older than me
  • friends that are monks (joys of living next to a monastery! :)
  • friends that don’t like people touching any of their own dairy products, but will share anything else.

Though they are all radically different, all of them challenge me, encourage me, and inspire to be a better person. 

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When I got to college last year, I made a novel discovery. I had to learn how to make new friends! Because I was able to grow up at such an amazing parish, most of my good friends I have known since I was a baby.

Being at college has allowed me to learn (more along the lines of “trial by fire”) – how to be a good friend and how to maintain healthy relationships. Oh, and don’t worry about my pride, I am still in the learning process, like everyone else. And I’m going to be honest, I fail monthly daily. Sometimes my selfishness gets in the way and I spend too much of the conversation talking about myself, sometimes my introverted nature gets in the way and I clam up and end up being that awkward one in the group who is absolutely silent, and sometimes my laziness gets in the way and I cancel plans or stop myself from making plans to see others. 

One thing I have been learning more recently is the importance of maintaining relationships with friends, but not trying to be good friends with everyone. It’s actually impossible to be good friends with everyone you know. This doesn’t mean that I have a license to not be friendly to everyone, but I have been getting into the habit of stretching myself too thin and not focusing on those friends that I sincerely hold close to my heart. I looked up one day and I realized that I spend an obscene a lot of time going on “coffee dates” and “lunch dates” and when the evening comes I just want to stay home! Those coffee and lunch dates were good, and they were filled with “catching up” on our lives, but I feel like they have been lacking something.

But just recently I rebelled. Against society. Well, that’s dramatic. More like against myself. I don’t like that every time I get together with a friend, it consists of “I haven’t seen you in forever! Let’s catch up on everything that has happened in our lives.” I can honestly say that I have never spent so much time talking about my daily life to so many people (because they asked, not because I accosted them). And these are people who I see at least every other day.

Note for all the people reading this back home: I’m not referring about you, since I don’t see you on a regular basis :).

 I’m not blaming anyone for it, because it is just what happens here at my college. But I’ve decided to focus on having more experiences with people – doing things and not just “catching up.” I’ve stopped stressing out about not hanging out with the 384,738,974 people that I am friends/acquaintances/we’re-facebook-friends-and-I-feel-guilty-that-we-don’t-hang-out-in-real-life/I’m-good-friends-with-your-good-friend-so-we-feel-obligated-to-hang-out with. Yes, we’re called to love everyone, but that doesn’t mean that we need to hang out with everyone we know weekly. I want to be a good friend. And I can’t do that if I can’t regularly keep up with those closest to me. 

Here is what I’ve decided:

  • I refuse to say or be pressured into returning the cliché phrase: “I haven’t seen you in forever! We should hang out sometime” as a fall back to the end of a conversation with someone whom I have no intention of following up. I’m done with guilt trips and I hate being insincere.
  • I will not text when I am hanging out/talking to people. I think this is one of the more rude things to do to the people you are with. When someone is [consistently] texting when they are hanging out with me, it signals to me that they seem bored and not interested in our time together. I will admit that I do this as well, so I am going to be working on it. If I absolutely have to text, (which, really, is it a life or death situation?), I will tell my friend who I am talking to “I’m sorry, I have to tell X that Y” so that they will know it is purely information passing and I’m not just having a conversation consists of “hey, wat up.” “nuthin” “cool” with someone else. I feel like sometimes we give higher priority to our friends who are not in front of us (those we text or face book) than those who are having a face to face conversation with. 
  • Instead of always getting together for coffee, I will make a conscious effort to plan fun things to do together and get groups of people together, because it’s more fun with more people! More people = more potential fun/potentially hilarious awkward experiences. {Side note: other goal: become more outgoing in groups}. This way, we are experiencing life and not just talking about the past.

Also, for clarification, I am not opposed to coffee or lunch dates, but if is the only time that you see that person, every two three weeks is it really a strong, healthy relationship? I like having a regular, weekly friend date with certain people so we know we have a set time to hang out, because life can get busy!

 

La Vita Bella. Invest in your friends, because they deserve it and you grow so much from what they have to give you. 

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