Community VS. Friendship

Community VS. Friendship

Sure, we've all got friends, but do we have constant community to lift us up?

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A couple of nights ago one of my very best friends and I went on our usual Sonic Drive-In run and proceeded to the beach straight after. Amidst the conversation, I found myself thinking about the importance of community in college.

She and I spoke about of our most favorite moments in our college career, most of which involved the community that we have acquired over the past four years. This was when I began to realize that there is a small but significant line between just having "friends," and having a real life-giving community.

My community consists of my sorority sisters, friends in other sororities, and friends from home. These are the people that hold me to a standard of grace, without judgment.

These people are not just the people who I go out with on a Friday night or after a sorority function, but the people that take the time to invest in me. Keyword: INVEST.

With our culture nowadays, most people are just concerned with having people to go out with and have a good time, but what about when life isn't as smooth?

Who is going to be at your apartment at 2 AM when you think your world is crashing down and the guy you invested a piece of your heart into just isn't that into you anymore?

Who is going to be by your side Sunday morning when you're attempting to fill that void in your heart and yearning for true love that nobody of the flesh and in this world can provide?

Having community is not the mere art of having friends to go to dinner with, but having a constant force behind you always.

When you don't have the strength just to keep trying, these are the people regularly communicating with you and investing IN you.

While we might always have "friends," let us assess if we are surrounding ourselves with a life-giving community.

After all, we are called to live in a community and be that for those who are struggling.

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To the Person Who Has a Lot of Friends But Doesn't Belong Anywhere

You are blessed and you are loved by many. So please ignore those negative thoughts that tell you otherwise.
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You are blessed and you are loved by many. So please ignore those negative thoughts that tell you otherwise.

You’re a friendly person, a social butterfly, making friends wherever you are, wherever you go. You touch many hearts with your fun personality and caring demeanor.

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However, I understand because there are days when you feel like there is no one to hang out with. All your friends are busy hanging out with someone else or you check your social media and see that all your friends are in their respective groups hanging out and having fun. You question why it’s hard for you to belong anywhere.

But I just want to let you know that you’re important. You’re not overlooked. You’re not forgotten. You are truly loved despite what your inner thoughts are saying in your head. You may not belong to a certain group of friends. But the fact that you are welcomed to so many groups says so much about your personality.

The fact that you have so many friends means that you have many whom you can rely on and who can rely on you.

You’re not the only person who feels this way. In fact, I know this feeling of loneliness. I also feel self-doubt in my ability to have friends and keep them. I, too, question why I can’t have one group of friends that I can constantly rely on.

But I realize now that it’s silly for me and you to feel this way. It’s not about belonging. It’s about doing. It’s about being there for others even if they aren’t there for you. It’s about giving love as much as your heart can allow. It’s not about being special, but making others feel special.

Stop looking for a place to belong. You’re not the type of person that belongs to one group. You’re meant to bring happiness to so many more. Cheers to you who doesn’t belong in one place. You’re a friend that everyone loves, and that should be more than enough to make you realize that you belong in a special place in their hearts.

Cover Image Credit: Kristianne Lopez

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Shockingly, There Is Strength In Being Weak

Abandon the idea that you do not deserve to be taken care of. You do!

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The one challenge in having a brave face, is others never considering there are moments you may not be. It is a beautiful yet complicated gift to be able to provide comfort to others. To be the person your friends and family turns to in times of crisis. Just remember that those who offer help, may need help sometimes too.

Lately, I have been struggling. Having flares of anxiety and repetition of old behaviors, that I am not so proud of. I am so kind to others facing struggle, but I have yet to understand the importance of offering myself the same respect.

Some may suggest therapy, seeking out health professionals. For many that may work. And if that is a tool that works for you, power to you! If you feel comfortable with the process pursue it! For myself, I am not. And I will tell you why.

I have yet to swallow my pride. To understand that the strong fail too. Oh how I despise failing. And I think fear of failure comes from my own personal expectations, to hold it "together". Because if I fall, who will those closest to me lean on? I have strength, therefore if I fall, we all do.

That may sound like an idiotic sentence, and while forming the words I recognize how false a statement it is. However, this is a deep rooted issue for many individuals. And for me this is something I struggle with. Allowing for the world to see my weakness.

One of my best friends, who has recently opened my eyes said to me, " To have the courage to ask for help is not you showing weakness, but strength." It takes a great deal of strength to open up. I find myself suppressing my emotions. Meanwhile, I write weekly about confronting your past. Yet I struggle in the practice I preach.

That is not weakness, yet it is a glimpse of reality. I am thankful for my friend, who noticed a shift within me, to speak up and make sure that I recognize that I am falling. Sometimes you cannot only rely on yourself, and you need to admit that you need help.

My greatest joy is helping others but again I cannot find the generosity in my heart to offer it to myself. I was wrestling with the "why". Why I cannot allow for others to worry about me, why I simply do not want other people to worry about me. It is because that is my job. Then I realized, being a brave individual goes hand in hand with wanting control.

I struggle with allowing for myself to be a mess. To admit when I have lost control of who I am. The issue with a brave face? You rarely let others see you cave. So those around you assume you are stedfast, strong, in control, without a shadow of a doubt ; okay.

I understand not each individual is intuitive. That people miss the signs of when others emotional well beings are compromised. I am grateful for my best friend and her intuitive mind and heart. Recognizing that I have not been completely myself as of late, just an extension.

For those of you , who feel you lack the skill. Those who are not capable of reading between the lines, noticing lack of bravery, please I advise you to check up on the ones who you are usually so sure that are "okay". A simple, "how are you", goes a very long way.

I know I was hoping all day that someone would recognize I was not so myself and ask the question. Thankfully, my best friend did. It is nice to know someone sees you. To understand that you're human, and to remind you that you're human. The brave are allowed to fall.

I note that this also means, the brave need to allow for transparency. Because when you allow for others to see your struggle, it is easier for them to then offer a helping hand. Break your silence, even if it proves that you are not always brave.

Each individual has strengths and weaknesses. My weakness? Being weak. Allowing for myself to strip off the mask of " I am okay", and revealing the " I am not okay".

Again, to be brave is in fact a complicated gift. Being emotionally strong for others, does not mean you do not deserve to also be taken care of. To be offered the same respect of healing and love. Leave behind the idea that those managing others issues, means they can manage their own. Even the bravest of walls can come falling down.

It does not take long to ask a three worded question; " How are you?" I hope those are brave enough to answer honestly.

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