As a student-writer, sometimes I feel like I relate my life too strongly to my work. One day I was thinking about how much effort I put into my relationships and was shocked with a revelation: "Though valuing others can be a really awesome, sometimes it isn't always reciprocated." It's embarrassing to say that it took me a while to realize that not everyone values my time and presence as I value theirs. I would be busting my butt to make friendships work, putting in 75% effort to their 25% and I wondered why I was unhappy.
In all of this, I asked myself, "Am I a static character in their story; the character that is there for the protagonist to use and then forget? If this is true and some people won't even give me a page, why do I keep offering them the lead role?"
Finally realizing this was the point of no return for me. I was determined to focus on the healthier relationships in my life while still being nice and respectful to those who didn't want anything more than a "hello" in a hallway.
This was really hard for me the first few months of college. I had a difficult time figuring out who liked me for who I was, and who just needed a face to talk to in a crowd of new people. There were so many people who were going from person to person adding Snapchats and never talking again. It was a culture shock compared to my small-town high school where I knew all 50 kids in my graduating class since kindergarten. I was overwhelmed with the newness of it all. But, after a while, I saw which friends stuck and which weren't meant to be.
There is no quick fix to knowing which friends value you, only time can tell. The best thing one can do in that time is spend it with those who love your quirks and make you feel special.
The results of my revelation have made my life wholesome and fruitful. No longer do I have to question whether someone likes me or not, because the effort is there on both sides and the time I spend with my friends is uplifting and positive. With this positivity, I have been able to focus on the growth of myself as a person and my writing career. And, I can surround myself with friends who can help me and support me in doing so.
In conclusion, friendships should be a two-way street. The effort should always be split. Life can be chaotic and hectic, so don't just cut people out of your life. But, if you repeatedly try to make plans and things don't work out, it's okay to look out for your own self because, in the end, you are the one who lives your life and you deserve the best.