Think about your current best friends. Think about how much those relationships mean to you. How you talk to them about everything and how things suddenly make sense in their presence. How you struggle alongside them, which lessens the influence of your own struggles. How they have an immense impact on who you are, fundamentally bringing out your best characteristics and leaving you a better person for having known them.
Now think about how you met them. It's a bit puzzling, it isn't it? It's so easy to remember the time spent with friends, yet the circumstances in which you found each other are a little foggy in memory. Perhaps it's the fact that so much time has passed, and you never gave importance to how you met as that seemed irrelevant once you were friends. Or maybe you didn't start out close and your relationship gradually grew until it seemed odd to think that there was ever a time when you didn't know each other.
Regardless of the reason, it's illuminating to think about how so many of our greatest friendships don't seem like much of anything at first. One of my closest friends was at first a classmate in fifth grade that I seldom talked to as he seemed "weird" to my primitive foolish mind. His glasses were funky, and I couldn't see myself chilling on the playground with someone who had a freaky haircut like he did. Upon realizing that he was killer at racing and probably the fastest cross country runner at our school at the time, I realized how misconceived my judgments were. I rarely saw him throughout the following three years. Somehow during high school, we ended up running with each other during track and field, where we pushed each other every day to improve as runners but also as people. Had I kept my strange delusions of who my friend was, I would've never gotten to know such an empathetic, thoughtful guy.
I met another one of my good friends at my first year of a summer job when all I wanted to do was brood for having a stress fracture and not being able to run. You know how it can be irksome when you see a group speaking loudly and laughing so much? Or how you feel annoyed when you're feeling down and someone else is super positive? That's how I felt when I saw her chatting with her buds with a grin on her face while I was sulking in the corner, judging them for what I saw as being naïve. As we were gathering supplies one day, she cracked a really bad joke, something I've always loved doing. As she continued to display an infectious positivity every day, I dropped my notions of superiority and talked with her. I felt so embarrassed for having judged her and her friends just because I wasn't in a great mood. Her sense of humor, though cringey more often than not, was astounding, and it was incredible to get to know her. Much of my current carefree and generally optimistic attitude comes from having worked with her for two years, and I'm confident that senior year would've been much more miserable if I didn't have her optimism in mind.
There are dozens of other friends that I simply haven't done justice to in words here, like the pal that I drive around with listening to Spanish music and Johnny Cash, or the friend that I draw nonsensical art within the library instead of studying, or even the guy I did a two minute ab workout with just for the heck of it, but I haven't the space to detail how I met each of those wonderful folks.
My point in sharing these stories is that our first impressions are deceptive, twisted and often misconstrue the character of those around you to fit some illogical agenda that you set upon them. If I never tossed aside my false assumptions about people, I never would've made such great friends.
With this in mind, everyone around you that you don't know is really a best friend waiting to be made. A person you introduce yourself to one day and forget the next could become someone you spend hours with a week later. Someone you make eye contact with on the bus might be at your wedding in a few years after you yourself invite them. Think about how many freaky fifth grade friendships are out there just waiting to be formed. Before you know it, you'll be such good pals that you'll forget how you even met.