If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 18 years of life, it's that friends are important. Mega important. They support you, they let you be your honest self, and they also increase your life span. I’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to the friend lottery thus far.

When I went off to college, one of my biggest fears is that I wouldn’t make friends and that the ones I would make wouldn’t match up to the ones I already had. Well, let me tell you something: friends (like people, because they are people, usually) are all different! They have likes, dislikes, things in common with you, things you disagree on. They offer different support and guidance, or maybe they’re just someone to zone out with. They are each unique and your friendship with each of your friends will be different. And that’s why I believe having different groups of friends is so important.

My friends before college pretty much resembled the following. I had my gal pals in high school, most of whom I had known for years. With them, I celebrated Galentine’s Day (if you don’t know what that is, get it together), snapped pictures of outfits to make sure they were cute, and shared many inside jokes.

But I also had my theatre ladies. With them, I could joke about crazy theatre shenanigans, have fancy lady’s dinner (including wild accents), and discuss social and political issues (I actually do this with all my friends, deal with it).

So I knew I had two distinctly different friend groups that I equally loved and enjoyed spending time with, for different reasons.

And then I went to college.

Anyone that has ever gone to college or moved probably understands the fear that you will lose touch with your old friends, or never make any new friends. I think it’s a real concern. A friendship is a relationship; you have to work at it! But let me tell you, coming to college and making new friends made me realize two things:

  • New friends offer new friendships: new things in common, new traditions, new inside jokes. We are complex people and have many facets to ourselves! It is so fun to meet someone that has something in common with you that you never even realized was so important to your being.
  • Keeping those old friends is equally important! They remind you of your roots, like when you dyed your bangs blue in middle school (yikes).

So maybe whoever wrote that song “Make new friends, but keep the old” was on to something after all!

In college, I’ve found friends who enjoy things I had forgotten I enjoyed, like old One Direction (@Amber), and I’ve made new traditions, (Pure Bliss!). And I get to call my friends living in my hometown, or in a different county, and laugh about old times and share new stories. And there’s another benefit to having different groups of friends: people to share stories with and to make new stories!

I’m so thankful for each of my friends, the ones I’ve known since I was five, and the ones I met five months ago. So don’t let yourself feel tied down to a certain number of friends, or that you can’t hang out with other types of people, or that you have to ditch your old friends for new ones (because that is simply mean!).

Remember, your friends will be there for you when the rain starts to pour like they've been there before. Make sure to let them know how much you appreciate them!