When you were in preschool, if you liked playing “house" and someone else liked playing “house”, you were friends. Congratulations! You found a commonality and jumped on it, and you may have stayed friends with that other child until you split up to go to different elementary schools, had a falling out when you were in high school, or you are best friends until this day. It was so simple! Your child minds just liked that person, so you became friends. You did not fully understand the meaning behind friendship though. As you got older, of course, life gets more complicated and friendship is seen as something us more difficult and stressful. As a kid, you did not have to know each other’s deepest secrets, or understand each other on more than a “friendly” level. You just had to like playing with them. You were okay with settling. You may have been okay with settling with that person because making friends as you got older, seemed more challenging. You were comfortable.
There we no cliques in childhood. You just ran around with whoever was nice to you, so you were nice to them; no complications, no hatred if he or she did not want to play with you the next day. There were no unspoken rules telling you who to hang out with. So why is it that when elementary school ended and middle school came, it changed? You changed. So did the people you called your friends a couple months ago. You join a group of people that you may not play with, but you share a common interest (sports, music, acting), and you settle in with that group. You are more than fine remaining in that circle because you did not have to go out of your comfort zone to find them. They are not complicated either. They are kind of boring because they are so similar to you. You become a stereotype in the teenage pool that so many cheesy romantic movies are made out of. You are fine with it, though. This is where you are very comfortable. Yes, you are friendly with people in other groups, but you have a home base.
High school is even more complicated because this is when you start growing up, spreading rumors about complete strangers, competing for the attention of the person you like, experiencing small pieces of independence, and you start to think about the person you want to be. Do you want to stay in this group, or do you want to try and make new friends? It is almost impossible now because these groups are cemented, and do you really want to be that one friend that isn’t really in a group but floats from friend to friend? Do you want to be the one people like but don’t include? Are you okay with not finding a true place to fit in?
It’s strange how the more you age, the more questions you create about the relationships you have, had, or will have.
You either make the decision to stay with your friends you made in high school, or go off to college with no one but your nervous self. That’s what I did, and I realized how difficult making new friends as an adult is. I am not looking for a playmate, or someone who just shares a base factor in common with me. I really do not know what I am looking for because the many questions I have do not possess any answers.
I have stayed with the same friend group for so long that I had to delete everything I knew about friendship in college. I could not just meet someone and immediately tell them everything, but I couldn’t be silent. I also could not fight with him or her because I know it will be okay the next day. I don't have history with my new acquaintances. I’m still getting to know these people. And the friends I have met so far seem to be realizing the same thing. This is not our past. The people we meet could be our possible future, and the unknown is scary. Do I want to be friends with the people I have met? Yes. Do they want to be friends with me? I honestly hope so? Can I move on if it doesn’t work out? I hope I can. Making friends was simple when we were kids because there was no foundation. Yes, making friends as an adult is harder because there needs to be more than a foundation. We need to build a relationship together. We need to trust each other, and we can’t force it. We need to be eased into each other’s abnormalities and flaws and learn to love them despite everything. Making new friends is difficult, but with patience and acceptance, it is worth it.